The Southern Right whale was given its name by the early whalers because they were the "right" whales to catch. With large amounts of oil, blubber and baleen or whalebone, they are slow swimmers making them easier to hunt and most importantly, float when killed as opposed to the rorquals which often sank. Right whales have been a protected species since 1935, though were killed illegally up to the 1970's. At the moment the Right Whale population is growing from 6 - 16% per year, depending on distribution and which sub-population is being considered. Find the facts on Albany Whale Watching on this page.
Southern Right Whales Statistics Maximum length: 17.1m (56ft) males / 18.3m (60ft) females Adult weight: 100 tones Life span: Sexual maturity: 10 years
Gestation: 12 months Birth length: 4 - 6m (13 - 20ft) Birth weight:
Dive duration: 20 mins Distribution: poles to tropics, some dispute about how many species of Right whale there are, 2, 3 or 4. Current world population: 7,500 - 8,000 / pre-whaling 190,000
Southern Right Whale lands on boat.
Breaching or as the saying goes its "Having a whale of a time" opps but no injuries! Now Whale watching is one of the great things to do in Albany, from the land or sea. Let me mention before you view the Great White Shark Video that unlike Perth there have not been any shark attack fatalities in Albany in the last 80 years. Yes we swim in the Sea all the time.
Scroll down for Great White Shark Attacks. Warning live footage not for the squeamish!
Southern Right Whales.
The hunting of Whales was Albany‘s first industry, and well before European settlement took place our shores were visited by the British, French and also American whalers. Many of the ships, which brought out the convicts to this country in its early days, were whalers, which would unload their human cargo and then carry on whaling as there was no other cargo available in those days for the return voyage.
Sperm whale eating a Giant Squid
Sperm Whale Breeching
SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE WITH DIVER
SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE CALLOSITIES
Penguins, Humpback whales and seals feeding in the ocean
Because of the French warships, which followed their whalers into this area, Major Edmund Lockyer was sent to start the first permanent settlement on the Western half of the continent. Known as Kinjarling by the local Noongar Aboriginals but named Fredericktown after King Georges Brother Fredrick was later changed to Albany.
SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE
KILLER WHALES OR ORCAS
It is interesting that the ship that brought Major Lockyer and his party to Albany the Amity later became a whaler.
Soon after settlement in 1826, some of the settlers started whaling stations at a few beaches, mainly to the east of the of Albany. Albany itself prospered from trade with these early whalers and with visiting ships, although many of these ships avoided the Albany port itself and went to Two People‘s Bay and other places to avoid paying harbour dues.
In 1845 Whaling was at its peak as there were approximately 310 whale ships mainly American and a lot of shore stations along the South Coast of Australia. The numbers declined rapidly from 1859 when oil was discovered in Pennsylvania and only a few were remaining after the turn of the century. Men no longer spent up to four years at sea and risking their lives providing oil for the world’s oil lamps. Now they had to drill a hole into the ground.
In 1912 a Norwegian company started operating from both Frenchman Bay near Albany WA and Point Cloates off the west coast. They did well for a few years with the then modern steam chasers fitted with the harpoon gun invented by Svend Foyn.
Having had a poor season in 1916 and because of pressures both in Australia and Norway, due to the First World War, they closed down and went home. The next attempt at starting a whaling station in Albany was soon after the Second World War when an ex air-sea rescue boat was fitted out for hunting whales. With little capital or suitable equipment, this company closed down in its second year after having only taken a few humpback whales.
Then in 1952, the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company Started operations with a second hand chaser they got from Norway and a small quota of humpback whales. The Humpback whaling season was limited to June, July and August each year because of their migration from the Antarctic. These are still the main months to watch whales in and around Albany. So the company also sought sperm whales further out to sea at the edge of the continental shelf.
Due to over fishing and lack of control several countries that were operating factory ships in the Antarctic it became necessary to stop the taking of humpback whales after 1963. Sperm whales were only taken between March and December.
There were three whale chasers and also spotter aircraft, which arrived on the continental shelf just after daylight each morning, weather permitting, and they hunted until dark each day.
The continental shelf is only 35 to 50 K out off shore so the chasers could returned to Albany each evening and leave their catch at the whaling station . Flensing or cutting up, started at 4 am the next morning and everything except the teeth went into the giant pressure cookers. After cooking, the oil was extracted and the remainder of the whale made into high protein powder, this was then added to stock and poultry food.
Due to pressure from conservation groups and also a depressed market for whale oil the Company closed at the end of November 1978 the last whale being taken at on the 20th of November 1978.
Bottlenose Dolphin Hunt
Sperm Whale surfaces from 3km with 15 meter Giant Squid
Eating on the run, a female sperm whale carries the remains of a giant squid about 9m long the picture was taken October 15th 2009.
The Sperm whale carried the giant squid up from the dark depths of the nearby Osagawara Trench a hunting ground of sperm whales. The whales can dive for an hour or more to depths of up to 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) hunting giant squid, which are thought to rarely venture higher than 1,000 feet (300 meters) below the sea level.
Battles between giant squid and sperm whales often leave the whales scarred with sucker marks. Until recently, such wounds along with the contents of the sperm whales stomach were the only proof of the whales' appetite for giant squid.
Great White Shark attack click on video at bottom of page.
Great White Shark Attacks click on video below.
The Great White Shark the perfect killer. Warning dont do this!
Important this video could help save you life when swimming in the Sea. I have been a diver all my live but I watched this video and learned one thing I will never do in the sea again, get out of a perfectly good boat! Our thanks to BBC, please click on bottom right for full screen viewing.