The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Battersea Bottlenose

Just got back from watching the Thames Whale around Battersea Bridge. I thought it had headed back out to sea after it had been spotted at Greenwich last night, but when I read on BBC News this morning that it was swimming around Chelsea Bridge I figured this could be my first chance to see a whale, and almost certainly my only chance to see a whale in the Thames outside my house! You can see the floating crane platform in the background from the last Battersea Bridge story, when it got hit by a gravel barge.
The whale was swimming slowly upstream up from Albert Bridge, under Battersea Bridge and down towards Chelsea marina where rescuers managed to persuade it to turn around and finally start heading downstream. The relief amongst the crowd lining the banks of the Thames was palpable, but short-lived.
The whale breached just below Battersea Bridge. When I got down on to the shore line, I got a far better feeling for the scale of the whale.
Rescuers quickly moved in to help the whale, and from what I was told by a Times journalist also on the bank with me, they also took the opportunity to examine and take samples from the whale to assess its health.
Shortly after the rescuers had managed to secure inflatables around the whale, we were asked by Police to moved up from the banks as the tide had turned. When I got back up on to Battersea Bridge Road I was amazed by how the crowd had swelled: the road was closed, camera crews had moved in, children had climbed trees to get a better view and police were trying to keep order.

I've pretty much recharged my camera battery now so am going to head out again when Ben makes it down to Battersea.


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