Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Whale of a Time

We have been enjoying some very fine weather of late and I have no doubt that Al Gore will make something of it, but we are making the best we can too. It is unusual for so many folk to be out on the beach on a Wednesday, as I was m'self, and today they had an extra special reason. Not that I was there at the right time to see the Right Whale just off Kingston Beach.

There was a time, quite recently, when whales were very rare here: and a time long ago when they were common. Hunting them to near extinction did not help. But they are back ! Not just the Right ones, but the Orca ones too. And dolphins. They all come right up the river to the City.

Aneeta Bhole from the ABC reported from the Tavern, cool drink in hand:

Whale spotted in Hobart's River Derwent as heatwave rolls on
A whale has been spotted off a beach in southern Tasmania, drawing curious residents to the shoreline and in boats.
The southern right whale was first spotted early Wednesday morning at Kingston Beach, and enthusiasts posted its location to Whale Spotting Tasmania's Facebook page.
Residents equipped with binoculars and long-lens cameras have lined the shore to catch a glimpse of the marine mammal.

Margate resident Jacqueline was enjoying a day in the sun with her husband when she saw the whale.
She said she was concerned for the welfare of the mammal.
"It absolutely wonderful, I hope that it doesn't get too close to the shore," she said.
Other residents were in awe of the sighting, saying it was the closest they'd ever seen a whale.
Parks and Wildlife believe whale is resting
Parks officer Kris Carlyon said from the photos he had seen the whale appeared to be in a good condition.
"It is simply having a rest, and photos I have seen show that it is healthy ... and should not be disturbed," he said.
Mr Carlyon said it looked like the whale was hanging around before continuing its migration south.
"This is classic southern right whale habitat; a nice, sheltered, sandy bottom," he said.
#Margate resident Jacqueline Verdow is concerned for the welfare of a #whale that's been spotted off Kingston Dog Beach and hopes it "doesn't beach itself". 

"This species is really commonly seen close to shore, and they are comfortable in shallow water down to about four metres or so."
He said the species was heading to feeding grounds in Antarctica.
"This species is currently heading south on its migration to its polar feeding grounds, so it will be resting up before a pretty big journey south," he said.
Mr Carlyon believed the chances of seeing the whales off the Tasmanian coast from now on would be low.
"The peak of sightings of both southern right whales and humpback whales tends to be in October, and sightings are now starting to tail off," he said.
The whales will then start appearing off the Tasmanian coast again in May next year when they migrate north.
Mr Carlyon reminded spectators to follow national guidelines and not approach the whale closer than 100 metres.

He said if the whale then approached you further, that was appropriate under the guidelines.
There is plenty of sunshine around Hobart today, with a top temperature of 31 degrees Celsius expected.
The weather bureau is expecting the city to break a 130-year-old record for the most November days over 25C in a row.
The heatwave has prompted a health alert for the very young and old.
It has,of course (both the heat and the whale) brought the rich and loony out.  We have some here. Helen Kempton hit the local rag asap to denounce jet skiers. (Not unreasonably in my view). I poured her a cool drink.
‘I’d like to see those p***ks on jetskis prosecuted’
TASMANIAN whale watchers have been reminded to keep their distance as an adult southern right whale has a made pit stop in Hobart’s River Derwenton its way south.
The Marine Conservation Program put out an alert this morning after it received numerous calls abouta whale off Kingston Beach from 7.30am this morning.
The MCP also received several reports of vessels and kayaks approaching close to the single adult whale.
“While we understand the excitement of spotting a whale close to shore, we remind water users to observe the approach distances outlined in the national guidelines. Vessels should not approach closer than 100m to a whale,” Kris Carlyon from the MCP said
“These approach guidelines are as much in place for public safety as maintaining welfare of these threatened species — an adult southern right whale may weigh up to 70 tonnes and even an accidental tail flick could cause serious injury or worse.”
There was also public anger at the number of jet skis and other watercraft around the single adult whale.
“I’d like to see those p ... ks on jetskis prosecuted for getting too close. Whale staying inshore at Kingston Beach. Crowd gathering,” a poster to the Whale Spotter’s Tasmania Facebook page said this morning.
Those flying drones to capture whale images also need to be mindful of the law which is that you cannot fly directly above whales at all.
The minimum height to fly a drone is 300m above the animal which is higher than drones are allowed to go without proper authorisation.
Dr Carlyon said it was no longer unusual to see southern right whales around Hobart — unlike 10 years ago when migrating population numbers plummeted and there were serious concerns for the species’ future.
Humpbacks are most commonly seen heading north between May and July and return southward to their subantarctic feeding grounds between September and November.
Southern right whales travel north from June to September to the waters of southern mainland Australia and return southward between September and late October and November
“They like to rest in the calm, sheltered waters off Tasmania’s eastern coast on their way to chase food,” Dr Carlyon said.
“While it is important people follow the guidelines, sometimes the species will be social and drive interaction with humans. But you only see that very infrequently.”
In January this year wildlife enthusiasts were happy to see a pod of killer whales return to the mouth of the Derwent. In 2014, a killer whale was spotted near Hobart and a minke whale entered the river.

Helen had told us earlier....back in January
Killer whales make welcome return to Tasmanian feeding grounds
A POD of killer whales has returned to the mouth of the River Derwent as they make what now appears to be an annual pilgrimage to Tasmania.
The pod, which has been tracked by Killer Whales Australia since 2003, was seen off Bicheno on New Year’s Eve and again spotted and captured by Pennicott Journeys staff at the mouth of the river about 10am yesterday. (Jan 2nd 2017)
A killer whale surfaces in the southern Tasmanian waters between Iron Pot Lighthouse and North Bruny Island. Picture: SUSIE CRETAN/PENNICOTT WILDERNESS JOURNEYS

“We have been tracking them for three days through dorsal fin data we have,” David Donnelly, from Killer Whales Australia, said.
“We have been watching this group since 2003 and know they were in the Derwent last year and in before that in 2010 when they were seen up almost as far as the Tasman Bridge.”
The same pod of three or four orcas also visited last year when they were seen near Bruny Island and again in Hobart’s river.
Mr Donnelly said while in Tasmania the whales would likely dine on dolphins, pelagic species and have a go at sunfish and the odd seal.
Needless to say, the dolphins, seals etc do not appreciate this and as we speak are in contact with ''.
“Australian killer whales will have a go at just about anything,” Mr Donnelly said.
Fortunately, humans are not on the menu.
“The animals came right up to a boat near the Tasman Peninsula yesterday and one young male in particular was very curious as they rolled around. However, there has been no record of a killer whale attacking a human in the wild.”
Despite their penchant for mugging seals, they are far less of a worry than 'Yes' voters. 

Now, back to pulling long, cool pints of cleansing Ale.


PS Some late refs for you.


  1. You have reminded me of an occasion in my teens when I sitting on Mwnt beach near Ceredigion with my family. Mwnt is a small beach with a bay.

    We watched a father and his young son swim out of sight around the headland. A while later they came back into view and swam to the shore. The young boy ran up the beach shouting there's a Killer Whale. I remember thinking 'how ridiculous' until a few minutes later, sure enough a whale came into view and swam past the end of the bay!

    What a wonderful sight that was :-)

    1. One can be quite taken aback at the size of these creatures.We all 'know' thay are big, but until we see them we do not know what big is.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..