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Killer Whales of Eden

by on Aug.13, 2012, under Adventures

The Orca Whales of Eden is the most remarkable story I have ever heard of regarding a working relationship between humans and Orca whales in the wild. This story is not fiction even though it sounds like it is. A simple internet search will reveal more information than I could possible write here. So briefly, the story of the Orca’s of Eden starts hundreds of years ago.

Eden is a small coastal town on the south east coast of Australia. Before the advent of white settlers it was inhabited by native people called the Yuin. Somewhere in the past these native people developed a relationship with a local Orca whale pod. The Orcas would drive large baleen whales (that were migrating north from Antarctica) into Twofold Bay and in the ensuing chase the baleen whales would often beach themselves trying to escape the Orcas. These beached whales soon became food for the Yuit people. The natives believed the Orcas were the re-incarnated spirits of dead tribal members.

The first white settler in Twofold Bay was Thomas Raines who arrived in 1828. Thomas Raines was soon followed by The Imlays Brothers who arrived in 1830. Whaling was becoming big business and the Imlays brothers started hiring native Yuin men to hunt whales for them. Soon the relationship between the native Yuin’s and the Orcas became apparent, but many white men hunting alongside the Yuins were terrified of the Orcas. They would beat the Orcas with their oars and jab at them with their lances in an attempt to drive them away. It is reported that the white whalers even threw explosive devices at the Orcas in their attempt to scare the whales into leaving. This behavior by the white whaler did drive the Orcas away to the dismay of the local Yuin natives.

Sometime in the 1840’s, it’s not exactly known when, Alexander Davidson and his son John began hunting whales from their small, bright green whaling boats in Twofold Bay. They also hired the Yuit peoples to help them but instead of fearing the Orcas they embraced them. Where whalers in the past had driven the Orcas away the Davidson family tried a different approach, something they called the “law of the tongue”. That law was simply that after a successful whale kill(with the help of the Orca whales) the Davidsons would tow the dead whale back to Twofold bay, anchor it to the bottom and go home to let the Orca whales eat. The Orcas only ate the tongue and the lips leaving the rest of the whale untouched. A few days on the bottom and the whale would float to the surface where the Davidson family would then bring it to their docks and continue with the harvest.

Soon the Orca whales of Eden were swimming up to the Davidson’s house, breaching and splashing in an attempt to get their attention. Even in the middle of the night the Orcas would wake the Davisdons because they had driven whales into the bay. It is believed that one whale in particular named”Old Tom” even towed the Davidson whale boats out to chase the whales by taking a two inch line in his mouth and pulling the whole boat and crew with him. Even though there were other whaling families in the area this special relationship with the Orcas was only between the Davidson family in their green whale boats and this small group of whales. It is reported that the Orcas even saved members of the Davidson family from being attacked by sharks when crew members fell in the water or had their boats destroyed by whales.

By 1900 the pod of Orca whales at Eden contained fifteen whales. Around this time one of the Orcas in the pod, a whale nicknamed Typee landed in shallow water and became stranded. Normally Typee would struggle and get off with a little help from an incoming tide. But a drunken white man named Harry Silks knifed Typee to death( it is stated that he was killed for his action that very day). The Orcas of Eden witnessed this murder and left the bay immediately. The following year only six of the whales returned. The relationship between Orca and whaler was never the same. Old Tom died in Twofold Bay in 1930. There is a museum dedicated to him and the other Orcas of Eden. Old Tom’s skeleton is preserved in this museum.

Check the internet for more on the fascinating story.

Would you like to learn more about Orca Whales? Would you like to view my FREE photo gallery? If so please visit me on line at Orca Whale Watching

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    Orca Whales/Killers of the Sea?

    by on Jul.30, 2012, under Adventures

    Orca whales (or killer whales as they are sometimes called) are not really whales at all but are the largest member of the dolphin family. These highly intelligent mammals roam the oceans of the world except for the warm waters of the tropics, and they live in family groups called pods. The family structure of these pods revolves around the oldest female member making them one of the few large mammals that live in a matriarchal society.

    Except for human beings, Orca whales are the top predators of the sea. They developed their nickname “Killer w Whale” by the way they hunt large whales. There are many similarities between a pack of wolves hunting and a pod of Orcas doing the same. These whales have been known to attack and kill blue whales, the largest animal that roams our oceans. Killer whales are organized hunters, chasing their prey with relentless pursuit, wearing it down, driving it to exhaustion before starting to rip hunks of flesh from its body. There is an amazing and somewhat disturbing series of photographic published in National Geographic of these whales attacking a blue whale off the coast of Baja, Mexico.

    Male Orca whales become sexual mature at fifteen years of age and females become sexually mature around twelve years of age. After mating the gestation period is seventeen months. Baby whales are born tail first, eyes open and ready to take their first breath, often with a little help from their mother. The average baby at birth is approximately eight feet long and weighs close to four hundred pounds. It is estimated that a fully grown male Orca whale needs to consume over a hundred pounds of food daily to survive and can weigh over twelve thousand pounds.

    Experts can identify Orca whales by their dorsal fin and also by their distinct saddle patch. The dorsal fin on a breeding age male can be six feet tall. Female dorsal fins are smaller and more rounded or swept back. The saddle patch is a small area of gray at the base of their dorsal fin. Another tool used in identifying individual whales is the many different nicks, scars, and other irregularities found on their fin. In the wild Orca whales enjoy a very long life. The male’s life span is estimated to be between thirty and sixty years of age and the female fifty to eighty. One interesting note is that in the Pacific Northwest of Washington state (which is the best place on the planet to see Orca whales in their natural environment) the oldest living female named “Granny” just turned one hundred years old this year. Unfortunately Orca whales have a much shorter life span in captivity.

    Rather or not these beautiful animals should be labeled with the name “killer” is up for debate, but science agrees that there has never been one known case of an Orca whale (except in captivity) attacking or in any manner hunting, harassing or killing a human being.

    Want to learn more about Orca whales? Please visit me and also enjoy my FREE Orca Whale photo gallery:Orca Whale Watching

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      Behind HJDS Travel Group Blog

      My name is Harry Delgado and I am a full time Internet and Small Business developer and marketer. Over 30 years in the Computer systems development, programming, hardware installations and support. Currently making a living from blogs like HJDS Computer Services , HJDS Investment Group and HJDS BlogBiz. You can connect with me via social media sites at Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter - YouTube.