Standing across from Albany City and the King George Sound is an area called Frenchman’s bay. It is here that today’s adventure would take place.
We drove down the peninsula all the way to a place called Whale World. As we got to the car park Karen noticed the fuel gauge on empty. Making an executive decision we drove the 15km back up the road to the nearest petrol station to fill her up. We just about made it there before what was left of the petrol fumes was used up. It wouldn’t have been good to be stranded.
After our quick detour we went back to Whale World and made it on the next tour.
Situated on the site of the old Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, Whale World is a fantastic look at the history of whaling and the later conservation efforts to protect these leviathans of the deep. There was no glorification of Whaling here, just a simple matter of fact approach… We came, we saw, we hunted, we realised what we did,we stopped hunting to save the whales.
As you walk onto the site the audio re-enactment of a whale chase brings the place to life. The old machinery still works and smoke has been added for effect.
They also boast the state’s largest Pygmy Blue Whale skeleton and the world’s largest marine mammal painting collection. This is all overshadowed by the huge Cheynes IV Whaling ship permanently moored on dry dock.
The Oil towers have been transformed into interactive movie theatres focusing on the life of a whaler, whales in the ocean and a feature on the doctor of the ocean – The Shark!
The cutting up deck was pretty surreal. You could realistically imagine Sperm Whales lined up for processing as schools of sharks try to grab a bite of them against the exertions of whalers with rifles and harpoons!
This was a great way at showing the world why a global ban on whaling is needed. These magnificent creatures deserve our protection. In the end they were saved from extinction in Australia by simple economics. The dramatic increase in price of engine oil made whaling unprofitable!
It was also shocking to hear that over 30 million sharks are killed globally each year.
As we were on the tour it started lashing – which played havoc with the rest of our day. While walking out to the Blowholes on the cliffs we got soaked to the skin.
Next up the road was the Natural Bridge and Gap. The Gap is a natural cavern in the rocks. 24m high the ocean rushes in and sounds like thunder. The Natural Bridge is a massive edifice of granite that has been sculpted over the centuries by the powerful swells.
On the way back we had to slow down as John needed to get a photo of something he has missed the last few journeys – Albany’s Dog Rock. Such a kid!