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Friday, January 20, 2006

Jon Silk, Whale Watch editor, on the BBC

All at sea?

A TV expert just said Gonzo might be back out to sea already! Yay!

We're back

OK - so we got to Greenwich and not much was going on at all. A few members of the press were there, but nobody had seen it for some time.

So, we turned around and headed back to our temporary LEWIS Whale Watch HQ in Battersea.

According to the BBC it could be 'very distressed'. Actually, I'm not surprised, following the amount of excitement Gonzo has created. The last official sighting was at 6.20pm at Albert Bridge.

BBC Interactive is showing the LEWIS PR report - recorded in our office - on loop.


Gonzo's apparently in Greenwich. This is fantastic news - it means he's miles closer to his goal of getting back out to sea. The tide's in his favour.

We've said it before and we'll say it again... GO GONZO GO!

Web searchers

Gonzo was last seen at 6.15pm just off Chelsea Bridge. Has anyone heard or read any other information regarding his whereabouts?

View from Chelsea Bridge

We're with the bikers on the south side of Chelsea Bridge. Either the wheelies and burnouts have scared Gonzo away, or he's slipped away from the authorities. Helicopters are circling.

Poem for Gonzo II - keep up the good work!

We now have 80 people who are supporting the SAVE GONZO campaign by commenting on our blog.

Keep the comments coming and we'll make sure the folks down at the river hear all about it. Just comment on this post and let us know what you think.

But for now, another poem for Gonzo from one of our readers:

Oh Gonzo we feel like we know you,
Swim swim as best you can

You know what you have to do
all of London is your fan

Gonzo is in trouble -
we must not let him die

If only we could put him in a bubble
Why Gonzo? Oh why?

'We must save Gozno' we say,
don't let them fill him with lead

At the end of the day
Gonzo is dead.

Stay in touch

To contact us while we are out in the field, you can email us.

Testing the equipment

This is a test message to see if our mobile devices are working.

LEWIS Whale Watch goes mobile

The LEWIS Whale Watch team is heading down to Battersea to find Gonzo.

Stay tuned for more posts - we will be blogging from the scene.

Eyewitness photo - media helicopter over Battersea Park

Eyewitness photo - Supporters line the bank

Gonzo in 'distressed condition'

Rescuers on BBC News 24 say Gonzo is in a 'distressed condition' and they 'don't hold out much hope'.

However, the rescue operation will continue...

Breaking eyewitness news

A recent eyewitness has been down to the site of the whale - near Albert Bridge. She doesn't hold out much hope for Gonzo.

She says: "It wasn't a pretty sight. He wasn't really moving. I don't hold out much hope for Gonzo's survival - even though the crowds were cheering. Lots of families has brought their small children out to cheer him along."

Are YOU going down to visit Gonzo?

Mixed reports from LEWIS Whale Watch followers

Some comments from the thousands of people that have been visiting LEWIS Whale Watch and emailing the team:

"Our whales are doing strange things lately. Fin whales in the English Channel earlier this week as well as fin whales only a few metres off the coast of West Cork three weeks ago. Let us know if you would like more info." Wendy Slocum, Whale Watch West Cork

"Look, I'm a zoologist, and Gonzo is fine. They just gotta get those motor boats away, that's the first thing."

"Poor wee chap. Let him do his thing. Save Gonzo by not interfering with him. Let nature take its course."

"Surely with the news coverage and the public interest we as a nation can save this whale?"

"If they can get him back to the open sea, or back on track, without causing him any further distress, then please do it. But let's not be trigger happy, just because it's getting dark."

"I hate the pompous pratishness that becomes evident. The so-called specialists making fools of themselves. Without any proof they come out and say 'it must be ill', 'we need to anesthetise it', 'we must destroy it'. Sorry, but I am a scientist as well and there is no reason make such affirmations or presumptions without any supporting evidence."

Stay in touch, people. Let's SAVE GONZO.

Terrible news

There is talk on the news about 'destroying' Gonzo if this goes on any longer.


London - and the world - this is your chance.

Vote SAVE GONZO by adding your comment to this post. LEWIS will turn this into a petition a deliver right to where it will make the most difference.

Let's tell the authorities we want them to find another way!


Extreme close-up

Reuters has got hold of a fantastic close-up picture of Gonzo - check it out.

We think it must be from the people we've seen frantically rowing a small inflatable raft up and down the Thames.

Fighting the darkness

The view from Millbank Tower is waning as darkness falls over London. Rest assured we'll be venturing out shortly to try and track Gonzo from the river banks...

Gonzo's vital statistics

Name: Gonzo
Type: Northern Bottle-Nosed Whale
Length: 17 feet
Weight: 5 tonnes

Poem for Gonzo

An anonymous whalewatcher has sent us this heartfelt poem, dedicated to Gonzo.

Gonzo is lost in River
I hope he is okay, he gave us a shiver
When he lost his way

Lets hope he gets out soon
and swims his way home before tonights moon
Leaves Gonzo to roam.

Whale Watcher Mark Street captured

Latest location - Battersea Park

The tide has turned?

The whale is now level with Battersea park, having swum a mile the wrong way.

The tide has turned - this should help our intrepid pal make his way back the the Thames Estuary, and the sea.

Bad news - Gonzo's stopped moving

The whale has stopped moving close to Chelsea Embankment again.

We are watching from our offices and keep readers posted when he starts moving.

The BBC arrives at LEWIS

The BBC has arrived and are interviewing us about our tracking of Gonzo. Tune in!

Gonzo's moving east - this is a good sign!

Reports suggest Gonzo is moving east - this is GREAT NEWS! With any luck, he will be passing the LEWIS offices again soon.


LEWIS picture 15

LEWIS picture 14

Imminent rescue attempt?

Sky has reported that a rescue attempt may be on the cards due to the fact that once the tide comes in the currents will get too strong to the tired whale.

A whale worth his salt

According to reports, the Thames has an unusually high salt content for this time of year, leading to multiple sightings of porpoises and a density of sprats so far unheard of.

This is the first time a whale has ventured this far into the Thames.

In deep water?

According to the BBC, officials have begun to coordinate attempts to remove any harmful obstacles that may get in Gonzo's way, such as debris, discarded anchors or the ubiquitous abandoned shopping trolleys.

Gonzo's getting on a bit

Rumour has it that Gonzo's pretty old. He must be getting tired now and has a full 40 miles to swim before he gets back to the safety of open water.

Gonzo spot enhanced: whale locator added

LEWIS picture 13

LEWIS picture 12

Current Gonzo spot - Chelsea Embankment

LEWIS picture 11

He's back!

After a period of worrying silence, Gonzo has surfaced again near some moored ships near Chelsea Embankment.

Gonzo classified

Gonzo has been officially confirmed to be a Northern Bottle-Nosed Whale.

For more information on this amazing creature, click here.

Whale watcher Mark Street reports

Fresh from his report on Sky News, LEWIS Associate Director Mark Street tells us:

"It was very worrying to see that the whale almost beached. This is exactly what happened earlier, and what we feared might happen. The police appeared to be really nervous and backed off as soon as they realised this was a danger."

LEWIS picture 10

LEWIS picture 9

LEWIS picture 8

LEWIS picture 7

LEWIS picture 6

LEWIS picture 5

LEWIS picture 4

LEWIS picture 3

LEWIS picture 2

EXCLUSIVE: First picture from LEWIS

Another great pic, this time from The Times

The Times has got a great picture, complete with seagulls.

Back downstream

Gonzo has reached Albert Bridge, being carried downstream by the current. News reports suggest it is tiring and there are sightings of more blood in the water.

Hundreds of people have gathered.

Report from Liz Carrington

LEWIS photograper Liz Carrington reports from Battersea Bridge:

"The whale was stuck on the bank, in shallow water, in front of Battersea Power Station. Three men in yellow jackets waded into the water and tried to coax it back into the water by splashing it. When it returned to deeper water, everyone cheered."

Save the whale

Experts are calling for the whale to be removed from the water, as it will find it difficult to get back out past the Thames Barrier. Could this be possible?

Pictures to follow...

Intrepid LEWIS photographer Liz Carrington has just returned to the LEWIS offices in Millbank Tower covered in mud. She has been down at site of the whale's struggle with shallow water taking exclusive pictures.

Check back as they will be posted shortly.

Terrible news - blood in the water

LEWIS media watchers report some very obvious blood in the water.

Back in deep water

The whale has turned round and is back in deep water.

Go Gonzo go!

Battersea whale's home

The whale - which the staff at LEWIS PR have nicknamed 'Gonzo' - seems to be stuck in shallow water near to Battersea Bridge.

LEWIS whale watcher Mark Street live on Sky

LEWIS Associate Director Mark Street is contacted by Sky News for an exclusive live interview. Mark explains what we are seeing as the public becomes worried that the whale is moving too close to the shore.

First pictures filter through

The BBC gets a great picture from a passer by.

Sounds like...

The office wonders what the whale could sound like...

Perhaps a bit like this?

Origin of the species

Sky News has confirmed - via an expert from London's Natural History Museum - that the whale is a Pilot Whale.

It is the first time this species of whale has entered the Thames since records began.

Whale meet again

The whale seems to have accelerated upstream.

Followed by the police cruiser, it's gone upmarket and is now level with Cheyne Walk.

Whale takes to the Sky

The Skycopter is covering the whale for a live spot on the news - we can't see the helicopter itself.

Top tip-off to the UK media

The whale returns to the Tate Gallery pontoon - great news for LEWIS PR as our offices are directly opposite.

At this point, we tip off the BBC and send our in-house photographer down to take some shots.

To Battersea and back

The whale, still followed by the boats, appears to be confused. It almost gets as far as Battersea Power Station, only to run around and head back to Lambeth Bridge.

It then stops, and spends time by the bridge.

Police back off - whale almost beaches

The whale is being followed by three boats - two police and one that looks like an RNLI lifeguard boat. At one point, the boats had to back off suddenly, as there were fears that the whale could beach on the rough shingle by the edge of the river.

The first encounter

At 12.08 we spotted the whale as it drew close to the Tate Gallery jetty on Millbank. From our vantage point on the 22nd floor of Millbank Tower, we could clearly see the whale as it battled the Thames currents.

Naturally, the whole office ran to the river-facing windows of our building to get a better view.