movie poster showing whale reaching out of ice to touch people

MLML Director Plays Part in Real “Big Miracle”

whale takes a peak at humans above the ice

One of three gray whales trapped by sea ice outside Barrow, Alaska, in 1988 (NOAA Fisheries/National Marine Mammal Lab/Dave Withrow photo).

By Brynn Hooton,
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Student Assistant

On Feb. 3, the film “Big Miracle” will open in box offices across the nation, telling the story of the 1988 rescue of three gray whales trapped in the ice near Barrow, Alaska.  Dr. Jim Harvey, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories director, professor and alumnus, played a significant role in the operation.  Harvey, who frequently tells the story of the rescue to his grad students and now has proof of his whale tale, sat down with us and agreed to paint the picture one more time, filling in some of the lesser-known details. MLML administers the master’s of science program for a consortium of seven California State University campuses, administered by San Jose State. Read Harvey’s story on the MLML blog. Read a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration news release, where you’ll find excellent photos.