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Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Thursday, 5 August 2010 14:48 UK
Could a sperm whale sighted off Devon have a family?
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon


Watch Dean Tapley's whale footage from June 2010

A new sighting of a sperm whale off the coast of Devon has been reported - but this time with a difference.

Ken Rowe thinks he saw not only the sperm whale, the subject of a number of recent sightings, but he believes he may have also seen a calf with it.

While "taking his morning constitutional" at Preston, Paignton at about 6.30 am on 5 August 2010 he spotted something in the water.

"I have never seen anything like it," said Ken, who lives in the resort.

"I was gazing out across the sea and watching the seabirds sat in the water washing their feathers.

"Then, about 150 yards offshore, I saw what looked like a dark shape at sea.

How to report a sperm whale sighting
Email sightings@seawatchfoundation.org.uk
Telephone 01545 561227

"It proceeded to breach the surface and blow.

"It was about three or four times the size of a normal dolphin - which I have seen quite often.

"Then I noticed what may have been a smaller one nearby - about a third of its size. "

Gemma Veneruso from the Seawatch Foundation said the sighting does sound like a sperm whale but is has not yet been confirmed by the charity.

"It would be very rare indeed to see a female at this high latitude," said Gemma.

"The sighting of the sperm whale was rare anyway but we would have expected it to be a male because of their distribution."

I'm going to go back there tomorrow and this time I'm taking my camera!

Ken Rowe

"There are a number of observers keeping their eyes peeled at the moment."

And she is urging anyone who spots anything to report it to the foundation.

"Photos or videos would really help confirm the ID and the calf."

This latest sighting chimes with the first reported by local man Dean Tapley.

He described back in June how a routine fishing trip off Torbay turned into an "awesome" experience after he spotted the whale.

Then Trevor Smart from Leicester says he saw it on 21 July when he was heading out from Torquay Harbour towards Brixham to catch mackerel.

Ken says he feels "really lucky" to have seen what he did.

"I suspect it will be a one-off in my lifetime but I'm going to go back there tomorrow and this time I'm taking my camera!"

So, have you seen any fishy off Torbay recently? Why not let us know by using the messageboard below.


My main concern is that with the whale traveling this far inland, it may be disorientated, and could wind up being stranded on some beach, of course we hope this does not occur.
Mike Parrish, Caddo Mills, USA

Sperm whales have a single slit-like blowhole situated on the left side. Their blows are forward and leftward directed. At 0.08 into the video, it looked to me that the whale was blowing leftward. Sebastian, Vancouver, Canada

This video looked like two animals. A sperm whale and possibly a calf but more likely a different creature nearby. It could have been a Green sea turtle,loggerhead sea turtle,a seal-possibly even an out of place Medaterranean Monk seal or as happens in the United States a normally tropical/warm temperate mammal a manatee traveled far north of its normal range during the summer. The odd Florida manatees have travelled to New York-In this case if it is a manatee it would be the West African Manatee going beyond the normal range and into British waters. Dustin Munro, Ottawa, Canada

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