Bryde’s Whales Return to the Phetchaburi Coast by George Mastronikolis
The Bryde’s whale has returned to the waters off Phetchaburi with tourists boarding boats on for the official opening of the whale-watching season, with about 10 of the huge animals obliging them on the first day.
Boonyod Maklai, mayor of Tambon Haad Chao Samran in Muang Phetchaburi, led the outing on Kor Kai Bay and off Laem Phak Bia Cave. Boonyod says the whales feed on plentiful plankton in Kor Kai Bay and also off the coasts of Samut Songkram, Samut Sakhon and Chachoengsao from October to December each year. His tambon administrative organisation has trained tour-boat skippers to keep at the proper distance for observing the whales, and tours must ensure that all passengers are wearing life-vests. He said normally Bryde’s whales will enter the Gulf of Thailand and come near the Phetchaburi coast during September to March. But this year more whales have come, he said and urged tourists to visit before they returned to deep sea. A Bryde’s whale is approximately 13.7 metres to 14.5 metres long and weighs about 17 tonnes. In 2012, it was estimated that only 20 remained in the Gulf of Thailand.