Saturday, 28 June 2014
Let Sleeping Whales Lie.
While in Eden (S coast NSW), living on my yacht, a gale came through that sank one boat in the harbour and damaged several others.
I skedaddled at the start and anchored off the lee shore, spending the next three days sleeping, reading and fishing. After the gale had blown itself out, I headed back to the quaintly named ‘Snug Cove’, and my spot on the wharf.
At about the half way mark I found myself on a collision course with at stationary Humpback Whale. I changed course enough to miss, but close enough to see it was quite still, apparently dead. But around her, circling slowly was a calf, probably about three metres long and very much alive.
A dead whale, if washed ashore presents quite a problem for authorities, and of course there was the added problem of a motherless calf. So I radioed Marine Rescue to report the body, gave its position and asked them to call me with any follow up news. About two hours later, my phone rang and it was a National Parks Officer, with more news.
He told me he found the apparently dead whale where I said it would be and circled it as I had done. He then drifted up close and gave it a poke with his longest boat hook. What happened next almost cost him a boat.
She reared up and swished her tail towards her tormentor, swiping the boat and sending a wave of water over the crew. She then took off at top speed towards Antarctica, a frantic baby thrashing away in her wake. They followed at a distance to be sure she had not been injured. But she eventually slowed to cruising speed and all returned to normal.
Pic: from Wickipedia.
Coal: Nature’s hazardous waste dump.