Saving The Whales

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Oct 02, 2005

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Friday, June 3, 2005

2nd June 2005 Continued............

We turned the campervan around and headed back the way that we hade come in order to get back to Bussleton. We took the inland road and drove the 60k's in what seemed a very short time indeed.

Once at Bussleton it took us a short while to find the area where the whales had beached, but finally we found the road to the sea front, parked up and hit the beach. The first thing we were greeted with, unfortunately, was a dead false killer whale. It was laid on the beach, it's eye glazed over and mouth agape. This turned out to be the only whale that died due to being beached, and was later discovered to have been suffering from an infection.

Turning to our left to view the coastline, the realisation of what had happened hit us. Whales were covering the shore. Hundreds of people were helping out by bathing the whales, keeping them calm, and ensuring they didnt fall on their sides. Tom asked how we could get involved, and they said "if you can find a wetsuit that fits, you can go in the water". We all went to grab one in order to get in there to help out. Sarah managed to put hers on back to front, but it was the first time she had worn a wet suit so we'll let her off. We were shown where to go, our job was rotate around those people who had been in the water for a while, and to keep the whales from turning and facing the sea. If one whale went, then chances are it would only get washed back up onto a beach where there were no people to help it. The water was cold, but with the suit on it kept us as warm as was possible, and when struggling with a whale that measured 6metres and weighed 3 tonnes, you soon forgot about the temperature. The skin was liek rubber on the animals. Very smooth, but the strength they have is amazing. You had to be so careful with the tail as it contained so much power, it could easily do some damage.
Some whales were too strong and managed to make their way out to sea on their own, but they started to come back to shore. Sarah was caring for a small baby whale, the one in the picture with the 3 marks on its side, balancing its head on her knee, and keeping it calm. It was constantly calling out to its mother. The baby whale was no older than 3 months. Eventually the call was given for us to help as many whales out into the sea as possible and through a mass effort, we got them all out. Boats then came in to herd the whales to deeper water, one whale stayed behind, but with a bit of help it followed the rest.

Once out of the water we were given food and soup and towels to dry off with. It was, without a doubt, THE highlight of the trip so far.

Once we had dried off we hit the road again in order to get to Augusta, right down the south west of the coastline. We arrived when the lights had gone out, but found a campsite that had a space for us. Tom took me fishing, but the only thing that we caught was the rocks on the bottom of the water. We gave up after a short while realising that we weren't going to get anything on the end of a hook. After an amazing day, it was off to bed. We were all shattered.
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shaggers on

That has to be THE best thing you've done yet! I'm so proud of you for getting in there and helping out, good on ya! Amazing photos too, I found it all quite moving....

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