By Bob Katzen

The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would establish an annual Right Whale Day in Massachusetts on April 24.

“I filed this bill on behalf of a constituent from Pembroke, Matt Delaney, who had a special encounter with a right whale while visiting Cape Cod with his family a number of years ago,” said sponsor Rep. Josh Cutler (D-Pembroke). “Matt wanted to do something to help promote the preservation of this critically endangered species and so we filed this bill together.”

The story was told by Rob Moir, President and executive director of Ocean River Institute in Commonwealth Magazine. Moir wrote:

“Ramona Delaney’s 93-year-old grandmother died peacefully on a Tuesday in April. The funeral service was held on Friday. On Saturday, Ramona, with husband Matt Delaney and 14-year-old daughter Katrina, purchased an over-sand permit for their jeep and drove out through the sand dunes of Race Point at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod. A ripple in the seawater quite close-by drew their attention. Suddenly, an enormous black head rose up. Gazing their way was a huge eye the size of a softball. The right whale wheeled forward and disappeared beneath the waves. Later, a right whale breached. Its entire body came out of the water and, rotating, it splashed down on its backside sending up great curtains of spray. The right whale breached many times over the course of about an hour.”

The Delaney family all felt this incredible, yet intimate, encounter was a sign that Ramona’s grandmother was okay. They found the solace they were seeking when the spirit of life shined brightly in a majestic right whale on that day, April 24, 2004. The Delaney family has celebrated April 24 as whale day ever since and asked that this special day become a time when everyone in the Commonwealth can cherish North Atlantic right whales.”

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