CLACTON KILLER WHALES
From 1971 to 1985, Reg Bloom operated the "North Sea World Training Dolphins School" at The Pier in Clacton on Sea in Essex, which consisted of an outdoor former swimming pool. Although used for storing dolphins, Bloom's Dolphins School was also a training establishment, with many animals spending time there during transit from one venue to another. Bloom was also involved in the capture, purchase and transportation of dolphins for other owners, including Sir Harmar Nicholls' aquagirls revue in Oxford Street. In 1969, he went off to the Florida Keys to catch dolphins with Jerry Mitchell, and five animals which managed to survive capture and transport ended up at Windsor Safari Park, then owned by the Billy Smart organisation. Later residents of Bloom's Clacton pool included three young killer whales, Nemo, Neptune, and another unnamed male, owned by the International Animal Exchange. They had been wild-caught from the same pod in October 1981 by Helgi Jonasson's animal-dealing company in Iceland, Fauna. Languishing in the seaside pool awaiting sale, their plight aroused the attention of Greenpeace which subsequently launched a campaign to 'Free The Clacton Three.' But within days - and only two months after they were fished out of the sea - the anonymous male died of traumatic shock following severe injury to its abdominal wall and kidneys, either caused by a transit accident, attempted suicide, or by the aggression of his brothers in the sloping 2.40m-3.20m deep former swimming pool. Neptune died 18 months afterwards of peritonitis, leaving Greenpeace with a campaign called "Free The Clacton One." There is speculation that two of the three whales were sold in bad health, unknown to the buyers, this is a possible reason for the tragic death of the unknown whale during transport.
Reg Bloom was a practitioner in the art of dolphin training, with almost a quarter of a century of experience to draw upon. Formerly director of Don Robinson's Flamingo Park in Yorkshire, Bloom was a consultant to the same amusement park-cum-zoo, re-christened Flamingo Land by its new proprietor in 1978. He was also joint-owner with his son, Peter Bloom, of Dolphin Services, an off-shoot of Bloom U.K. which supplied dolphins under contract to various establishments - including Flamingo Land where Peter Bloom was a dolphinarium manager and head trainer. Having worked at Clacton and Windsor, Hong Kong, and two dolphinaria in Spain, Peter Bloom has accumulated over eleven years of experience in the industry, and was even commissioned to set up from scratch a dolphinarium in Manila, from designing the pool and having dolphins caught in Taiwan, to staff and animal training.
Nemo, as with the dolphins did like a game of football, trainers & staff often had a kick about with him, it is not known who was the better footballer!
Before Nemo there was a killer whale called Suzie Wong (aka Hoi Wai) who arrived at Clacton in August 1978 for a short stay, she shared the pool with Squeak the dolphin and was trained by Reg Bloom and then she went off to Windsor Safari Park and then on to Hong Kong.
Susie was aqquired from Ingolfshofdi in Iceland October 1977.
She passed away 21st April 1997 after being captive for 19 years 6 months.
Her last weight was 4,400 Ibs (1,996 kgs) & length 17ft (5.2 metres)
CLICK ON IMAGES FOR A CLOSER LOOK
Nemo displaying his full size with trainer Peter Bloom
Suzie Wong always enjoyed a full house to show off her tricks to (1978)
Suzie Wong performing at Clacton Pier (1978)
SUZIE & PAULA
Suzie Wong the killer whale, Squeak the dolphin pulling Paula Wilcox around the pool during a show.
NEMO APRIL 1985
With Peter Bloom
Nemo training on Clacton Pier with Peter Bloom
The Clacton pool was drained so a comprehensive veterinary examination could be performed
Nemo being examined by Peter Bloom
OUT THE WATER
Nemo out of the water was part of his training
A young lad interacting with Nemo during a show
Peter Bloom training Nemo
NEMO & PETER
Nemo the killer whale poolside at Clacton
Nemo posing for a photo (December 1983)
NEMO & NEPTUNE
Nemo and Neptune playing
NEMO & NEPTUNE
Nemo and Neptune together in the Clacton pool
Neptune basking in the Clacton sun
SUZIE & MICHAEL
Michael Goss playing with Susie Wong on Clacton Pier in 1978
SUZIE & KATHERINE
Katherine Goss posing with Susie Wong the killer whale at Clacton Pier, this photo was used in the Clacton Gazette in 1978, which ran a story on Susie.
Nemo jumping out the water was one of his many tricks
NEMO & DAN
Dan Cartwight who transported the whales to Clacton from Iceland giving the whales a check over
SUZIE & HENRY
Trainer Henry Leung shakes hands with Suzie (1978)
SUZIE & HENRY
As well as a hand shake Suzie gives Henry a Kiss (1978)
NEMO & DAN
Dan training the whales at Clacton getting them ready for the shows ahead.
NEMO ON THE PIER
Nemo in the 80s, behind him you can see the Whirlwind rollercoaster on the other side of the pier
Nemo interacting at the pool side in Clacton
Suzie Wong jumping out the water for a packed crowd (1978)
Suzie posing for a close up shot (1978)
CLACTON KILLER WHALES VIDEOS
Footage of Suzie Wong the first Killer Whale on Clacton Pier with trainer Reg Bloom. This was a feature for About Anglia TV news report, this was filmed about a week after Bubbles the dolphin died after swallowing a child's toy windmill, this was one of the first shows Squeak put on after her playmates death.
Nemo & Neptune swimming in & out of their isolation area with Nemo out in the big pool to perform one of his shows.
Nemo the killer whale putting on a show with his trainer Peter Bloom, the lucky crowd was treated to a 20 minute show full of facts and fun.
Nemo displaying his grace and beauty with abit of football thrown in for good measure.
Tommy Boyd doing a TV report on Evelyn, a young girl who was doing sponsored walks to raise money for Greenpeace to help buy Nemo the Killer Whale. She was presented with a Nemos Freedom Share certificate & raise £19.75. Brilliant footage of her meeting Nemo on Clacton Pier & Tommy has a bit of a mishap caught on film at the end!
An in depth report on Nemo the Killer Whale at Clacton, including some history on captive whales, reported by Tony Soper.
MOVING NEMO FROM CLACTON TO WINDSOR
MOVING NEMO VIDEOS
Nemo is carefully lowered in to the transport tank and then covered in lanolin, a yellow grease that protects Nemo's skin and prevents it from drying out.
A crane arrived on Clacton Pier to move Nemo into her transport tank for the trip to Windsor Safari Park. The picture above shows the harness in which Nemo will be carefully placed into and then gently lowered into the transport tank.
NEMO STRAPPED IN
The final preparations before the journey to Windsor Safari Park.
NEMO & WINNIE
Nemo with Winnie at Windsor Safari Park after his move from Clacton Pier.
NEMO AT WINDSOR
Nemo and Winnie together at Windsor.
Moving Nemo from Clacton Pier to Windsor - PART 1 (26th June 1985)
Moving Nemo from Clacton Pier to Windsor - PART 2 (26th June 1985)
Moving Nemo from Clacton Pier to Windsor - PART 3 (26th June 1985)
Nemo on Clacton Pier (TV-am, Breakfast TV)
Moving Nemo from Clacton Pier to Windsor - PART 4 (26th June 1985)
Nemo from Clacton performing at Windsor (ITV Splash Show - 1987)
Nemo on Clacton Pier (BBC Look East)
Nemo at Clacton Pier (News at Ten)
Estimated year of birth: 1980
Captured 10/1981 at Selvogsbanki, Iceland
Held at Sædyrasafnid, Iceland and then Clacton Pier, UK until 06/1985
Measurements at death: 15 feet (4.6 meters) 2,370 pounds (1,075 kilograms)
Died on 11/17/1986 at Windsor Safari Park
Captive time: 5 years 1 month
Cause of death: Cancer of the Bone Marrow
Nemo was removed from Clacton Pier on 22nd June 1984 after he outgrew his pool and moved to Windsor Safari Park, but not without mishap. Nemo the length and weight of an average family car posed some problems to his transporters. It took four attempts to get him into a specially designed stretcher to take him the deeper pool at Windsor Safari Park. Then the crane being used to lift Nemo into a specially designed foam crate crashed through part of the Clacton Pier causing a three hour delay.
Finally Nemo, smothered in lanoline, arrived at his new home. The excitement caused by his arrival in a holding pool cause a dolphin in the next pool to give birth prematurely to her baby. Windsor Safari Park officials were hoping that he would 'hit it off' with their female killer whale Winnie.
Nemo was at Clacton Pier for 3 years.