There She Blows!

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September 8th 2013
Published: September 12th 2013
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Sunday 8 September

Well this morning I awoke to rain thundering on the roof, which upon looking through the skylight it appears to be hailstones, no wonder it woke me up! I drifted back to sleep again and fortunately at around 6.45am when I woke up again I could see blue sky and what bliss there was no rain pelting the roof.

We needed to decide if we were going to stay or not, as yesterday was so bad weather wise and we hunkered down for the afternoon we decided that perhaps we should stay another night and have a mooch around Albany, it would be a shame not to look around while we are here and this town seems so lovely.

Andy passed me my chai latte which always seems to do wonders at getting me out of slumber. Because we were in no rush, whilst Andy was catching up on the news I grabbed the book I was reading, I tried to finish it last night but was too tired and I really did not have that many pages to go and I just wanted to get it finished. I was going to leave it at the caravan park here, but when I looked at the book swap in the lounge last night there were really no good books available to swap so I may leave it for now. Most of the caravan parks we have stayed in on this trip, really have not had any good books lying around, perhaps people are not leaving them around any more which is a shame because it is an excellent way of swapping books.

I had started to prepare breakfast when I saw Mervyn, one of the staff at the Big4 here, come over, he shouted across that there were Whales out in the bay, I grabbed my camera and told Andy to come over to the beach, there in the bay were two whales a mother and her calf bobbing around just off the shore of Middleton Beach (King George Sound). I couldn't get a clear shot, because they were not really breaching but I did get some evidence of the sighting.

Eventually we got back to finish getting breakfast and get ready for a day out I paid for another night on the way out and back up through town we grabbed a coffee and headed for Frenchman's Bay.

Almost at the end of the road we turn off for the old Whaling Station, this had been recommended to us. This Whaling Station ceased operations in the November of 1978 after the company bowed to pressure from conservation groups and significantly a poor market place, this was a major blow to the locals of Albany who relied on the whaling station for work. It has now been turned into a museum and is one of Western Australia's most popular tourist attractions.

We pay our $29 each and in we go, looking first at the numerous pictures of different types of Whales, Dolphins and Seals, I had no idea that there were so many different species. Outside the first on the list to look at is the magnificent Cheynes IV Whalechaser, before we step on board signs outside remind people that it was not designed to be a tourist attraction and hazards are on the ship and people must take extra care.

I don't envy the men who had to work on this ship, I think it would not have been very easy to negotiate your way around the ship in rough seas. It is quite interesting to look around, but on the deck we find the large harpoon's and firing guns which are a reminder as to what the ship took part in, the harpoon's are not very sharp at all and it looks to me like a huge blunt object was fired at the Whales to capture them, it must have been a painful and slow death. Though the ship has been cleaned up to as a tourist attraction, there are some telltale signs of blood around.

The Cheynes IV was originally built in Norway in 1948 and named W Fearnhead. Eventually it was purchased in 1970 by the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company where it stayed until operations ceased. It was towed to its current position at Whale World in 1981.

Somehow whilst wandering around the Flensing area, where the Whales were brought ashore for processing, it felt like an intrusion and we both felt sad as to what went on here, such a huge yet majestic creature taken from the sea and life cut short. We both thought about the mother and the calf in the bay this morning and wondered if they can sense what used to go on here, whales seem to trust people.

In the skeleton exhibit, housed in one of the sheds, hangs a 22 metre long skeleton of a Pygmy Blue Whale, the largest whale skeleton in Western Australia. It is positively huge and the size is incomprehensible, just imagine being in a small rowing boat if that whale happened to bob up along side of you. Stories of Moby Dick spring to mind.

I would say that this place is worth a look if you happen to be in the area, but be prepared for some very graphic pictures of the capture and the flensing of whales. Not very pleasant, but remember it was a way of life here. It was well past lunchtime by the time we left, we stopped for lunch somewhere on the way back to camp.

I sat outside in the sunshine for a while, but raindrops started to fall and the sun vanished for a while, no sooner had I gone back inside the rain stopped and the sun came out, whilst Andy had a nana nap I headed off to the beach for a walk.

The whale and her calf were long gone, the sand was cold and you could see where the raindrops had hit the sand. One thing I noticed were the shells, there were a lot of them, but stepping on them they were very brittle and broke easily. There was a storm cloud in the distance but I did not let that deter me from my walk along the beach, this is just beautiful, there are plenty of people taking some exercise along Middleton Beach.

Andy was tinkering with the truck when I got back, so I headed off to the spa, I knew the water would be warm there and a lot warmer than the swimming pool, so it was enjoyable for a short time but then really noticed the difference when I got out and time for a hot shower!

After a light dinner we headed over to the lounge above reception for a couple of hours, watched a bit of TV and did a bit of blogging, it was lovely to be indoors for a change and feel sheltered from the coolness of the evening outside, the lounge closes at 9pm so it was time to head back to Gypsy and settle down for the night.

Not as cold as last night thankfully!

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21



That boiled the whale products down
The Flensing DeckThe Flensing Deck
The Flensing Deck

Where the whales would be slaughtered
Skeleton of a Pygmy Blue whaleSkeleton of a Pygmy Blue whale
Skeleton of a Pygmy Blue whale

This was huge, you could see how a fully grown blue whale could weigh 150 Tonnes

13th September 2013

Nice blog
I think whales are very forgiving too and have often wondered the same thing both at Albany and at Norwegian bay when you see them swimming by..i hope they have forgiven us.

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