Friday, December 23, 2011

Back on the Mainland....

I have to say the 'Spirit of Tasmania' is a well oiled operation. I couldn't 'fault' the ship.

This time we took pillows and sleeping bags. A few of us slept on the floor.
Not to many rules happening in the Recliner section.

Sadly we drove on through Melbourne.

'Caravanning' back this way in the future doesn't seem that overwhelming since we have gone all the way around.

We had an overnight stay at 'Lakes Entrance' and then headed for the border.

The usual excitement and 'shenanagans' that occur with a border crossing...

Instant increase in temperature. Put the extra bedding away Frank.....somewhere??

We visited the 'Whale Museum' in Eden which was quite interesting...
Great art deco facade!!

Eden has a truly fascinating whaling history.

As much as I love Whales I hadn't realised they are divided into two distinct sub-groups.

(sorry little biology lesson coming up)

The Baleen types...they have the baleen slats or filters instead of teeth. 

Remember Nemo?? they swallow water, krill and plankton gets caught in the 'baleen'. Their tongue forces water out and the trapped goodies are swallowed. Very clever.

Baleen Whales
The toothed Whales. These guys have conical teeth which they use to tear off chunks of food and swallow which is then digested in stages through several stomachs.

Toothed Whales
Now for the history lesson....

The Whale Museum was created because of a very unique relationship that existed between separate pods of  Killer Whales (1850-1930) and a family of 'Whalers' named the Davidsons.

The Killer whales would assist the Whalers to hunt Baleen whales. The Killer Whales would find the Baleen Whales and herd them into a nearby bay. The whales would then somehow alert the Whalers. 

One very famous Killer Whale (Old Tom) alerted the Whalers by breaching or tail slapping at the mouth of the river.

The Whalers would then head out in their wooden 'oared' boat and harpoon the Baleen Whale. Old Tom would grab the boat's rope in his teeth and help tow them back.

Old Tom's skeleton is in the museum and you can see the wear in his teeth from the rope....

In return for their help the Whalers would give the Killer Whales the tongue and the lips (which were the only parts they ate). They would also eat the fish and birds that were attracted to the area.

Quite an amazing story.

Books have been written and movies made about this extremely unique relationship between Man and Beast.

It was known as 'the law of the tongue'.

The relationship came unstuck in 1920 when a Whaler didn't follow the 'law of the tongue' bringing on a huge tug of war with Old Tom.

It is thought this incident caused Old Tom to lose some teeth, cause an abscess which ultimately meant he couldn't eat. He subsequently died.

Very sad!!

In 1982 the International Whaling Commission voted for a 'morotorium' on all commercial whaling.

It seems there are still methods that certain countries use to get around this unfortunately!!!


  1. Great lesson! Amazing story about old Tom. What intelligent creatures they are. Though seeing a Killer Whale in the flesh would be petrifying!

    I can almost feel the excitement of your coming home. Imagine being back in your own bed after such a wonderful trip. You have created such great memories for your children.

  2. Love the facade of the Whale Museum Megan.
    Must be a bittersweet feeling...almost home, holiday nearly over...
    I hope you and your family have a really lovely Chrissy, take care and drive safely x


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