Sarah has decided that 100+ days of her talking about the ocean may get a bit tedious so we have decided to invite some guests to the blog. These will all be people who have in some way been involved with Sarah’s adventure. The First is Wayne Osborn a whale research whom Sarah met whilst at the Perth Yacht Club. We all know that Sarah has a great love of all marine biology and Wayne has given us a deeper insight into what she can expect to encounter whilst crossing the Indian Ocean.
Whilst Sarah has been working hard to claw Serendipity away from the Western Australian coast she has been crossing a rich feeding ground for much larger mammals, more than 4 times the length of her vessel. These mammals are in fact the largest animal that has ever lived on this planet, the Blue Whale.
300 – 400 metres below Sarah’s oars, these most charismatic of megafauna have been dining on krill, Euphasia recurva. The Perth Canyon, the ancestral mouth of Perth’s Swan River lies 80 kilometres West of the coast. The canyon formation and ocean currents concentrate the krill creating an eat all you want banquet for these mega-mouth mammals during the Summer and Autumn months.
Sailors of old often mistook the “blow” of a blue whale for a waterspout or the rigging of a sailing ship. It’s a mighty exhalation from lungs the size of a small car and can rise 9 metres into the air. Blue whales typically spend only 2 – 3 minutes on surface (5 – 15 blows) when feeding and then submerge for 8 – 15 minutes. Their distinctive blow betrayed them to their most rapacious predator, man and took them to the brink of extinction.
With the cessation of commercial whaling, the blues have a tentative but tenuous hold on survival as their numbers slowly rebuild. We know very little about their movements and scientists are anxious to build enough knowledge to protect them from modern days threats of shipping, pollution and disturbance of breeding areas. Whilst Sarah was busily working her way West, Australian scientists were working those same waters to tag whales with satellite transmitters so they can track movement of the blue whales just in the same way as we can see Sarah’s progress across the Indian Ocean.
The blue whales off Perth are pygmy blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda and grow to around 25 metres.
Visit Waynes website to find out more and see some amazing photos.
Fascinating stuff…300 to 400 metres below…err but they surface every 8 minutes or so! I guess the sea is like the big sky theory? It ain’t going to pop up under me!
Looking forward to hearing more about the marine life that Sarah may encounter enroute.
Thanks Wayne, I look forward to hearing more from guests to the blog. Have crossed the Indian Ocean a few times in my younger days with the grey funnel line.
Waynes details put into focus that the ocean belongs to the marine life that inhabit it and consider how irresponsible we humans are to dump our toxic waste into their habitat. Great guest visitor to the blog and look forward to more to accompany Sarah’s live action.
Great idea. Fascinating.Thanks Wayne.
Thanks Wayne. interesting stuff!!
I consider myself very lucky to have seen minke whales off Western Scotland a few years sgo.We were on holiday on Mull and went on a trip with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. A mother and calf spent many minutes around the boat, and going under it too. it was magical!!
Whilst I don’t envy Sarah all that ROWING/ BIG WAVES / WINDS etc any wildlife sightings always leave me feeling very humbled and priveleged and I always get almost as excited as she does when she tells me what she’s seen.
Thank you for the “blog”
Helen (Sarah’s Mum)
If you’re watching blue whales it’s a hoot
That they call them a pygmy is cute
Yells bravely our Sarah…
Musculus brevicauda says woot!
A pygmy blue whale (75 feet!) defies imagination, but on the Channel Islands off Southern California (Santa Rosa, to be exact), they are digging up my favourite oxymoron of all time – the Pygmy Mammoth!
I have just had a peek at the 7 day forecast for the area Sarah is in and it promises 7 days of southerly weather. This will push her even higher and higher north of the Rhumb line to Mauritius. When will it come around to a helpful direction again!
Looking at your Trak, I can’t help to think that if you had taken off from Geraldton – like the Race is – you could have saved yourself quite a few miles?
Hi there Sarah, following your progress with great interest, you certainly are making great progress, keep listening to the music, keep smiling, keep rowing your way in to the history books.
Elliot sends his love from DoE in Cumbria, whilst Hallie is here at home base at SHS. Will be listening to Stuart Maconie on Monday.
All the very best
Currently 400 klms north of the Rhumb line to her destination, Sarah is already too far north of her route, even allowing for tactical route planning. As per my comment just above (#7), Sarah is in for at least seven days of unfavourable wind direction which will continue to push her further the wrong way.
Here: http://www.sarahouten.com/blog/13409/ are some comments about how the weather dictates where she heads to and also some comments from her land crew confirming same.
I simply mention the above, as a reality check for people to bear in mind when they praise Sarah for the “excellent progress” she is (not) making. However, what I do praise her for is putting up with heading day after day in an unwanted direction and now preparing for a further week of it. That requires the mental stamina which we know she does have, however if she chooses to try and row against it, it will also require endless physical stamina.
Sarah’s trip is absorbing to everyone and she wants to hear from her friends, BUT lets keep the comments real and in return hopefully Sarah and her crew will keep us up to date with real info, rather than feel they would be letting us down if they needed to pass on not-so-good news about progress details/plans and how the boat and Sarah are taking it all.
Excellent photos Wayne, do you mind if I borrow one for my blog ?
I would of course mention you and include a link to your site.
Have been hassling all the folks I comment at, to check out Sarah’s site. We mostly talk nonsense, but there’s some serious stuff mixed in as well.
Diary of a 70s Teen
Much of a Muchness
Writing Quiets The Voices in My Head
all worth a look.
I really enjoyed reading about the blue whales and getting some insight as to what Sarah might see on her journey. Look forward to reading and hearing more. Thanks Lisa
Sarah after 18 days has reduced her distance to go by 396 nautical miles, an average of 22 miles made good per day, and she has ‘off course’ rowed a lot more miles than this.
What an achievement, as one who could hardly ride that dist on a bike, I think she is fanatstic.
With 2785 miles to go at 22 miles per day she has 127 days of rowing left to give a total transit of 145 days.
Maybe in a few days it will all smooth out, south easterly trade winds, and an easterly current for 3 months, but even now we must give her all our support for some 30 mile days or the practical target will become out of reach. Go Sarah Go