Hundreds of thousands of people enjoy whale-watching excursions around the world every year, pursuing humpbacks for their mysterious, multi-octave songs. And now the fun is opening up to deaf people, who are feeling the sounds for the first time.
One voyage this week took a a large group of deaf students out to see humpbacks frolicking in the waters of the Caribbean. While they didn’t hear the grunting and the squealing, they wore high-tech backpacks that tuned whale songs into vibrations.
The children gasped as they felt the sounds for the first time.
“When I first felt the vibration, I felt it in my heart,” said Nicole Duran, 15, a student at the St Rose Institute for Deaf Assistance in Santo Domingo. “It reminded me of a heartbeat,” she said through a sign language interpreter.
Nicole was among 47 students on the field trip from Santo Domingo, the capital on the south coast, to Samana province on the north coast, a three-hour bus ride.
In grades seven to 12, the children used their hands to express the thumps, pings and gentle massage they felt on their skin. Stretching their arms high and low to follow the varying tones they sensed, the students opened and closed their hands rapidly to express strong impacts.
“I feel the pulses - it’s like boom, boom, boom!” Melissa Castillos, 18, said aboard a 48-foot, power catamaran in the Bay of Samana. “I’ve seen photos and videos of whales, but this is the real thing.”
The migration of several thousand humpbacks from the northern Gulf of Maine to the Dominican coast brings some 50,000 tourists to the area from January to March every year, according to the Tourism Ministry. For three consecutive years, the visitors have included children and teachers from several Dominican schools.
Introducing deaf and hearing-impaired students to the whales and their music was the vision of Dominican artist and musician Maria Batlle, 34, who in 2013 founded the Muse Seek Project. Her nonprofit’s goals include using music as an educational tool for deaf children.
Batlle said she learned in 2014 of the Subpac technology, developed for music producers and aficionados by a Los Angeles company, and a year later incorporated the devices into a music program she launched for the 500-student National School for the Deaf in Santo Domingo.
The annual whale migration to the Dominican Republic made it a natural learning opportunity for students interested in marine life, Batlle said.
“They learn about whale behaviour, anatomy, the environment,” she said. “They learn why the whales come here, what they do when they’re here. They learn to appreciate why whale watching is important and why whale hunting should stop.”
Passengers aboard this year’s voyage included teachers, students and guests from four academic institutions. Eric Quinlan, originally from Brockton, Massachusetts, and teacher of English and sign language at the 200-student St Rose school, served as interpreter for the deaf passengers.
“Being deaf, the students are never really going to know what sound is, but to experience it this way is just awesome,” Quinlan said as the boat trailed a pod of six adult whales through choppy waters.
While the whale excursions in 2015 and 2016 picked up clear melodies from the humpbacks, the hydrophone lowered from the boat on Tuesday mostly transmitted the static of rough seas. Ready with Plan B, Batlle used a recording of last year’s robust melodies instead.
Revelling in the sight of humpbacks and the pulses of last year’s songs, the students expressed sheer delight.
“How emotional, how beautiful,” David Montero, 17, said through animated signing. “This is my first time in Samana, the first time I ever saw a whale, and to know they sing - wow! It’s super!”
There’s a channel no one talks about, but everyone knows exists. No one looks for it, and yet everyone’s stumbled upon it at least once.
In a sea of static, all you hear is names. An almost robotic voice drones on methodically. Something about it shakes you to the bone. You feel like you aren’t supposed to hear these names, but you can’t turn the station.
You’re transfixed, mesmerized. Then, you hear your own name. Whatever spell was on you is broken and you change the channel as fast as you can. You’re shaking. You feel disturbed for reasons you can never properly articulate.
The radio never feels the same afterwards. Every time you move through stations, there’s a sense of fear. You’re terrified of stumbling upon that channel again.
No one who’s looked for it ever finds it. It doesn’t want to be found if it knows people are looking. Until they hear it themselves, some people think it’s just a legend. A ghost story.
summary: “Dad has paintings of her beauty. I have static videos on my phone of her laughter. Between you and me, Nino? I know which one I prefer.” - One day when Gabriel Agreste isn’t home, Adrien shows Nino a glimpse of his past that even he hadn’t unearthed. a/n: A prompt by @distressed-fryup . They requested either a cute moment with Adrien and Mama Agreste or Nino and Adrien’s wonderful bromance. So I said: why not both? That, and I was watching “Home Video” from Steven Universe. So… yeah. ^_^ Please enjoy!
“Okay. I have been in this estate around five times now, dude. Nothing should surprise me. How the hell did I not notice you practically had a projection booth in here?”
Heaving another box out of the way and wiping the sweat off of his brow, Adrien just looked over at Nino (who’s jaw was currently one hinge away from dropping to the floor) with a knowing quirked grin.
The room in the attic wasn’t large by any means; a closed-off section behind a few of the family safes, a red interior covered by walls of tapes and DVDs. They ranged from home movies to archaic footage of his mother and father’s school days, modeling entries from various generations. Tucked away in the corner was an old-school projector, right down to the gleaming rust on the wheel. Adrien was more focused on the television set in the center, however.
He took a seat on the floor. “Wow. A real film buff, eh?”
Nino pointed to the headphones around his neck, returning the grin tenfold. “You have your old man’s voice ringing in your ears about prospects in modelling, but, my friend, I am much more content for my ears to listen to the sweet sound of original film soundtracks.”
“Nino, that’s my Dad you’re talking about. He’s not that bad.”
“So why not ring him up and tell him your wonderful friend Nino–you know the same friend who dared try to convince him to allow his son to have a birthday party–is here to snoop around at a closed-off part of the mansion with you?”
We preach peace but filter out the love. Swap fear for guns. The blood is a cascade gushing endlessly, our brains eat bullets on the TV. War bells gasp in the night, the mothers scream for their children’s right to a future that does not die on unhinged lips. We’re cutting ourselves on kitchen drawers, shuddering fearful beneath our beds where safety is a mirage worn kingly. America is crying. The world is crying. We standstill like frozen blooms kneedeep in cold waters and laugh boundlessly. We’re shooting up and dressing down, painting ghosts in empty fainting skies, huddling under the moon, praying to gods we don’t believe in anymore with liquorice rings on our fingers and the maw of a cigarette trapped between teeth. Holding on to any semblance of a world once treasured, once glistered, once loved. Somewhere strangers are dying and I wish I could name a poem after every one of their mauled bones. Somewhere they’re coercing a devil into an angel’s throne. Somewhere it is bright and raining but not for long. I feel as though a lowly specter floundering helplessly through these white static seas, tape gagging my mouth, hands tucked into the sky. Is this what it’s like being slowly killed? Left to learn the cruel shape of the hands that gripe your head and carefully drown you? This brutality the last thing you see? August is a wish instead of a certainty. July tastes like cough syrup in my mouth. The streets are convulsing fires, they scrawl ‘THE END’ in black spraypaint across public building walls, we are tuned into a soundtrack of knives. The beheaded sun swims in from the east, we cower helplessly in the abominable north. Where do we go from here? I don’t know, I don’t know. If the earth had an edge, I would be leaping off it.
So now that you can post and view GIFs on Pinterest, where are you going to get your animated images from? You can get it from the folks that were some of the first to play with the GIF function, of course. Us! You can turn any fashion piece on Wantering.com into a GIF.
On the details view of a fashion item, just click on the GIF button to share an animated image of the item. You’ll get a preview of the GIF, and then you can easily share the picture on Tumblr and Pinterest.
So add a little extra touch of tech to your fashion and style blogs. You don’t need to make ALL your posts into moving pictures (if you want to though, go ahead, we won’t judge), but for those pieces that you just love more than others, there’s no better way of showcasing them than to have them move in a sea of static pictures.