Pages

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Fin-tastic! Moment kayaker comes within feet of three enormous minke whales off the Devon coast

  •  Rupert Kirkwood came across the whales 12 miles off coast in Plymouth, Devon
  •  The 60-year-old heard sound of a blowhole and was soon greeted by the whale
  •  He said his outing on Wednesday was the most whales he had ever seen 
A kayaker came within feet of three enormous minke whales while paddling off the Devon coast.  
Rupert Kirkwood, 60, spends his spare time miles out at sea documenting marine wildlife.
To his surprise he was greeted by a group of minke whales when he was 12 miles off the coast of Plymouth on Wednesday. 
Rupert Kirkwood was greeted by three minke whales while he was paddling off the coast of Plymouth, Devon
Rupert Kirkwood was greeted by three minke whales while he was paddling off the coast of Plymouth, Devon
He managed to take photographs of the whales, which can reached as long as 24ft, as they came to the surface
He managed to take photographs of the whales, which can reached as long as 24ft, as they came to the surface
Mr Kirkwood often spends his free time in the sea documenting marine wildlife
Mr Kirkwood often spends his free time in the sea documenting marine wildlife
He was near the Eddystone Lighthouse when he heard the sound of a whale's blowhole.
The keen kayaker went to investigate and soon spotted three individual whales just breaking the surface of the water.

Mr Kirkwood said: 'This was my 20th trip out to the Eddystone and as usual I was full of expectation of encounters with amazing marine megafauna.
'Mind you, I am always full of expectation when I go out to the 'Eddy and have often been disappointed, not just exhausted, when I get back. 
The 60-year-old said he heard the sound of a whale's blowhole and went to investigate
The 60-year-old said he heard the sound of a whale's blowhole and went to investigate 
When he got closer to where the sound had come from he spotted three minke whales in the water
When he got closer to where the sound had come from he spotted three minke whales in the water
Rupert said it was a good day for sightings as he also spotted a pod of 20 common dolphins and a group of porpoises.
He continued: 'I sped towards the source of the noise and after going flat out for 10 minutes saw a big slow motion back break the surface, a minke whale.
'I sat and watched as the whale had a series of breaths.
'At one stage it was about to come up right beneath my kayak and left an enormous tail fluke print of swirling water at the surface.
'It then moved away so I paddled after it and then it popped up precisely where I had been sitting 10 minutes previously.
While he was out spotting minke whale, Mr Kirkwood also saw dolphins and porpoises
While he was out spotting minke whale, Mr Kirkwood also saw dolphins and porpoises
He said it was a great day for sightings and he had never seen so many whales in one day despite visiting that part of the coast 20 times before
He said it was a great day for sightings and he had never seen so many whales in one day despite visiting that part of the coast 20 times before 
'Minke whales travel fast and cover very long distances between breaths. 
On a couple of previous occasions I have heard a whale blow once, and heard, or seen, nothing more.
'I had difficulty dragging myself away but eventually headed in when the whale seemed to disappear off to the west. 
 Mr Kirkwood said it was the most whales he had ever seen in one day.  

Minke whales: The 10 tonne krill eaters known for their foul-smelling blowholes

Minke whales are frequently seen in European waters, mostly from Norway to France, but normally in small numbers or single sightings.
As adults, they usually grow up to 24ft long and can weigh up to 10 tons. 
The whales are typically black or dark grey with lighter bellies and eat small fish and krill. 
Minke whales can grow up to 24ft long and weight up to 10 tons as adults
Minke whales can grow up to 24ft long and weight up to 10 tons as adults
A minke can travel up to 24mph but on average their speed ranges from three to 15mph. 
Some of the species have been known to live as long as 60 years but they usually live around 40 years on average. 
Due to the unpleasant smell of their spouting, the whales are nicknamed 'Stinky Minkes'. 

No comments:

Post a comment