Old Tom The Whaling Killer
Twofold Bay, near Eden, Australia, is the third deepest natural harbor in the southern hemisphere and a known gathering point for whales; it is an ideal spot for whaling. During the 1860s, the Davidson family had a long-running and established whaling station on its shores.
Each year, as winter moved in so did a pod of orcas. Initially, the Davidsons feared that they would interfere and take whales for themselves, but something else happened. The pod, led by a male who would become known as Old Tom, would drive baleen whales into Twofold Bay and trap them there. Next, Old Tom would swim to the whaling station and jump and slap the water with his tail to get the whalers’ attention.
The whalers would then go out in their boats to catch the trapped whales. Some say the orcas even protected the men by driving away sharks. When a whale had been caught and killed, its body would be left tethered in the water overnight. Old Tom and his pod would eat the lips and tongues of the whales, leaving the more valuable parts to the Davidsons. This arrangement became known as the Law of the Tongue.
The Davidsons and Old Tom’s pod maintained their working relationship for three generations of the family. Old Tom died in 1930, and his skeleton is on display at the Eden Killer Whale Museum. Soon after Old Tom’s death, his pod disappeared and was not seen again. No orcas have cooperated with whalers in such a way since.
You can read more about Old Tom right here! Pretty interesting stuff, if you ask me!
Funny how we can get along with so many different kinds of animals, yet can't seem to do the same with our fellow humans. Wonder why that is?
Coffee out on the patio this morning. They say rain, but I don't believe it.