Monday, January 13, 2014

Albany's Whale World

It had been recommended to us to go to Albany's Whale World, so today we headed down there nice and early. I was interested in seeing this complex but thought it was just going to be a "World" geared mainly to children. Boy, was I wrong, yes there is a play ground for the little people but Whale World affected me way more than I thought it was going to. Following is a short excerpt from their brochure.
"Australia's Last Whaling Station
 'Thar she blows' is heard over the engines and suddenly all eyes are on the Southern Ocean's surface. The skippers orders full steam ahead and the Cheynes IV ploughs forward. The target is spotted just 60 metres off the port bow and the skipper hurries down the catwalk towards the gun deck leaving the first mate in control of the whalechaser. The harpoon is ready to fire and as they wait the anticipation thickens the air. As the first of the sperm whales breaks the surface and the skipper fires the harpoon, the last day of commercial whailing in Australia begins. On 21 November 1978, the whalechasers returned to the town jetty for the last time after 26 years of successful operation. Over a century of whaling in Australian waters had come to an end."

I had to copy my post from the brochure because I am still at a loss for words of what I saw, read and felt today. Yes of course I knew of the terrible practice of whaling, but I had never been confronted with photos or heard of exactly how the process was performed. While sitting on the ship watching an old original movie of the process I found myself in tears. Those tears crept up on me several times during the day. All I can say is thank goodness most of the worlds population no longer find the necessity to kill these beautiful creatures.

I'm sorry if I get a bit graphic or offend anyone, but I need to get this off my
chest tonight or I don't think I will sleep very well.
Cheynes IV Whalechaser

The Harpoon was not only a bloody big dart but it also had a explosive end that blew up as it entered the Whale. They say that these were a more humane way of killing the beast, but depending on how skillful the skipper was at direction sometimes the whale would need to be shot several times!!

Flensing Deck - The flensing deck was where the Whales were hauled up and stripped of their blubber with extremely sharp flensing knives. This deck would have been covered in dead whales in various stages of dismemberment. The deck and men working there would have been absolutly covered in blood.

Get a load of these teeth!! This Whale beached itself on one of the beaches in Albany

This squid was taken from a Sperm Whale by a fisheries officer working on the flensing deck

As I looked out at the ships rudder and propellor this rock caught my eye. It looked just like a
Whale floating in the water waiting for its grim fate!

In the BAD old days these tanks would have been filled with Whale oil.