Right Whale Sightings

 
 
The North American Right or Basque Whale is frequently sighted off the coast of St. Augustine. The Right Whale has been a protected species since 1935.
Only 800 to 1000 of these creatures are known to exist. They grow generally
to 39 to 49 feet long, with the maximum length ever recorded at 55 feet with
a weight of over 100 tons. These whales can be spotted when they surface for
air. They are characterized by the double spout or "V" blowhole, white spots
on the heak and no dorsal fin. They travel in small groups or pods. Each
individual can be identified by a particular cluster of small parasitic
crustaceans that form white. grey or yellow patches on the animal's skin, on
the head and around the eye.
 
The name Basque Whale comes from the 9th century onwards when whale hunting was an important part of life for the Basques, who lived off  the Northern Coast of Spain, near the Bay of Biscay where the Right Whales would flock in order to give birth to their young. Every autumn the lookouts posted in hilltop towers would signal the approach of a group of "Sardas" as they called them by beating drums, ringing bells and lighting fires. The hunters would then put to sea in skiffs and row out toward the whales guided by those watching from the towers. Whaling became a thriving industry and
whaling technology progressed. By the 15th Century however the Sardas or
Right Whale population had been depleted and whalers had to find new
territories and thus whalers conducted new explorations.
 
The Right Whale has a particular connection to the old and new world and to
St. Augustine. They come to visit and are the last of a breed that once
ruled the seas. If you see one of these magnificent creatures please call
1-888-979-4253. Please have the following information ready:
 
1. The location of whales, longitude and latitude if available or a major
landmark.
2. The number of whales and if they have calves.
3. The direction the whales are traveling.
4. Whether dolphins were present.
5. Your name and where you can be reached.