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|2nd Newsletter October 2014|
Lembata Blues: Emotional Rescue
Report by Mark Heighes
We were diving at a site called the Brewery in East Lembata when one of our crew, who comes from the island, told me his sister had just seen some beached whales, six meters in length, on the north coast. So I let a few people know, via SMS. We gave some thought to checking it out, but decided to stick to the plan and cruise out to the small island of Komba for the next day of diving. Komba is an erupting volcano about 35 miles north of Lembata, out in the open Flores Sea. She gives as a good show both above and underwater.
While we were out there, I received a sat phone call from Jos informing us that the whales were not beached but, in fact, stranded in a lagoon and had been identified as Blue Whales - the largest living animals that ever roamed the planet, yet some of the least understood. They are very timid and elusive animals that do not like to be close to humans. We have previously experienced this on countless attempts to enter the water, swim with them, and photograph these majestic giants of the sea.
It's not every day you get to help out a few Blue Whales. So I put it to the guests, and we had an overwhelming decision in favor of sacrificing a day of diving to go help out. So that night, after some fireworks from the erupting Komba, we sailed back to Lembata to see what we could do.
We awoke to find four large Blues, ranging from 20 to 25 meters in length, swimming close to shore and trapped by a fringing reef. Then we noticed a gathering of canoes and a bunch of people standing on something. Much to our dismay there was a fifth Blue stranded up on the reef and dead. Apparently, it had beached during the night. It was a male, perhaps 18 meters long.
The Seven Seas - Grahalia Tiying Gading 18, Suite 1 - Jl Tukad Pancoran
Panjer Denpasar 80225 - Bali - Indonesia