I went to Meelup today and saw these Southern Right Whales. These are rare, and endangered – estimates are that there are fewer than 4-5000 worldwide. They move north from May-June on because the calves when born have no fat and wouldn’t survive the Antartic waters. Southern Right Whales must have more blubber than humpbacks because they don’t go as far north as the humpbacks. They can’t stand the heat, and most go to the Great Australian Bite. Some come north into Geographe Bay and they are very special. It is extremely rare for them to be sighted north of Rottnest, although one was seen at Cottesloe beach a week ago.
If these whales are rare then this calf is even rarer – it is mostly white. I am told it is not an albino as it is not completely white. But it is a Southern WHITE whale.
When they come into Geographe Bay they seem to play (or chase baitfish). These two were playing for a long time in Castle Rock Bay until they were disturbed by the whale watching boat. The boat did nothing wrong – maintained the correct distances etc, but the whales were disturbed and moved off towards Dunsborough past Castle Rock. As I was on top of Castle Rock waiting for them I can’t complain, but it is worrying that everytime these whales settle in, they get disturbed.
Here are some closeups.
The winter is dragging on and we seem to be getting storm after storm. It has been raining almost continuously for 24 hours now. I thought it would be interesting to see Boranup forest in the rain, and it was worth the trip. The light was very good – normally it is very contrasty in the forest, but in the rain it is a soft even light.
For those who are not familiar with the South West, Boranup is a re-growth Karri Forest that was originally logged in the 1920’s. All the trees are roughly the same size, and as they have been competing with each other for sunlight they have all grown straight and tall. It is the westernmost stand of Karri in Western Australia.
The image of Sugarloaf Rocks in the storm I posted a few days ago did not convey the feeling of being there very well – I think this was because the sun was shining through a gap in the clouds and everything looked pretty nice. It was actually blowing a gale, there were big seas and it was threatening to rain. So I reworked the image in black and white and I think this better conveys the sense and power of the storm.
I went down to Smiths Beach this evening hoping for a decent sunset. I thought the river would reflect the light well, so I crossed the river – it isn’t very deep, but is quite fast flowing. When I looked at my camera the lens had no lens cap. I thought I must have left it at the car, and proceeded to set up this shot. As I was taking the shot(s) – it was a panorama and focus stacked, so it took a while – two young girls appeared and asked if I wanted this thing they found. It was my missing lens cap and it had been about to be washed out to sea about 100 metres to my right!