"I watched, wide-eyed, the soundless slide of that “moving land,�? as Milton once described whales, everywhere beneath our boat, and suddenly felt the whole of myself wanting to go away with her; to hop on for a long ride downward toward some dimly remembered, primordial home."
—Charles Siebert, "Watching Whales Watching Us," New York Times, July 8, 2009, seen here.
Also in the same article:
"In our earliest cosmologies, the whale loomed so large as to be more or less commensurate with the cosmos, equally vast and unknowable, as hugely fearsome and immeasurable as any god. The very earth was said to be borne upon the back of a whale, one whose writhings caused earthquakes and floods. In “A Thousand and One Nights,�? Sinbad and his crew come at one point upon a pristine island. They set up camp there and light fires to cook their food, only to find themselves suddenly being tossed off and dashed at sea by the violent trembling of the whale they had mistaken for land. Similar tales of mistaken “whale-lands�? recur throughout early literature."