Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Right Whales Chilling Further South

Tom down in New Smyrna Beach sent us this picture from the weekend.

"Sunday we had a right whale hanging out at Flagler Avenue beach access. I missed it, but Pat's boss Dave managed to paddle out to inspect. Last month I saw 2 whales offshore." Tom

The Northern Right whale is the world's most endangered large whale. Their only known calving grounds are the shallow coastal waters of Georgia and Florida, from the Altamaha River near Darien to Sebastian Inlet, south of Cape Canaveral. Here the mother whales come to bear and nurture their young from November through April each year. They remain within five miles of shore, often venturing into the bays and inlets.

When the Spanish discovered St. Simons Island in the 1540s, they called St. Simons Sound "The Bay of Whales" because there were so many mother and calf pairs to be seen. They named Jekyll Island "The Isle of Whales." By 1875, commercial whaling had nearly wiped out the species, and the people of the Golden Isles forgot their heritage of the whales.

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