It’s actually very horrific when you realise how the Right Whales got their name …they were the ‘right’ whale to catch!
The original method of whaling was called Bay Whaling, people would see a whale near to shore in the bays and rivers and simply paddle out in open boats to kill them. Most prized were the Right Whales because of their large oil content. Right Whales love coming into shallow waters and are often seen just beyond the surf breaks at beaches, in bays, harbours and rivers. They are also slow swimmers, docile and inquisitive so stood little change against the whalers harpoons. First to go were the mums and calves. By the 1930’s few were left and even the whalers realised the slaughter couldn’t continue. Since these dark days the Right Whales have battles to survive at all, Southern Rights are just holding their own, Northern Rights are still on the verge of extinction! So every whale is very special.
In Australian waters the main breeding grounds are in the south around the bottom of Australia (Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia). A small sub population of around 50 animals come up the east coast each winter. So to see a Southern Right along the east coast is a real privilege. I should know I’ve spent years trying to see one!
Southern Rights usually appeared in Sydney waters in June through to August each year. Sightings have increased over the past few years and even some mums with calves have turned up to everyones delight. So there was great interest when one turned up at Warriewood on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Now whale calves are like all things whale related rather epic. Southern Right Calves measure in at up to four metres in length and up to 1.5 tons in weight! This whale spent a lot of time close into shore but is was obvious something was up. It was only next morning when the whale was found again exactly what was up because one had become two. The convention is that whales aren’t named but a relative of the someone close to all the whale people had just lost a baby at close to full term so in recognition of that loss this new little whale was named ‘Tiny’.
I can’t tell you of the amazing joy it was to see this one day old whale playing. If we can just let them be then there is great hope that the Southern Rights will once again be swimming our oceans by the thousands as they have done for longer than we’ve been around!
Canon 7D Digital Camera with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/ 2.8L IS II USM plus a 2x Converter
Thanks to Canon Australia for their continued support and encouragement! Canon Australia