Ocean listening exhibit (Langely Whale Center)

A vintage phone booth becomes an ocean listening exhibit! You can listen to recordings of common Salish Sea sounds from home, or — better yet — experience the exhibit inside the converted phone booth at the Langley Whale Center!

Artwork by Sara Hysong-Shimazu depicting the Salish Seascape as viewed from Langley.

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Overview and credits:

Just in time for Orca month (June 2018) we’re unveiling the Pat Price Ocean Listening Exhibit at the Langley Whale Center. This project was initiated by Susan Berta and Howie Garrett of Orca Network in early 2017 and implemented with generous support & volunteerism of the Price family and their friends.

Custom exhibit woodwork by Ken Price.

Special acknowledgement is due to each participant in this special collaborative effort to honor Pat’s dedication to the oceans and the Langley Whale Center —

  • Susan and Howie provided the booth, space for it within the Langley Whale Center (in Langley, WA, USA), and overall vision for and administration of the project.
  • Ken Price undertook a magnificent restoration of an old wooden telephone booth that Susan had found, added his stunning woodwork as a memorial to his wife, Pat, and managed additional construction feats, like making and installing headphone mounts.
  • Sara Hysong-Shimazu created a beautiful panorama showing the local seascape, including sources of the most common Salish Sea sounds.
  • Scott Veirs of Beam Reach led development of the hardware and software, and as coordinator of the Orcasound hydrophone network provided sound samples from each local species.
  • Scott Price with his able assistant Lydia Price recorded euphonious narrations for each of the sounds.
  • Cindy Hansen, Wendy Sines, and Center volunteers provided valuable feedback on early versions of the booth and the web-based content.
The booth and creative team at the June 10, 2018, grand opening.

View this album of photos taken during the creation of the Ocean Listening Exhibit

4 thoughts on “Ocean listening exhibit (Langely Whale Center)

  1. Jeni Filbrun says:

    This is simply lovely! Just made my day! I work with insects and have been interested int he sounds of Arthropods. Chewing, calling clicking and all sorts of things we don’t think about. Thank you for opening my eyes to the under world of these beautiful animals!

    1. Scott Veirs says:

      Hi, Sam. To hear the orcas on the Port Townsend hydrophone, they have to be pretty close (<5 km away) and vocalizing. Fish-eating orcas like the Southern Resident Killer Whales vocalize almost all the time, but the mammal-eating Bigg's killer whales usually are only vocal after a kill.

      Also, even if orcas are calling nearby, you may not hear them when the Port Townsend - Coupeville ferry is crossing Admiralty Inlet or a commercial ship is transiting the area. Such large or old ships make a lot of underwater noise that can mask or "drown out" the orca calls. You can use real-time AIS sites like vesselfinder.com to monitor the sources of noise near the Orcasound hydrophones.

      Thanks for listening,
      Scott (in Seattle)

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