Saturday, May 14, 2011

Albany's Whale World
 Albany has had a long history with whaling. Starting back in the early 19th century whalers hunted southern right whales, humpback whales, and sperm whales (picture on rightside) to near extinction.  Whales were processed into an abundance of products - lamp oil, transmission fluid, ambergrise in perfumes, fertilizers, meat for animal and human consumption, baleen products, cosmetics, aircraft engine oil, ivory and bone products.  The last company ceased operations in 1979 and now the facility is an outdoor museum.  The old oil storage tanks are now turned into 4 theatres with 4 distinct visual presentations - 3D whale movie, sharks film on a thin screen with artifacts behind, a whaling story watched on the floor, and a unusual spectravision with stationary pieces and 3D talking hologram narrators.  Well worth the visit which included a hour long tour guide walk and talk.
A Canadian connection - explorer Captain George Vancouver set ancor in Albany bay in 1791. 
In the background the whaling ship - Cheynes IV.

Below are some photos from around the whaling station from top right moving clockwise:
1. A baby Blue Whale skeleton.
2.  The water front dock where whale carcasses where pull from the sea and onto the flensing deck.  A little rock spit a few hundred metres off shore that was used to tie the whales to until the previous whale was processed was a shark haven.  Shark hunters would sometimes see up to 200 sharks feasting on the bloody carcasses floating. 
3.  Heavy machines and derricks used to lift whale and cut them up (flensing).
4. A stinking, bloody place during flensing and boiling down of blubber into whale oil.

1 comment:

  1. Since nobody has said it yet (and with good reason) - it looks like you had a whale of a time in Albany.

    Glad you enjoyed "Down South" - looks like typical Albany weather - cold and windy.
    Whatever the weather it is still a great place to visit.