Whales and Tales

This site's content is connected to my published book and will feature details of my new books

Two ‘Friendlies’

Grey Fluke
My favourite tail or ‘Fluke’ photo is that of a Grey Whale!

My very first whale encounter was with the wonderfully curious Grey Whale! I was privileged to spend a few hours with two of these giants, both appropriately named ‘Friendlies because of their gentle and approachable nature. They came right up to us as we sat on our Zodiac and they interacted like old friends. I have never seen a whale of any kind before these meetings and boy did it change my life forever! We had flipper waving, tail lifting, the whales went under us and around us and they even blew us lots of fishy whale kisses.

I even got to look them both in the eye and it was like I was dreaming. Their spiritual friendliness was beyond words and they really wanted to know all about us and show us what they are made of.

These two whales were teenagers in whale terms, they were 30 feet long and weighed at least one ton per foot!

Older Grey’s kept their distance, the pilot of our speedboat said it was because they remember the hunting and the relentless persecution that they suffered years before.

At no time during these encounters did any of us feel threatened or in danger from these huge creatures. At one point they rubbed their backs on the bottom of our boat and all it did was make the boat shake a little! It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life and I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Grey and Broom
This Grey lifted its tail to show us its beautiful details. You can see the broom in the right corner – The pilot was allowed to scratch both of friendly giants’ bellies, it was so awesome!
Grey Kiss
Whale kisses! You can see the splashes as their fishy breath landed on the ocean after most of the spray had hit our faces and left a salty covering on our mouths! Absolutely incredible!
Grey Flipper
Flipper waving! ‘Hello humans, look at my beautiful patterns on my huge flipper!’ Such a beautifully formed whale!
Grey Beak
Grey whales have ‘beaked’ shaped mouths – this helps them dig into the sea bed to find their food!
Grey Next to Boat
This was the moment that I looked the whale right in the eye and it changed my life for always!
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Lazy Leopard

This is Batman! A magnificent Leopard who lived in Kruger National Park and who we had the most amazing privilege to meet whilst we were on our Safari trip. He seemed very relaxed around humans, and the vehicles, and carried on with his day-to-day routines as we followed him on a few blessed occasions!

On this particular trip out, we nearly run poor Batman over as our driver got a little too close for comfort. You can see the white at the bottom of the picture, that was our cars front end! Batman was very calm about it all and did not even flinch when we got so ‘up close and personal’. I am so glad he was seen at the right time, he was such a beautiful animal with the most luxurious looking fur I have ever seen. You just wanted to reach out and stroke him but, of course, you could not do that. It would not end very well for you!

Such an amazing encounter, one I will never forget!

In this picture, you can see how close we were to Batman. Look at that amazing fur! He was scenting his territory and showing off his rather long and impressive tail! What a Leopard! What a incredible encounter!
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My First Orca Encounter

This is Ruffles, or J1 as he was known to scientists. I first met him on a whale watch in B.C. and he was pretty impressive, and very friendly, it turned out! I will never forget how my heart jumped with happiness as he spent time with us, showing off his amazing Dorsal Fin on his back! These fins can grow up to 6 feet tall, so if I stood on his back, it would tower over me as I am a ‘short house’! Incredible memory!

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Belugas in Captivity

During my travels I visited an Aquarium. I am not usually a fan of seeing any animal in captivity but my curiosity about seeing whales there was too strong. This is my own account of what I saw and felt during my visit.

I had a look around at all the different animals, including a couple of dolphins that still lived in the park. They looked a little lonely and I was a bit upset about them being in a concrete home instead of in the ocean.

On I went to the Beluga enclosure. I had never seen Beluga, except on TV but I had read up about them and I was very excited to look at these unique and special whales up close.

I went into the auditorium. There were concrete seats in a half circle, going down to the pool which was in the centre.

I walked down the gangway to the pool and spotted my first Beluga. These whales are also known as the Ghost Whale and I guessed at first that this was because they are pure white. They have quite a bulbous head and their whole bodies looked like they were made of lots of blubber that seemed to ripple as they moved. There were five animals here, in the same enclosure and they were very quiet. I noticed this the most because I had read that beluga Whales were one of the most chatty of all the whales. Normally they talk to each other a lot in the wild. This group was silent in an eerie kind of way. They slowly swam around their tiny tank and they looked positively bored. The whale nearest to me, at the edge of the pool looked me right in the eye and it was a look of sadness and loneliness. It cut me to my core I must admit.

I went below the auditorium, where there was a massive glass screen that showed the whales swimming underwater. I went right up to it and stood and stared at the whales for a long time. This was when I confirmed exactly why they are called the Ghost Whale. As they swam by, looking at me with a mixture of curiosity and perhaps a call for rescue, their bodies rippled so much that they reminded me of ‘Casper’ the ghost, from the movies. They have a distinctive shape and the way it moves so freely makes them different to any other whale I have seen. They are beautiful creatures, with the most heavenly of faces. Their mouths were formed to make it look like they were permanently smiling but I knew it was not for the reasons they should have been.

15 minutes later, the ‘show’ was announced to be starting and I came back up to the main stage to see what what was happening beforehand. I saw a massive change in the whale’s attitudes. They started to move faster, make more noises and looked a little more excited to be there. People started to fill the auditorium and we were asked to take our seats. I decided to stand at the top, right at the back and up high so that I could see exactly what was going on.

I was wearing my sunglasses because it was quite sunny on that day. What I did not know was that I would be so pleased I had them on, to hide the utter sorrow that I felt for these ‘performing pets’.

The reason the Belugas started to talk quickly became very obvious. It was feeding time and they must have been so hungry. They did not just get given the food though, oh no. They had to put on an energetic show in order for them to receive their prizes.

So they did jumps, twists, turns and interactions with their humans whilst everyone clapped and cheered them on. All except for me. I spent the entire time wiping my tears away that had escaped under my sunglasses. I felt so sad for these whales, so sorry for them being away from their kind and so devastated that this was what their life entailed, for the pleasure of mankind.

I was relieved when the show ended and shocked at how quickly the whales went back into their silence and boredom to await their next performance.

I was so happy to leave the place and felt lucky that I could. If only I could have taken them with me and released them. Then I had a terrible thought. Even if I could free them it would not be right. They were nowhere near where they should have been. Nowhere near their Arctic homeland. They would not have survived in this warmer ocean but my thought of a rescue has never left me to this day!

I really hope that one day soon all captured Ocean Creatures will be released back into the wild, in the right way of course. I know that this has already started to happen and I am so happy and grateful to see every rescue and release that occurs.

I also hope that no other animal is taken from its family for the sole purpose of earning a pretty penny? Well, I can dream can’t I…?

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My Top 5 Tips For Writing

I thought I would publish my own tips for writing, and to encourage all you wonderful writers out there to keep going! Never give up on your story – it is precious and lots of people need to see it!

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The Mighty Blue Whale!

The Mighty Blue!
This is my own photo of one of the Blues I saw that day! Unforgettable and truly incredible!

I first saw Blue Whales, yes I saw two of them, in Monterey, CA. I was on a whale watch and we had already seen Humpbacks and Dolphins galore! All of a sudden, the pilot of the boat called out ‘I think it’s a Blue Whale!’ As I turned to where she told us to look, I got the surprise of my life. This Blue was very close to or boat and its huge body rolled through the waves as if it was a part of it! Then, and this is a very rare sight, it lifted its enormous ‘fluke’ or tail out of the ocean and up into the air towards the sky! It was gigantic, I have never seen such a fluke before! We then had a second Blue do exactly the same for us. Blues can weigh up to 200 tonnes and both of the ones we saw measured 95 feet long! You cannot imagine anything that big, but to see their tails lifting in slow motion and hanging there for what seemed like an age, to then enter the water so smoothly, it is just a privilege and an honour! My life changed forever and I was more of a ‘Whale Nut’ then ever!

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My Top 5 Tips For Whale Watching!

My Tips for a Whale Watch Adventure! I am sure you have not thought about these before. I hope you get to go on a Whale Watch soon – Don’t forget to make sure that the company you go out with follows the Regulations and Guidelines to keep the awesome creatures of the ocean safe! Enjoy and PLEASE – tell me all about your adventure(s), I would love to hear them! Thank you!
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Whales and Tales – Anita Johnson

I had the privilege of going on many adventures, during which I went out on the ocean to do many Whale Watches. I had the most amazing encounters with many species of whales, including Orca, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, Blue Whales, Beaked Whales, Sperm Whales, Bottlenose Whales as well as many species of Dolphins – Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, White Sided Dolphins, Rizzo Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Northern Right Whale Dolphins and a very rare sighting of a Dall’s Porpoise! This Porpoise looked very similar to an Orca, only much smaller and on this trip the Orca and Porpoise chased each other in a game of ‘Cat and Mouse’! Luckily for the porpoise, the Orca was a resident in the Salish Sea and Porpoise was not on the menu!

My life changed in the most positive way when I met all these spectacularly curious and friendly animals and it inspired me to write a journal (Diary) about all of my encounters. This then led to me publishing my book and including my own photos of my exciting trips.

I also went on Safari in South Africa and it was so incredible that I just had to include my diary entries in my book. Being on Safari in Kruger National Park was one of the best adventures of my life, after the whale watching of course!

I had the ultimate privilege of seeing the ‘Big 5’ there. Elephants, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo and Lions! On the first early morning trip out and after we had managed to wake up at such an early alarm, we saw four of the five. Only the elusive Lions evaded our presence that day!

I have to say, my favourite and most memorable encounter was with the African Elephants! They are enormous, especially the Bulls. When you disturb an amorous Bull by almost driving into him, you get the biggest shock of your life. His ears spread out and must of measured ten feet across. He stamped his feet in a rage filled tantrum and he looked at us with such anger that we all wished we was not sitting in an open-topped jeep. We were convinced he was going to charge into us and I felt sorry for the tracker, who was sat on a makeshift seat on the bonnet. My photo showed just how close he was to this magnificent but very dangerous giant and we all held our breath and prayed for forgiveness. The Tracker signalled to the right, quite calmly I have to admit, and the Ranger turned our jeep away in an quick and much needed act of submission. Phew! The Bull ran past us and went to a large puddle where he continued to stamp in frustration and we made our escape. That was a close call!

I hope you enjoy my posts from my book and if you would like to contact me or post a comment, please feel free to do so. I have some copies of my book that can be purchased, please contact me for details.

Look out for future blogs about my adventures and also my Tips and general posts about my love for all creatures of the sea and land. I will also be starting a blog about my present writing of Children’s stories and I would really appreciate your feedback and discussions about these. I will be publishing on Instagram and FaceBook too so see you there – #whalesplustales and https://www.facebook.com/whalesandtales

Thank you for reading and enjoy! Regards from Anita, ‘WhaleNut and Wildlife SuperFan!

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Book Sign

My first Book Sign is tomorrow – 22nd June! I am looking forward to it and am very excited! Also a bit nervous as I really want it to go well?! 

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The Sperm Whale

 

These giants are gentle and elegant and very curious and friendly!

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