I am sitting at Sydney airport excitedly awaiting my flight to Canada. I am on my way to see my first 'true' blue whales. As some of you may know, blue whales are either true or pygmy. The latter is a bit of a misnomer because it invokes images of pocket-sized blue whales. However, the pygmy blue whales that are found in the southern Indian Ocean (around Western Australia) and the northern Indian Ocean (around Sri Lanka) are a mere 5 m shorter (about 24m long!) than the 'true' blues of for e.g. the Antarctic.
I am really excited to have the opportunity to learn new techniques from Rene Swift from the University of St. Andrews and the team at the Mingan Island Cetacean Study - headed by Richard Sears. I wonder whether I will actually be able to tell the size difference between the whales - the pygmy blues are said to be slightly more 'tadpole' shaped, but with animals that only expose a fraction of themselves at a time - I am sure this won't be very obvious. Stay tuned for more excitement on this one....
So I'm flying Perth - Sydney - Vancouver - Montreal - Sept-Iles ... many more hours of travel left!! Here's a map of where I am headed....the Gulf of St. Lawrence - the furthest north I have ever been!
Oh and check out this link while you are at it http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/14410355