VILLAGERS of Nasinu in Cakaudrove had an unusual visitor to their bay three weeks ago in the form of a stranded whale that has been making the bay its home.
Nasinu Village headman Ponipate Savunacagi said the whale was spotted by divers who were spearfishing near the reef in the bay.
Mr Savunacagi said the whale had become friendly and receptive of its young fans who gather in the bay on their bamboo rafts daily to check on their special guest.
"We have had a few small whales stranded in the bay for a short while in the past but this one is one of the biggest I have ever seen and it has been staying in the bay for quite some time now," he said.
"Our children normally go out in their rafts to take a peek at the whale every now and then and the whale often swims beside the bamboo rafts."
Nasinu villager and a participant of a recent course by the Fisheries Department, Lote Turaga, said the whale was a really large one.
"I have had a close up view of it and it is covered in barnacles it is as long as a fibreglass boat," he said.
"It has not caused any problems with our children and nearly all of them in the village have seen the whale.
"According to what I have learnt, the whale we have stranded here is a minke whale as it has a white lined underbelly."
According to Wikipedia, minke whales are the second smallest baleen whale next to the pygmy right whale which is smaller.
"Upon reaching sexual maturity (6-8 years of age), males measure an average of 6.9 meters (23 feet) and females 7.4 meters (24 feet) in length, respectively," it said.