Thursday, 12 August 2010

Could a sperm whale sighted off Devon have a family?

Could a sperm whale sighted off Devon have a family?
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

Watch Dean Tapley's whale footage from June 2010

A new sighting of a sperm whale off the coast of Devon has been reported - but this time with a difference.

Ken Rowe thinks he saw not only the sperm whale, the subject of a number of recent sightings, but he believes he may have also seen a calf with it.

While "taking his morning constitutional" at Preston, Paignton at about 6.30 am on 5 August 2010 he spotted something in the water.

"I have never seen anything like it," said Ken, who lives in the resort.

"I was gazing out across the sea and watching the seabirds sat in the water washing their feathers.

"Then, about 150 yards offshore, I saw what looked like a dark shape at sea.

How to report a sperm whale sighting
Email sightings@seawatchfoundation.org.uk
Telephone 01545 561227

"It proceeded to breach the surface and blow.

"It was about three or four times the size of a normal dolphin - which I have seen quite often.

"Then I noticed what may have been a smaller one nearby - about a third of its size. "

Gemma Veneruso from the Seawatch Foundation said the sighting does sound like a sperm whale but is has not yet been confirmed by the charity.

"It would be very rare indeed to see a female at this high latitude," said Gemma.

"The sighting of the sperm whale was rare anyway but we would have expected it to be a male because of their distribution."


I'm going to go back there tomorrow and this time I'm taking my camera!

Ken Rowe

"There are a number of observers keeping their eyes peeled at the moment."

And she is urging anyone who spots anything to report it to the foundation.

"Photos or videos would really help confirm the ID and the calf."

This latest sighting chimes with the first reported by local man Dean Tapley.

He described back in June how a routine fishing trip off Torbay turned into an "awesome" experience after he spotted the whale.

Then Trevor Smart from Leicester says he saw it on 21 July when he was heading out from Torquay Harbour towards Brixham to catch mackerel.

Ken says he feels "really lucky" to have seen what he did.

"I suspect it will be a one-off in my lifetime but I'm going to go back there tomorrow and this time I'm taking my camera!"


http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/devon/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_8889000/8889674.stm

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