Sunday, 4 May 2014

Whale watching

That's the view from our sitting room window and one of the most frequently asked questions is "Do you ever see whales?"

Nope, never is the answer to that so imagine my surprise when I was giving Fernando a lift from Ponta the other day and he said excitedly "Viste a baleia?" (Have you seen the whale?)

"O que? No mar?" (What? In the sea?) I replied, idiotically. "Não, no ar!" (No, in the air!) retorted Fernando - it was his little joke.

Turned out, however, that my response was not entirely moronic as the whale in question was, in fact, a dead one on the beach. Nevertheless, it's an event which has caused as much excitement in Faja Grande as if the remains of MH370 had been washed up on our shores.

Sorry for that rather long distance shot but I didn't want to go that close as I've seen what can happen to dead whales (skip to 00.50):-

In fact, the blob in the photo above was only the forward section of the whale - it's stern half had broken off and was grounded a few hundred yards along the shore (the white thing in the photo below).

The absence of smell or pecking sea birds suggested the thing had already been dead for quite a long time before it washed up on Flores. Fernando reckoned it to be a cachalote - sperm whale.

In times past, a dead whale was reckoned a boon to the locals in terms of food and fuel resources. So much so that, in Scotland, a beached whale is legally the property of the Crown - a prize to be granted to a favoured subject. Nowadays, of course, they're perceived as health and safety hazards prompting some local authorities to suggest that Her Majesty may care to get her galoshes on and deal with her property personally rather than burden the rate payers. Tsk! Some people just olhar cavalos de presente na boca!

Be all that as it may, the foregoing represents the sum and substance of my whale watching experience on this island to date.   

1 comment:

Kathie. said...

Somehow we missed this local attraction. John would've LOVED it, and would've suffered no compunctions re going right up to the corpse to inspect and photograph it!

P.S. Muito obrigada para Fernando pelos ovos deliciosos! E abraços e beijinhos para os gatinhos dele.