Southern Right Whales

Australian Fur Seals

Australian Fur Seals

I was sitting on some sharp rocks watching these wonderful Fur Seals basking in the calm water, warming their flippers and tails in the sun. They simply float, hanging out together, rising and falling in the slow low swell. Languorous is the word that occurs to me! I was thinking about the Southern Right whale I saw right in close to our beach a few days ago. I wondered if she was a mother with a new calf. Then right on cue I noticed a whale approaching from the south, perhaps the same one. She cruised slowly right past the seals, with a few dolphins lazily playing around in her wake. I was reaching bliss point! Then as if by magic another adult rose to the surface, right beside the seals!

Fur seals and Right whales

Fur seals and Right whales

Rather than hanging out with the seals the whales headed for the centre of the bay. I watched for a while, then suddenly remembered I had brought the car down, and left it open with keys in the ignition in the carpark! A long story, goes like this …. walked to the beach without the camera, saw the seals, went back to house, grabbed camera, hurried back to beach, clambered over rocks, turned camera on, only to read “change the battery pack” …. duh! So after returning to the house I chose to drive around to the carpark, hoping the seals were still posing so beautifully for me. Perhaps I should at least grab my keys! Of course my car was still the only one in the carpark so all was well. Then the whales, now a long way away, began to roll over, showing their large rectangular pectoral fins.

whaleflukeImpressive isn’t it? I could barely see them, but took some more photos and returned to the house to download the 72 images I had just acquired. To my delight it became obvious there was at least one calf with the two adults.

larger fluke, smaller fluke

larger pectoral fin, smaller pectoral fin

and

three whales together

three whales together

if you look closely you can see the small fin belonging to the baby right in front of the large pectoral fin on the left! The mother and calf were both rolling to the side at the same time, probably so that the baby could suckle. The whales blew a few times, then came a fantastic loud “hough” sound, filling the large beach/bay and reverberating from the rocky surfaces. Quite extraordinary! And are you curious, like me to see the rest of the whale, hidden by the ocean? This image may help …

Right whales were given their name because they were the right whales to hunt and kill. By the 1840’s the species had been hunted out all over the world. Numbers have been recovering very slowly, although there may be less than 400 Northern Right whales in existence, it is estimated there are about 5,000 Southern Right whales in the world. Vessel strike and entanglement in fishing nets are their two greatest dangers since whale hunting ended. We are privileged to see them here, where they are relatively safe from motor boats and other hazards.

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36 thoughts on “Southern Right Whales

  1. I would have been over the moon to see the fur seals but whales as well, wow… you did better than I would have to even think of the car… it would have been there hours later, as I left it, hopefully πŸ™‚

  2. Christine this is wonderful, I doubt that I’ll ever get to see them either so it’s amazing to see and learn about them through your eyes. Long may they have safe harbours.

  3. Awesome pics! πŸ™‚
    Below are lyrics for the song “Don’t Kill the Whale,” by the rock group “Yes”… (one of my very favorite groups)!

    DON’T KILL THE WHALE

    You’re first
    I’m last
    Your thirst
    I’m asked to justify
    Killing our last heaven beast
    Don’t hunt the whale

    In beauty
    Vision
    Do we
    Offer much
    If we reason with destiny, gonna lose our touch
    Don’t kill the whale

    Rejoice
    They sing
    They worship their own space
    In a moment of love, they will die for their grace
    Don’t kill the whale

    If time will allow
    We will judge all who came
    In the wake of our new age to stand for the frail
    Don’t kill the whale

    • what a wonderful song Tom, I will have to find a video of it and listen …. such amazing lyrics ‘rejoice, they sing, they worship their own space’ …. so heartfelt, thank you for this!

      • Yes, Christine… do so! My wife & I saw Jon (the lead singer for Yes, who now tours independently) in concert here in the States a few months ago. He was fantastic! He was recently in Australia doing tours; you should have seen him! Go to his website and watch for when he comes around again. jonanderson.com He is very insightful and holistically minded. His singing is always very, very spiritually uplifting and positive! A couple of his songs appear in my book. He (unlike the estate holders of the poems by famous poets within my book) gave me permission to use his lyrics in my book without charge! The song lyrics, by him, within my book, are “Open” and “Morning Star.” Morning Star, and the whole Living Tree album, in which it is included, is what inspired me to write my book. Try to listen to some of his stuff online (or purchase some). Many songs, like Order of the Universe, and Close to the Edge, (from the old days) are very incredible too.
        πŸ˜‰

    • just repeating these words from Tom, lyrics by Yes

      Rejoice They sing They worship their own space In a moment of love, they will die for their grace Don’t kill the whale

      incredible how they touch our heart πŸ™‚

  4. wowwwwwwwwwwww, che meraviglia, un grande spettacolo davanti ai tuoi occhi, che con noi hai condiviso! sei molto fortunata ad abitare un ambiente dove la natura si fa conoscere in tutta la sua bellezza e potenza! sai che anche io nel mio viaggio ho visto le balene? dall’altra parte del mondo, perΓ²! Se vuoi lo leggerai nel mio prossimo post
    a presto
    un grande abbraccio Ven
    Wo wwwwwwwwwwww, how wonderful, a great show right before your eyes, that you have shared with us! you are very fortunate to live in an environment where nature do you know in all its beauty and power! you know that I also in my journey I have seen whales? on the other side of the world, though! If you want to read it in my next post
    See you soon
    a big hug Fri

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