Endangered Right Whales Off Florida

About two weeks ago I was motor-sailing down the coast of Florida to Miami from St. Augustine on a clear cool winter day with my brother John. There had been reports on the radio of sightings of whales in the area. The areas off the north east coast of Florida, and along the coast of Georgia, are critical habitat areas for the endangered right whale. Reports have been that there were only 400 of these large animals left in the seas. In the past, right whales were hunted almost to extinction. In recent years, the main threat has been from collisions with ships. The US Coast Guard was asking boats to report sightings to help ships in the area avoid them. All vessels are now expected to slow to less than 10 knots and stay at least 500 yards away from right whales.
We were thrilled while having our sail to suddenly spot not just one, but three different pods of whales as we made our way down the coast. We quickly reported the sightings to the Coast Guard over our VHF radio. Not only that, but just yesterday the top story at CNN was about the right whales and how whale watchers have spotted 30 new additions to the right whale families this year! Thanks to a telephoto lens, I was able to capture a few nice shots of these wonderful creatures. We actually saw three breaches (where the whales completely jumped out of the water). Unfortunately, all three times I didn’t have the camera up at my eye. But, I did get a splash!

You can also view where the photos were taken in Google Earth.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. A great place to check out locations of calling Northern Right Whales is on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s listenforwhales.org website. Though it’s not Google Earth, it is a cool blend of cutting edge technology that allows them to monitor for NRWs in real-time from anywhere!

  2. Great photos Frank – I’m sure you’ll have many more great experiences when you’re off on your 5 year adventure.

  3. I know that you and John had lots of fun. The pictures are great!

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