A WHALE IN THE THAMES; Pete the Pilot Makes History with Epic Swim Past Parliament

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Byline: MARK PRIGG;PAUL SIMS

Whale of a time: Pete the 18-foot pilot whale swimming up the Thames past Parliament today. He is thought to have been chasing a school of sprats and was spotted after he blew a 20-foot spout of water into the air A WHALE swam up the Thames past the Houses of Parliament today.

Its appearance sparked huge excitement with office workers lining the river on each side to try to catch a glimpse.

The 18ft pilot whale is thought to have chased a school of sprats up past Westminster Bridge and the Eye and went up as far as Lambeth Bridge.

Whales have been seen in the estuary but it is thought to be the first such sighting so far up river.

Pilot whales can weigh three tons and are more at home in the Atlantic Ocean where they gather in pods of up to 20.

The whale causing a stir today was spotted after it blew a spout of water 20ft into the air.

It was called Pete the Pilot after the Celebrity Big Brother star Pete Burns, a transvestite, because officials were unsure of its sex. Pete was said to appear healthy and not distressed and was feeding normally. Tom Howard-Vyne, head of communications at the Eye, said: "I saw it blow, it was a spout of water which sparkled in the air. …