2009 12 29- Whales Bermuda has 200,000 views in less than two years! And some other progress reports Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

We've hit the milestone 200,000 views on Whales Bermuda!

And here are some other stats:

Over the three years of this project we've made 213 individual whale fluke ids, 152 of them this year alone. In total 51 of these whale fluke ids have been matched to whale fluke ids in the Allied Whale North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue or through matches made by Dr Jooke Robbins from the Centre of Coastal Studies in Provincetown or by Roger Etcheberry in St Pierre et Miquelon and Reg Kempen in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. We are still at the beginning stage of trying to match our 2009 whale fluke ids and I'm sure we'll have plenty more matches. If we don't match these whales, they will be given a new NAHWC number and hopefully sometime in the future they will be identified through a fluke id somewhere else in the North Atlantic. The oldest match we have had was 34 years since the first sighting and we have had several sightings spanning 30 years, almost to the beginning of whale fluke ids. The furthest north we've matched whales are two whales that were matched to Icelandic sightings.

On average, I spent about 200 hours on the water annually in Bermuda looking for whales over these past three years for a total of over 600 hours. In the second and third year I found whales on almost every outing until the end of the season about the middle of May. We had something like 20 plus days annually on the water. We estimated we saw  300+ whales each season for 2008 and 2009. How many whales pass by Bermuda based on those stats? On  the water 20 days out of let's say 60 days of prime time humpback migration past Bermuda and you can probably triple the figure and add a bit more for the whales that might have been somewhere other than South Shore, Challenger Bank or Sally Tuckers. An easy 1,000 would be an educated guess.

We've also seen Cuvier beaked whales, sperm whales, pygmy sperm whales and lots of bottlenose dolphins.

I've also spent a couple of hundred hours on the Silver Bank and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland with scores of additional whale fluke ids obtained during these trips. In addition to American, Canadian and Caribbean marine biologists, I also travelled to Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia to meet with whale experts there.

I have several hours of undewater HD video footage of whales and several hours of above water footage of humpback whales and thousands upon thousands of photographs. I am editing the film now and have the first rough cut which is about 65 minutes long. I will try and get that down to an hour. The first public showings I expect will be in March and that will include the Bermuda International Film Festival in March 2010. 170,000 viewers have looked at my whale footage on YouTube.

I have spoken in person to about 2,000 school children in Bermuda about whales and our marine environment as well as numerous illustrated lectures at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, the English Speaking Union, the International Women's Club, the Garden Club of Bermuda, Rotary Clubs, art galleries, and anyone else who wants me to talk about whales and our marine environment. And of course I co-authored two poster presentations at the biennial meeting of the Society for Marine Mammology in October of this year.

And although we haven't attained our total budget yet, we're not too far off.

Perhaps most important, is my decision and commitment to continue researching the humpbacks in Bermuda for an additonal three years. It seems a shame to have gone so far with our observations and then stop in our tracks.

I'm looking forward to seening more whales and have had two separate sightings of whales already, both about a month ago during the full moon, at Argus Bank and off South Shore at the eastern end of Bermuda.

 

Don't forget, if you see whales give me a call on 777-7688 so I can log the sightings and post them on this website. You'll be suprised how easy it is to spot the whales from South Shore on a calm day.

 
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