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WATCH: Family’s encounter with two whales off Norfolk coast

PUBLISHED: 10:25 23 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 23 August 2020

A Sowerby's beaked whale seen off Brancaster in Norfolk days before one of the animals was found beached at Lowestoft  Picture: Sam Hyatt

A Sowerby's beaked whale seen off Brancaster in Norfolk days before one of the animals was found beached at Lowestoft Picture: Sam Hyatt

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A family enjoyed a spectacular encounter with two rare whales days before one of the creatures washed up dead on a beach.

A Sowerby's beaked whale seen off Brancaster in Norfolk days before one of the animals was found beached at Lowestoft  Picture: Sam HyattA Sowerby's beaked whale seen off Brancaster in Norfolk days before one of the animals was found beached at Lowestoft Picture: Sam Hyatt

A post mortem examination has been carried out on a Sowerby’s beaked whale which washed up on the beach at Lowestoft yesterday.

MORE - Rare Sowerby’s beaked whale washes up on beach

It happened days after two Sowerby’s beaked whales appeared from the depths while Zoe Hyatt and her family were fishing from a boat off Brancaster.

One leapt from the water as her son Sam grabbed a picture on his phone, along with a brief video of the animals breaking the surface.

Mrs Hyatt, a teacher from Holt, said she was out in a boat with her husband Jason, children and friends.

“We went out on Wednesday from Brancaster Staithe at about 7pm and headed towards the wreck to see if we could catch a few mackerel for supper,” she said.

“We headed to the west side of the Brancaster wreck trying to stay in the main channel where the water is at its deepest.

“We had only been there about five minutes when my husband noticed grey dorsal fins in the water about 30m away and we all looked over.

“We all thought it was a dolphin or porpoise. It then jumped out of the water, showing us its long beak but it didn’t arch over back into the water like a dolphin but jumped out of the water keeping its tail in the water and then crashed down on the surface of the water on its neck and long beak.

Experts examine the whale  after it washed up on Lowestoft's north beach. Picture: Matt GoddardExperts examine the whale after it washed up on Lowestoft's north beach. Picture: Matt Goddard

“We could also see the dorsal fin of a second animal swimming towards us but on the beach side of the jumping one. Once the first animal had finished jumping they both swam off in the direction of Brancaster Staithe.”

On returning home, the Hyatts looked up pictures of porpoises, dolphins and whales. The best match they could find was a Sowerby’s beaked whale.

Two days later, there was a second sighting - again of two whales off Blakeney.

On Saturday, a beaked whale was found dead at Lowestoft. A whale was earlier seen in difficulties off the beach at Caister.

Experts from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme have carried out a port-mortem examination on the creature.

Little is known about Sowerby’s. They are deep water whales which are rarely seen near the shore.

There have been a number of strandings in recent years in Norfolk.


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