The Flying Scouts Volunteer to survey Bryde’s Whale in the Gulf of Thailand – December 2012
In the past, The Flying Scouts, Ed & Tom have dedicated their flying survey’s to the dwindling Dugong population in Southern Thailand.
This year, Dr Kanjana, the original Dugong Marine Biologist (aka The Dugong Mother) invited The Flying Scouts to help survey a group of Bryde’s Whales which migrate to the upper Gulf of Thailand every year.
Despite the busy nature of the upper Gulf, these magnificent creatures, measuring anywhere from 10-20 meters in length have found a way to cohabit with the kaleidoscope of other Gulf dwellers, especially us humans. The Gulf of Thailand is a major source of farmed fish and crustations, there being literally thousands of fish and crab farms dotted from the upper West to the upper East Gulf of Thailand.
The base for the survey was Best Ocean Airpark, who graciously hosted HS-EAL free in support of the project. K. Julasak, from Wings Over Asia, manages Best Ocean Airpark is a keen GA enthusiast and an experienced pilot in his own right.
Accompanying Flying Ed was wildlife specialist and Bangkok Post photographer K. Simrith. The mission was to photograph the whales feeding, and also survey the coastline of the upper Gulf, especially the river mouths.
“The conditions were very hazy, especially early morning, making it very difficult to spot anything at a distance. The sea conditions were also rough due to the prevailing onshore winds, so for the first three days, we did not spot a single whale. K. Neung, one of the resident Biologists from the Samut Sakhon Marine Biology Centre organised teams of spotter boats to go out and coordinate with us via SMS.
Finally on day four which happened to be Christmas Day, we got our Christmas present, thanks to a very experienced boat captain, renowned for sniffing out the whales at a great distance. We coordinated with the boats and to our delight, we found a group of around 6 whales feeding very close to Best Ocean, right under our noses!.
The size of these animals is enormous. They were dwarfing the boats around them. Gentle giants of the sea. It was an absolute privilege to have been part of this mission.”