15.4 C
Byron Shire
May 31, 2024

Black bellied whale sighted at Ballina dubbed ‘Liquorice’

Latest News

Why jobseekers were abandoned

Many were left puzzled by the recent federal budget by Labor Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, with its projected surplus of $9.3 billion. 

Other News

Greener futures in Mullum

Byron Community College’s series of events with Mark Swivel continues to bring in a full house each week!

Byron biz digs in for BayFM

The Byron business community gathered at Fishheads for their new menu launch and a fundraiser for Bay FM last week, with $1,360 being raised for the independent radio station.

Elements of Byron’s intimate winemaker dinners start on 6 June

Elements of Byron are inviting local wine lovers to join them for an unforgettable journey through the world of...

‘Mono’ wins Hawaiian adaptive surfing title

Byron Bay surfer Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart won his division at the Hawaiin Adaptive Surfing Championships two weeks ago.

Surf like a woman

Local surfing legend Pauline Menczer has told her remarkable story in a new book, 'Surf Like a Woman', which tells the story of how she overcame sexism, homophobia and rheumatoid arthritis to become World Surfing Champion.

Cinema: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

Years after a global catastrophe, Australia is a radioactive wasteland. The Green Place of Many Mothers is one of the last remaining areas with fresh water and agriculture. Raiders discover the Green Place while a young Furiosa Jabassa and Valkyrie are picking peaches. Furiosa attempts to sabotage their motorbikes, but the raiders capture her as a prize for their leader, warlord Dr. Dementus of the Biker Horde. Furiosa’s mother Mary pursues them to the Horde’s camp. Although Furiosa mortally wounds the last raider before he can divulge the location of the Green Place, Mary is unable to stop him from delivering Furiosa to Dementus.

Sonia Friedrich named this little bubba ‘Liquorice’ because of its black belly. Photo Sonia Friedrich.

For years southern waters whale watchers have been keeping their eyes keen for Migaloo and his offspring, but just how many local cetacean enthusiasts have seen a black whale?

Sonia recently went out on a whale watching tour with Out Of the Blue Adventures and they came across a black-bellied baby humpback whale.

‘We’d been out on the boat without much action that morning. The conditions were perfect, with low winds and swell on a 7.30am whale watching cruise.

This is where this bubba gets his/her name, they look like strap liquorice. Photo Sonia Friedrich.

‘I’d also thought it might be my last trip this year. I’d hoped to go out more often yet due to some poor weather and then COVID lockdowns this season, we missed some of the best opportunities to see the whales.

Sonia, who lives at Byron Bay, says she was happy just to be out on the ocean.

‘It was toward the end of the trip the whales appeared and this little calf was excited and breaching.  It must have breached five times and was getting closer to the boat.’

Sonia says marine biologist Emily Horton was also on the trip. ‘It was Emily who noticed the black underbelly, something I certainly wasn’t aware of.

Mumma humpback was watching nearby. Photo Sonia Friedrich.

‘I love that with a marine biologist onboard, like any professional, they are trained and know so much more. You learn something new every time. Her excitement in seeing this, got us all even more excited, realising that we were witnessing something quite special in these southern waters.

The vessel was about 2 nautical miles east of Patches Beach when it was spotted and Sonia immediately dubbed it ‘Liquorice’.

Sonia says mumma humpback was close by as the calf put on a show.

‘There was a young boy on board and it was his birthday,’ says Sonia. ‘This made his day, it was pretty special.’

Sonia says the whales always take her breath away. ‘I am in awe of them. This may sound odd to some, however, I trust my intuition and before booking in (for a tour) I tune in and ask what I am going to see and capture. Only when I hear the answer of when I’m meant to go out, do I book in. So far that has worked for me. Every trip is different, and every trip has a magic of its own. I love it!

Ooh wee, ooh wee, weeee, ooh wee, WEEEEEE. Photo Sonia Friedrich.

‘I always feel like time stands still out here. I’m completely connected to nature and all of who I am. It’s another world.

Sonia says that now she has a photographic record of Liquorice, she will look for it again next year. ‘The whales migrate mostly the same each year and now that I have a picture of its fluke, I’ll be able to tell if it’s the same one. Their fluke is an identifier, like our fingerprints.

Sonia says she went home and looked up black-bellied whales. ‘It seems there have been a few of them in the last few years, however, these markings are mostly from whales in the Northern Hemisphere.  

It makes sense there must be a mum and dad with the same markings. Maybe it’s the change in weather that we are seeing a merging of the two? Not that I know this for sure, but I can’t wait until next year!’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kingscliff locals concerned over proposal to remove trees at Merve Edwards Fields for AFL

The potential of removing trees from the Merve Edwards Fields site at Kingscliff to accommodate the Kingscliff Junior AFL Club has raised concerns of locals and neighbours who say that this is not a proposal they support. 

Ballina Council to look into making tiny homes accessible 

The idea of living in a tiny home can seem like a simple solution to our housing crisis – but getting council approvals for a permanent tiny home on private land can be challenging. 

Council staff to look at limiting bulk and scale in Wategos  

A motion by Cr Sarah Ndiaye (Greens) to amend the LEP to reduce the building height limits in the Wategos residential area from 9m to 8m was unsuccessful at last Thursday’s Council meeting. 

Is this the next Bentley? New doco highlights value of Clarence River amid mining proposal

Mining plans for the region were discovered by two locals as they paddled down the Clarence River near Grafton. The question is what does it mean for the future of the Northern Rivers?