2014 Florida Volunteer Updates

As the North Atlantic right whales migrate to the South Georgia/Northern Florida coast each winter volunteers help watch for and capture critical details related to this endangered species. This information helps scientists track the fate of the species and acts as a first alert system to pilots in the shipping lanes to avoid accidental killings. This blog shares the findings, photos and other pertinent information gathered from the Palm Coast Sector Volunteer Team while helping to connect and communicate the many ways we can protect the right whales and sustain our wonderful ocean life.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Flagler Pier Whale Photos

Today was my day to whale watch and after a very long and hectic week I wasn't in the most energetic state at 8am as I was lugging my two tote bags and a thermos of coffee up the stairs at Clicker Beach. About half way I noticed a car at the entrance gate and then a women got out and started waving at me and yelled up, "are you here to watch the whales?" I nodded my head and she excitedly pointed south and continued, "I was just down at the Flagler [Farmer's] Market and there are whales right off Flagler Pier! A bunch of them!  I don't know how fast they are moving but they are heading south!" I rushed back down to my car and, driving ten mph over the speed limit, started making the required phone calls to alert the team. 

As I jogged down the pier noting all the people  huddled together at the very end I could see black shapes on the surface as a fisherman yelled, "you don't need to run... they're not going anywhere!"  This turned out to be true and they put on a gentle and wonder filled show for nearly three and a half hours.  This was my very first sighting and, like others have shared here, has changed my life forever.

Here are the photos I took and a link to the two videos. I'm sure Marineland will have the photos from the air up on their blog soon. 

What a Whale of a Day!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Life Changing Event by Becky Bush

I liken this whale watching experience to that of owning my own business. I never made any money doing it but I never minded putting in the long, tireless hours. And I love every minute of it. I never go past any ocean, anywhere I may be, without thinking of the beautiful creatures we are all so passionate about.

My initial experience of sighting a Right Whale on my first watch was something that changed my life. I quickly "phoned a friend"...okay, I phoned my husband because he was the only who would tell me I wasn't crazy (even if he thought it). He was quick to answer that I was probably looking at birds floating on the water. He strolled over to my watch spot, took the binoculars and nonchalantly informed me that no only was there one whale but,,,two! 

They looked like two telephone polls bobbing up and down in the water. Later I would learn that this is known as breaching. We quickly called the team and within minutes they arrived with their equipment. It just so happened that National Geographic was in town and doing a story on the Right Whales. No, I'm not kidding. This Bohemian looking gent began taking pictures, asking a lot of questions and writing in his journal (you can read the article, it was published a few springs ago).

The whale was beautiful and she and her calf jumped and played for hours before we lost sight of them. I felt honored to be in their presence. 

I have plenty more stories and tales I can share not only of the whales but of the diverse and wonderful people I have met and continue to meet. But right now I think I will stroll across the street and see if I missed anything today. After all, "they're here!"

Becky Bush is the coordinator for the Hammock Dunes / Sector 3 volunteer team.