Monday, June 27, 2011


We are devoted to whalewatching. We do it all the time. If we are out on a bushwalk, our eyes are fixed on the ocean, in the hope of a new sighting. We think nothing of walking over snakes in pursuit of our new hobby.

Today we had a special thrill. We headed for Waychinicup as usual, and and although our last visit resulted in hours of peering out to sea, and achieving nothing but eye strain, today it was different. The whales were out in force. we saw dozens, all Humpback whales, which we could identify by their behaviour, for example breaching and tail slapping, and by their peculiar long thin flippers, quite different from the squat paddles of the Southern Right Whale. Humpbacks are essentially black, although covered in white blotches, which close up look like barnacles. They tend to meander about, to our eyes, having no fixed purpose other than Douglas Adams's 'messing about in the sea and having fun'

All of a sudden a quite different animal appeared, unbelievably close below the steep cliffs upon which we were stationed. Three things distinguished him from the Humpbacks all around ; Firstly, he was moving incredibly quickly, and in a straight line, so that he rounded the promontory to our left, and within minutes he had disappeared beyond the cliffs to our right. Secondly, he was a very light colour, light grey verging on blue. When he submerged, he was clearly visible beneath the water, unlike the Humpbacks, which almost immediately disappear from view. Thirdly, he was enormous. The Humpbacks are the largest animals I have ever seen, yet Cecile and I agree that this fellow was between 2 and 3 times as big as the largest of them. We think we have been watching a Blue Whale. I am still excited writing this 6 hours later!

Unfortunately for everybody, I was in charge of the camera during this encounter, and one blurred image is all I can offer you.

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