Whale watching brings together photographer from Germany and Kentucky sports writer

Victoria Warren (Larry Vaught Photo)

Victoria Warren (Larry Vaught Photo)


Sometimes fate just intervenes to make for a good story.

That’s what happened while I was on the Hyannis Whale Watchers Cruise recently in Cape Cod.

As we boarded for the four-hour trip, I noticed a young lady who not only looked like a professional photographer based on her camera gear, but she was also wearing a hat from the recent Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington.

Better yet, she had UK on her backpack.

Imagine that. I had gone all the way to Cape Cod and was on a whale watching cruise with a Kentucky fan. Then I realized her UK meant United Kingdom, not University of Kentucky.

Still, I was curious about the hat so I started talking to Victoria Warren and even asked if she might share some of her photos with me (which she did and you can find at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/thunderhorsestables/albums/72157668654178022).

Turns out that Warren has completed a Masters in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland two years ago.

“I have always had a passion for whales and dolphins, so I was always going to end up studying marine biology, and this Masters course was absolutely perfect for me. I have also been an amateur equestrian and wildlife photographer for several years, and it happened that my best friend on the Masters course was a fellow horse rider from Kentucky,” Warren said.

“We would jokingly say that I should visit Kentucky for Rolex horse trials, and to visit my friend’s farm and meet her horses.”

Boyd Martin on Blackfoot Mystery at Rolex 3-Day Event. (Victoria Warren Photo)

Boyd Martin on Blackfoot Mystery at Rolex 3-Day Event. (Victoria Warren Photo)

The plan was solid, but Warren knew she likely would never got to see her friend Jeanne’s farm in Lexington.

Last August she took a six-week position in Argentinian Patagonia studying Southern right whales.

“I specialize in Bioacoustics, which means that we were interested in the sounds the whales were making. We made lots of very successful recordings and had some great encounters with the wildlife,” Warren said. “Patagonia is such an incredible place, and we had an apartment on the beach: I could watch whales and dolphins while eating breakfast every day.”

Not exactly a bad life, right.

“We collected over 3,000 hours of data during the field work and I was subsequently offered a job to analyze the data. So now I live and work in Germany,” she said.

So how did she get to Lexington and then Cape Cod?

“My project supervisor is currently working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (in Falmouth on Cape Cod) and he invited me over for six weeks so that we could work together in person, rather than trying to collaborate via Skype with a six-hour time difference,” Warren said.

“I knew that I would be coming to the Cape at the beginning of May, and as Kentucky Horse Trials is always the last weekend in April it was like fate that I should go. I flew into Boston and managed to arrange a connection the next day to fly down to Kentucky for a week.

“I only received my visa from the U.S/ Embassy four days before I flew to the U.S., but luckily everything worked out perfectly except the rain on Cross Country Day, but you can’t have everything …!”

Obviously, once she got to Cape Cod after the Rolex Three-Day Event, she was ready to go whale watching just like I was even though she had seen many, many whales before.

“I couldn’t come to Cape Cod (the home of Moby Dick, and somewhere I have always wanted to visit) without going whale watching,” she said. “Hence how I ended up on a boat with you.”

Which just shows it is not that hard for a horse photographer/whale watcher from the United Kingdom to work in Germany and come to Lexington a horse event and then end up on a whale watching tour with a sports writer from Kentucky.

1 comment

  1. Larry, I enjoyed this article along with the others about your trip. Great that you were able to go. Looks like you had fun, learned a few things and met some interesting people!

Leave a Reply