Saturday, 10 July 2010

Bass Coast Winter Whale Watch - are whales getting in the way of the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant? Or could it possibly be the other way around?

"Bass Coast Winter Whale Watch" 
being run by Watershed Victoria is turning out to be a huge success. 

You are invited to 
at 11am on Sunday 25th July 
to help us welcome 
these magnificent beasts to our local waters. 
There will be a welcoming ceremony, 
a blessing by King Neptune, a sand sculpture contest and bbq. 
All welcome, but please, no harpoons!!! 

Whale Watch was launched 2 months ago with the aim of collecting information about the movements and habits of whales and other marine life along the coast between Phillip Island and Cape Liptrap. Already we have received dozens of reports ,including pods of 50+ dolphins at Cape Paterson, 8+ Pilot Whales and a Killer Whale cruising Williamsons Beach, and Humpbacks in groups of 2-5, some with young, spread along the coast from Inverloch to Cowes. There was also a large whale spotted at the top of Port Phillip Bay.

Migration of Humpback Whales is now underway and a local teacher has spotted 21 Humpbacks in 6 days from Eagles Nest to Phillip Island. Our ever-vigilant surfers sighted a 5-6m Great White Shark at Kilcunda and beat a hasty retreat to shore. John Dickie, skipper of the Kasey Lee cruise boat operating from Cowes reports already sighting over 30 Humpback Whales suggesting this could be a record season. 

The western entrance from Seal Rocks to Rhyll seems to be a popular spot at the moment for Humpbacks to play and rest on their long annual journey north from Antarctic waters to Queensland. They calve on their way north, so that their young can avoid the icy Antarctic waters whilst their insulating blubber layers develop, as do the mighty Southern Right Whales.

While some observations have been made by locals over many years, this is the first time they are being collected and recorded in a co-ordinated fashion. Watershed Victoria's initiative was prompted by DSE's assertions in the EES for the Wonthaggi desalination plant, and reiterated by Federal Environment Minister,  Peter Garrett, that this coastline "does not provide important feeding, breeding or calving habitat for these species." Southern Right and Humpback whales are listed as endangered and threatened species

Members of the public 
can log further sightings for the remainder of 2010 
by phoning the Whale Hotline 0438 646 677, 
and get more info from the website 

Stephen Cannon and Mark Robertson
0407811778 or 0408528864

For viewing more about the whales 
and the desalination plant issues,

Related reading:
Whale Shark, Swimming, Australia Photographic Poster Print by Gerard Soury, 42x56

The Dorsal Fin of a Vulnerable Southern Humpback Whale Diving Deep, Australia Artists Photographic Poster Print by Jason Edwards, 24x32

Whale Watching in Australian & New Zealand Waters

The Whale Rider

MissEagle racism-free Photobucket

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