Part 2: Famous List of Whales & Whale Tales

So you've discovered the first 3 most well-known whales from Famous List of Whales Part 1 -The First 3 of the World's Most Incredible Whales & Whale Tales, now familiarise yourself with the last 4 of these incredible, highly intelligent marine mammals…

#4 on the Famous List of Whales — Sperm Whales of Nantucket

In 1819 whalers journeying from Nantucket, Massachusetts to hunt sperm whales aboard whaling ship Essex out in the South Pacific ocean found themselves besieged by their prey. The hunters became the hunted when in 1820, nine months after hauling a goldmine worth of whale oil, they were attacked by a retaliating sperm whale which sunk one of their smaller whaleboats with its mighty tail.

A few days later another sperm whale crashed into the Essex itself, sinking it. The crew drifted on the remaining small whaleboats. 3 took refuge on a tiny desert island and the rest drifted at sea, the adrift survivors, desperate for food, resorted to cannibalism, only 5 of them were eventually rescued in 1821. The 3 island inhabitants were also rescued after 107 days.

The notorious Mocha Dick along with Nantucket's whaling history inspired Melville's 'Moby Dick'.

#5 on the Famous List of Whales — Iceland's Keiko, better known as 'Free Willy'

Keiko the killer whale who was captured as young whale to live out his days in an Iceland aquarium was the star of the heart-warming 1993 film 'Free Willy'.

The Warner Bros. movie's success generated an influx of support for releasing Keiko from captivity. The release eventually happened after some time, but the joyous release did not end happily ever after as Keiko perished from pneumonia in 2003 at the young age of 27.

#6 on the Famous List of Whales — Australia's Old Tom

An orca whale which came to be known as Old Tom once lived off the southeaster coastline of Australia in the 1920s. Old Tom and members of his pod shared a working friendship of sorts with local NSW whalers by aiding the whalers of Twofold Bay in their gruesome endeavours by herding, trapping and even slaying migrating baleen whales.

The whalers would finish-off the baleen whales and would reward Old Tom and his orcas with the baleens tongues and lips to eat.

Old Tom would even protect sailors who fell overboard by circling them to scare off the bay's resident sharks.

#7 on the Famous List of Whales — USA's Humphrey

Humphrey the 40 tonne wayward humpback made himself famous when he travelled twice into San Francisco Bay. The first journey took place in 1985 when he swan up the Sacramento River into Rio Vista, California within 27 miles of the state capital. He was led back out to sea using a 'sound net' by rescuers.

Then in 1990 he came back, toured around Alcatraz, Angel Island, Bay Bridge and Pier 39 and was again rescued and led out to ocean.

Two other wayward humpbacks, Delta and Dawn — mother and daughter, also journeyed up the Sacramento River in 2007.

Humpback Whales of Moreton Bay

Captain Kerry Lopez has been skippering whale watching tours through the waters of Moreton Bay for over 20 years.

Captain Kerry is the Moreton Bay Region's unrivalled whale expert, she has named many of these friendly ocean behemoths and is able to identify them by their unique markings.

Why not book a tour with Brisbane Whale Watching and cruise the waters of Moreton Bay Marine Park aboard Captain Kerry's MV Eye Spy for a chance to meet her gentle giant whale friends.

Read our great tips on How to Prepare Children for a Whale Watching Trip!

Kerry Lopez

Captain of the Eye Spy
12 July 2016