The Killer Whales of Clacton Pier
 
 
The Nemo Show on Clacton Pier 1983 - Part 1
 
 
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
 
 
 
The Nemo Show on Clacton Pier 1983 - Part 2
 
 
Nemo displaying his grace and beauty with abit of football thrown in for good measure
 
 

Nemo the Killer Whale performing on Clacton Pier


 

Neptune basking in the Clacton sun
 

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)

 
 

Nemo playing with a rubber ring during a show at Clacton
 
 
Nemo interacting at the pool side in Clacton
 
 
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.
 
 
Michael Goss playing with Susie Wong on Clacton Pier in 1978
 
 
Trainer Henry Leung shakes hands with Suzie (1978)
 
In 1978 chinese trainer Henry Leung arrived with Suzie Wong at Clacton Pier for a 3 month training
period with Reg Bloom who agreed to train Suzie before she went off to Ocean Park in
Hong Kong. Reg was excited about his time with Suzie as it had been a long while since he had trained
a killer whale, in fact it was 1966 at Flamingo Park Zoo, Yorkshire. Despite Suzie being 10ft long and weighing 1,000Ib she was as gentle as a baby and soon found her way in to Bubble & Squeak's pen, they made friends instantly and that was the start of a great team.
Suzie ate 40lbs of Mackerel a day and trained throughout the day with 20 minute long shows put on for the packed audiences. Reg's son Peter also trained Suzie, so she had alot of attention and lapped it up, she was very sweet and affectionate.
 
 
As well as a hand shake Suzie gives Henry a Kiss (1978)
 
 
 
 

Copyright Martin Allen 2009 - 2014
Website Design by Martin Allen

Photographs on this website cannot be used without permission from the owners