"There she blows!"

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Fri 23 Mar 2018 12:52
34:11.98S 72:38.84

Yesterday we saw our first whale, a solitary large fin whale. It surfaced about a hundred metres from Caramor, blew its rather dissipated blow, and then disappeared. Moments later we were seeing dozens of whale spouts; the very distinctive blow of the humpback whale. They have a very powerful blow which goes straight up in the air for several metres, and then just hangs there for minutes. This must have made them very easy to find for the whalers. When we arrived in the Beagle Channel at the end of March (two years ago!) we saw them on their northern migration. What we are now witnessing appears to be the continuation of that event.

During the night the remains of an old weather front passed over. It was drizzling and very dark. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard two whales blow, metres away from Caramor!

This morning I woke Kath from her morning nap, and it has to be a very special event to risk that. Two fin whales were surfacing within a few metres of Caramor. This whale has a particularly obliging way of doing so. First you see the white of the underside of its mouth just under the water. Then it surfaces, mouth first, with the whole of its massive body following in turn. These leviathan are huge. An adult can be anywhere between 17 to 27m long, and weigh between 30 to 81 tons. 

Fin whale surfacing

In the days before the invention of the explosive harpoon, the whalers hunted with hand thrown harpoons from frail rowing boats. They considered the 'finners' to be best avoided. They were hard to kill and when harpooned would dive to massive depths, deeper than the lines on the whaler. When this happened they would have to cut the lines and lose the whale. If they weren't quick enough their boat would be towed under into the freezing waters.

At one point a huge specimen surfaced right in front of Caramor's bows. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough wit the camera to get that shot. I was too busy metaphorically wetting myself!

Post by Franco

Franco Ferrero
Pesda Press
This is the email address I use when I can only communicate by satellite. Messages sent to franco {CHANGE TO AT} pesdapress {DOT} com or info {CHANGE TO AT} pesdapress {DOT} com will be forwarded to this address but I would prefer you to reply to this one. Thanks.