Photo by TallGuy
The famous whalebone arch on Whitby’s West Cliff is a symbol of the whaling industry that thrived there and in other English ports like Hull and Yarmouth in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The 15 ft bones are from a Bowhead whale, killed under license by Alaskan Inuits, and unveiled by Miss Alaska in 2003. An even larger arch stood on the same spot, made from the 20 ft jaw bones of a Fin whale, presented to the town by Norway in 1963.
During England’s years as a whaling nation, captains returning from Greenland would bring home these huge bones as souvenirs. Ship crews would tie a pair of whale jaw bones to the mast to let anxious families on land know there’d been no casualties. Some of the bones were used in construction as house ends. Some were set in fields for cattle to rub against. Continue reading The presence of whales in Britain →
Get involved directly with whale and dolphin research by visiting some of the remotest islands in the Hebrides on this great conservation holiday: witness some of the most breath-taking scenery, gain sailing skills and contribute to the protection the marine environment – all in one trip!
Regular visitors include minke whales, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins plus the occasional ‘rare species’ while our resident populations of bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises are sure to delight. As part of the field team onboard our research vessel, Silurian, you will be helping us to produce the data sets that our science department will use in logistical analysis in the winter months.
All in all, a very exciting and worthwhile way of spending nine days.
The Isle of Mull is one of the best bases for watching whales and dolphins in Britain.
These people offer excellent short whale watching breaks:
This popular weekend break gives you two days on the boat exploring the islands (Eigg, Muck, Coll, Tiree, Staffa, all with their own character and charm). You will sail through the whale and dolphin grounds and land on islands with colonies of puffins, razorbills, gannets, shearwaters, and otters…The people who run these trips carry out marine research and they work closely with local charity the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
One client wrote:
The most memorable part of the holiday was the surveys trip … seeing Minke whales and basking sharks on such a beautiful day – I will remember this for many years to come. We even moored on a tiny island close to Coll and Tiree – it was like being on a Pacific atoll … seals swimming, white sand, clear blue sea – just perfect. More
A humpback whale has been found dead in the Thames near Gravesend, the first ever to be stranded in the river. The young male may have died of starvation. This is an very unusual event: there have only been 12 strandings of humpback whales in the UK in the past 20 years. BBC
See also analysis of this story by ukstrandings.org “Although it’s obviously a sad outcome in this instance, the post-mortem examination has given us a rare opportunity to examine a truly extraordinary animal at close quarters. Information gathered through examinations like these will hopefully help further our understanding of such animals and also help contribute to improving their conservation status.”
Members of Sea Trust had a spectacularly close view of a group of Fin whales who were feeding on mackerel off the Pembrokeshire coast. One swam directly under their boat. The Fin whale is the second largest animal in the world after the Blue whale, weighing around 60-70 tons, but they are relatively fast swimmers, due to their streamlined shape. Sightings in the area are increasing. See the BBC and Wikipedia