The Long Way Home – Malta to Fremantle: Part 2

Leaving Malta on November 18, 2010 and arriving on February 25, 2011 we experienced a wonderful voyage the long, safe way home!

This is our journey in a nut-shell…

Conspicuous long slender white beak of a Gray’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon grayi) on the Madagascar Plateau.

109,000 litres of diesel fuel, 13,000 nautical miles, 16 crew members ,16 species of cetaceans, ,

9 currencies, 8 ports of call, 7 Journey Legs, 6 cyclones to avoid, 5 Pollywogs becoming Shell-backs,

3 parties with 32 m sailing vessel Bolero, 2 Birthday celebrations (for Resty and Dale),

2 Oceans traversed (the mighty Atlantic and the intriguing Indian),

2 Vessel escorts into Fremantle (Cloudbreak II and Francis’s Mighty Tinny),

1 marvellous Mediterranean Sea and

1 wonderful Whale Song bringing us safely home…

And all of this translated into 8 Customs Officers, 2 Quarantine Officers, I Ship’s Agent and two Labrador dogs when we came alongside in Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour and three and a half hours later we had entered Australia!  After the formalities were finished, huge relief descended with the knowledge of having completed a safe passage and great excitement with all the accompanying hugs and happiness of seeing family and friends at our “We’re Back Party!” that evening!

Forward of the left facing single blowhole of this Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) are three white scars from the tentacle suckers of a squid.

We were thrilled with all the whale sightings including Sperm whales, Brydes whales, Short-finned Pilot whales, Long-finned Pilot whales and rare Cuviers Beaked whales and Grays Beaked whales.  We also encountered many dolphin species including Bottle-nose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Striped dolphins and Common dolphins.

It was exhilarating to experience all aspects of long, ocean passages, including three bouts of windy weather beginning with 40-50 knot winds and 3-4-5m swell in the first few days out from Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, breezy 50 knots near the Canaries and 50 knots and 7m swell off east Africa crossing the Agulhus Current.

Returning on February 25, 2011 we were delighted to pass our beloved Rottnest Island and savoured the beautiful bright blue clear, clean water!   Having successfully brought Whale Song to Fremantle, this ocean walloping has seriously wet our appetite for more!  And to this end, we have been planning for many years already!  Whale Song, being an Ice Class vessel, is an excellent platform for research forays south into Antarctic waters from Fremantle!   Stay tuned for our research plans!

Offshore Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni), South Africa.

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis) with unique white coloration.

Clymene Dolphin (Stenella clymene) leaping beside Whale Song.

Vertical fluke up on the commencement of a deep dive, Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) calf staying close to its mother.

Offshore Bryde’s Whales (Balaenoptera edeni) feeding in highly productive offshore waters.

Conspicuous long slender white beak of a Gray’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon grayi) on the Madagascar Plateau.

Diffuse algal patches on the flank of the Gray’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon grayi).


Returning to Fremantle after 5 months underway!

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