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#186756 - 05/08/2002 15:14 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Hi Thunderstruck,it has been great watching these whales, I will be sad when they leave. This will be my last post, I will let you know when the whales leave. Liz.

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#186757 - 05/08/2002 16:28 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
thermalben Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/04/2001
Posts: 769
Loc: Tweed Coast
I had an awesome day yesterday at Middleton - the surf was pumping and the whales came right inside close to where we were waiting for waves. Two in particular actually swam slowly just inside the breakers (they were inside of me! eek ), and I managed to get to within 20m of them - tentatively, mind you - and have a close up look. They were flapping their pectoral fins and having a great time. Suddenly a large set appeared and broke just outside of where they were basking, although they didn't seem fazed by the impending whitewater - somehow they managed to pop up on the other side and breached the water in a similar way that dolphins do when they have finished surfing the wave. Truly spectacular. Then they spent time bumping each other with their heads (is there a term for that Liz? It was unusual, but looked like it was meant to be affectionate... smile ).

The view from the newly constructed lookout was amazing, as the whales were only 100m or so offshore, and they spent the whole afternoon swimming between Day St and Bashams reef.

The only downside is that it took 15mins to find a carpark! (now that's a record...)

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#186758 - 06/08/2002 16:45 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Hello thermalben, that was terrific to read about your memorable day with the whales. I could not find out why they would be nudging one another, perhaps they were females and saying to one another, "hey, check that dude out"!!! Possibly they were just spy hopping and enjoying themselves. Today it is very windy at Basham's and the sea is stirred up again. I could only see one adult and calve, and for some reason the adult was frequently tail lobbing. Due to the rain I was sitting in the car watching this behaviour and could hear the loud smack as the tail hit the water. Liz.

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#186759 - 07/08/2002 13:50 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Thermalben, with reference to you noting that the whales were bumping into each other with their heads, I have found out that this could be nuzzling. i.e. young calves turn towards their mother and nuzzle her mouth to keep in close contact. It is now over 60 days of whale sightings here on the South Coast. Liz.

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#186760 - 07/08/2002 14:00 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
Thunderstruck Offline
Lightning man

Registered: 10/05/2001
Posts: 14866
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
Thats a fair amount if time for whales Liz..it must be just about the best season that i can recal..and I havent been down there to have a surf or see em frown I must find some time..id luv to have a surf with the wahles..but as Ben said...im not getting close to those pectoral fins!!

TS cool

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#186761 - 07/08/2002 14:04 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Hi thunderstruck, its not the pecs I would worry about, it would be the receiving end of a episode of tail lobbing! then probably a heavy fine for getting too close to them. Liz.

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#186762 - 07/08/2002 14:14 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
Thunderstruck Offline
Lightning man

Registered: 10/05/2001
Posts: 14866
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
Lol..u may be fined but I dunno if ull be around to pay it by the sounds of those tails... eek Yes I have seen some of the whales throw up their tales and whack them down on the water. You can clearly hear the fwaack sound miles away.

TS cool

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#186763 - 07/08/2002 14:17 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
thermalben Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/04/2001
Posts: 769
Loc: Tweed Coast
Thanks for that Liz - makes a little more sense too seeing as there was a baby there aswell.

Interesting about the potential 'fines' too (I think they are justified in the right circumstances...there was a case a few years back with a small boat operator at Petrel Cove, if my memory serves me well), but what about when the whales come close to us? ie, when we are not harrasing them but they decide to get a closer look at us? There wasn't much room for movement at Middleton the other day - we couldn't really 'move inside' the breakers (otherwise we'd be constantly getting hit by the waves), so I wonder how the authorities would view Sunday's episode?
In my opinion we all seemed to get along really well! No stress to anyone smile

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#186764 - 08/08/2002 14:21 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Thermalben, (no personal attack intended re your close encounter with the whales). I just had a vision of getting hammered by a whale, then whilst seeing stars, to top the day off, there would be someone tapping on a shoulder and saying "pay this mate". I have seen whales cruise towards guys on surfboards, obviously very curious animals too. How would it be if you were half asleep out the back waiting for a wave, then next thing there is a big head next to you which decided to blow at the same time! In todays local paper the whale report stated that one of the calves has begun approaching whale tour boats for a closer look. The article says that 8 whales have been spotted at one time. Interesting to note that if there is a breach of whale watching/dolphin regulations possible maximum penalty is $30,000 or 2 years imprisonment. Yikes! Liz.

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#186765 - 08/08/2002 14:56 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
Thunderstruck Offline
Lightning man

Registered: 10/05/2001
Posts: 14866
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
By gosh!!!!! did u say $30,000 or 2 years jail????? for cryin out loud I know these beautiful animals need protection but some murderers get less than that!! shows how bad the system is!

TS cool

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#186766 - 10/08/2002 15:44 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
I am just reporting in to say that the whales are still frequenting the Middleton/Basham's Beach area. (A quick tip, if you are visiting this weekend, drive down the Bashams Beach road instead of going down past the Tavern to the Middleton Point. The view is just as good here, from a big grassy reserve - parking is probably better). The two adults and their calves have certainly put on weight; the adults are huge! This morning one junior was obviously mimicking its mothers actions. Mother whale would do a body roll, then the calve would do the same, next thing a big pec fin would wave to the crowd, and then a little pec would do the same. This calve was swimming very well, away from its mother and would spy hop frequently. When they were both exercising they came very close to the rocks, sometimes only 100 mtrs. from the shore. Due to the rugged and changing sea and a ? 25/30 knot off shore wind blowing, wind surfers were going a long way out to sea and there were quite a few people surfing, but the whales remained close in, not bothered by the conditions. I was interested to read that the Callosities on the heads of the Southern Right whales are arranged in a pattern that is unique to each individual. Because of this researchers can track the movements of whales by documenting this 'fingerprint on their face'. Liz.

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#186767 - 10/08/2002 20:27 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
thermalben Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/04/2001
Posts: 769
Loc: Tweed Coast
More interesting info Liz! Cheers smile

I went for a long hike today to Tunk Head, and was hoping to see a few of them escaping the rat-race of Middleton. Unfortunately they weren't any to be seen, and the 35kt NW wind almost blew us off the cliff! Such a fantastic coastline around that area though.

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#186768 - 15/08/2002 11:20 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Whale entertainment continues here on the South Coast. A total of seven whales, 6 Southern Rights and 1 Humpback have been sighted this week. This includes 3 calves. Meanwhile, 2 Southern Right whales, visited the vicinity of Henley Beach yesterday. Liz.

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#186769 - 22/08/2002 11:34 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Whale calves continue to be tail lobbing, spy hopping and feeding etc, in Encounter Bay. The best vantage points have been Middleton Point, Basham's Beach, Surfer's Parade and the Port Elliot Lookout. The weekly whale report supplied by the SA Whale Centre here in Victor and placed in The Times (local Paper) stated that whales have been sighted every day this week, with three adults and three calves putting on a active display over the weekend. Four to six whales are still consistently seen between Middleton Point and Bashams's Beach. The Whale centre also advises that the Macquarie University starts a research project on the genetics of the whales in the area today. A free info night on Southern Right Whale research will be held at the SA whale centre on Monday night,(26th) commencing at 5.30 p.m. Last Monday three divers cut free a whale drowning in a tangle of fishing nets near Whyalla. Liz.

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#186770 - 26/08/2002 15:39 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
12 Whale sightings today! i.e. 8 adults and 4 calves. Sightings near Wright Island Victor Harbor, Surfers, Middleton and Basham's Beach. A beautiful warm day for just sitting in the sun, watching whales. Liz.

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#186771 - 26/08/2002 15:57 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
thermalben Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 17/04/2001
Posts: 769
Loc: Tweed Coast
12? eek

I went for another long hike to a few of the very isolated beaches west of Victor Harbor on Saturday; I was hoping to see some whales but instead had a pod of dolphins (around 25-30) of which several appeared to be mating. Was almost about to hit the surf when a shark cruised through the line up - only 6-8ft or so in length but enough for me to reconsider the afternoon's activities....

I think the whales prefer the Middleton/Victor Harbor stretch due to the seafloor topography - anywhere further west of VH and the coastline drops into very deep water, so the swell waves retain a lot of their strength even close in to the beaches (evident by the power of the surf at Waitpinga compared to Middleton).

However along the Middleton stretch the gradual sloping effects of the seafloor disperses some of the wave's energy, which would make for more pleasant conditions if you were a whale! Similar too with Wright island - the offshore islands and rocky outcrops (Seal Rocks, West Island, Granite Island, Frenchmans Rock, Freemans Nob, Bashams Reef etc) all disperse wave energies creating a more pleasant area for the whales to spend time in.

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#186772 - 26/08/2002 16:12 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Thank you Thermalben for the above, it is interesting to read about the local sea. Once, when out in our boat by Chiton, we got caught up in a frenzy of dolphins (I thought they were feeding), anyway, they were on a mission! and, swimming very swiftly. Today the sea was flattened by the offshore winds again,- good visability. Whoever was buzzing around in the chopper would have taken great pics. Liz

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#186773 - 29/08/2002 11:01 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
A interesting article in The Times (Victor Harbor) today describes how a Macquarie University scientist spent last week researching the behaviour of Southern Right Whales in Encounter Bay, to determine if they (along with others in Victoria) are from the same or different stocks than those found off W.Aust. and New Zealand. It was stated that in determining the genetic identity of the Eastern Aust. population, it is critical to their long term conservation. Researchers obtained DNA by collecting skin samples from the whales and this is described as posing little disturbance to the whales, as used successfully elsewhere. For the Whales, the dart is the eqivalent to a pinprick, as they feel it, but only momentarily. This interesting article concludes by stating that the whale's responses to the research has been minimal, and the whales that have been biopsied have remained in the area for several days. Liz.

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#186774 - 29/08/2002 11:12 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
Thunderstruck Offline
Lightning man

Registered: 10/05/2001
Posts: 14866
Loc: Seaford Meadows, SA
Interesting explanation there Ben about seafloor topography..never really given it a thought although its prettye vident with the different type of breakers at Middleton compared to Waits, with Middleton being the spilling breaker...I prefer half way in between spilling and plunging and ill have to try that wave that breaks just off of Freeman Knob..never tried it and its only short but look like fun...u been on that one?

Great to hear that the whales are out in large numbers, there was even one up near Whyalla! and hows that leapord seal getitng on? Last I heard of him was at Middleton.

TS cool

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#186775 - 06/09/2002 14:38 Re: Whales near Victor Harbor
liz Offline
Wind Speed Queen

Registered: 02/12/2001
Posts: 1902
Loc: Near Victor Harbor S.A.
Constant Whale sightings still here on the South Coast, usually at Middleton Point or Basham's Beach. Liz.

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