So tragic to read in the Guardian newspaper that FIVE sperm whales have been washed up dead on the coast off Lincolnshire.
Guardian 25th January 2016: “A fifth dead whale has been found washed up on the Lincolnshire coast, several miles from four other members of the same pod, marking the worst sperm whale stranding off the English coast since records began in 1913.. .
Scientists believe that the whales, all members of the same pod, were hungry and dehydrated but alive when they were stranded in shallow waters during their search for food. Sperm whales are deep sea creatures and can easily become disoriented if they get into shallow water.” Whales are majestic magnificent mammals and it is heart-breaking to imagine their distress as they swam, misguidedly, through the waters of the North Sea and found insufficient depth and not enough food.
On to a more cheerful note: at this time of year Humpback Whales congregate off the islands of Hawaii, having migrated south from Alaska. See http://wildhawaii.org/marinelife/whale_migration.html. There are strict rules governing how close boats can get to the whales, but no-one has told the whales. If a whale swims directly towards a boat, the captain has to switch off the engines and float patiently. Can’t help wondering if a boat has ever been over-turned by passengers rushing to one side to view a passing whale.
My snorkeling trip to Monokini Island included whale watching on the way back to harbour. We saw whale “blows”, pectoral fins and tails and much splashing but the pièce de résistance was just before we left the main viewing are. A magnificent whale rose right up out of the sea, flipped and flopped back down again. Spectacular! Scientists have not yet determined why whales breech like this. Is it to remove parasites from their skin? Or is it some form of display? And I was so lucky because another whale breeched on our next whaling trip. Again we were surrounded by whale pods with males jostling and pushing, vying for the attention of a female. Just wish that I had been a bit quicker with my camera. I eventually managed to sort out the “repeat” shutter action on my camera but I seemed to capture an awful lot of splashes!