Thursday, 22 January 2015

Whales!

We were sitting having lunch on our pool deck when I suddenly spotted some activity in the ocean.  Chris rushed to get the binoculars and we could not believe what we saw.  Two Southern Right Whales!  Their distinctive V-shaped blow due to their two blow holes makes it easy to identify them from afar.  They  were milling around quite close to the shore showing their flippers and tails without any particular hurry.  It was such a surprise and lovely to watch.  Their usual time in our waters is from May to November when they move back into the Antarctic where they feed on krill.  They do not feed in our waters at all, they come to our coasts to mate and to calve.  They were called the Right Whale by the early whalers as they have so much blubber that they could float for a long time in the sea after being harpooned. When industrial whaling started in the early 20th century huge numbers were taken annually and levels were so low that hunting Right Whales was banned as early as 1937.  Since the ban numbers have increased and it looks as things are looking up for these gentle giants.  Seeing endangered species making progress makes me optimistic for the future of this wonderful planet.

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