I thought it would be nice to post this Youtube clip from Januari 2013. Humpback Whales are a very rare sight in the Netherlands. In one week it reached 30.000 views!
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What an experience! A solitary animal of at least 12 meters long (according to NIOZ) filmed on 12/01/2013 in the North Sea just west of Egmond aan Zee. Present since at least 20/12/2012 (confirmed with the help of photographic evidence). In the same area a mother and her calf are present since at least02/12/2012. Together with five friends I was attracted by reports on the internet. We saw somebody with a small boat returning to shore. They were surprised so have found a whale while at sea. De husband of the local bookshop was picking up his wife. And he decided, after our inquiry to join him, that only two of our group could board his boat. We followed the Humpback Whale for an hour or so (around 16:00), while the animal was foraging. Most of the time we stayed at a distance of 100 meters, but just before we decided to return to shore we closed in to about 30 meters. Because of the scar on this animal just behind its dorsal fin it was possible to identify it as the same animal that was seen at this same spot on 20/12/2012. Since 2003 Humpback Whales are reported more regularly on the Dutch shores, but only in very small annual numbers (1-5). It is reasonable to believe that these animals are from a population that migrates from the Cape Verde Islands in winter to the seas west of Norway in summer.
Pieter de Groot Boersma