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My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

A Magical Seabed Safari

 

Journalist Hans Peter Roth shares his final blog from his recent trip to the Faroe Islands.

12 hours before I did not even dream of it. Now I am in a beautiful little cove in Hoyvík near the capital Tórshavn. On top the sun comes out of the clouds. The night before I’d met David, a local with a Divemaster license, at a private party. He has invited me to a dive here. Off we go!

The equipment is heavy but needed here in this 9°C cold water. We are swallowed by the cove water. The day before I have received the book “The Faroe Islands – a magical Seabed Safari,” by the Faroese author, diver, and photographer Ingi Sørensen. It is a breathtaking illustrated book about the underwater world of the North Atlantic Archipelago on 62 degrees North. And now, all of a sudden, I am in the middle of all of this, surrounded by these pictures of a mystical, magical underwater world in 3D, where rippled sandy spots contrast with forests of billowing tang. Everything shines in surprisingly intense colors. A flounder escapes after having been discovered in the sand despite of his camouflage. The tang shelters scores of young fish and a spider crab climbs up a stem, while a small swarm of cod slowly passes by in the open water. It is a magical, quiet seabed safari, just as described and illustrated in Ingi’s book. An unforgettable unexpected gift under David’s considerate, experienced guidance, in a place like from a fairy tale both above and under water.

The Faroes – an insiders’ tip for scuba divers? Undoubtedly, with its clear water, good visibility, rich fish grounds and spectacular underwater landscapes. What more to be expected! It needn’t be the Maldives. An insiders’ tip indeed, and not yet discovered by the diving community. Up to now there is not much infrastructure. And certainly the Faroes will never become a mecca for divers. But people who are looking for something kind of exotic, new, beautiful and extraordinary on their doorstep (in Europe) and yet are not afraid of cold water and the changing Nordic weather conditions, will like it here.

A sustainable small scale diving tourism with strict eco standards may certainly not be the least desirable thing. It could be beneficial to the economy of this small nation. At the same time friends of scuba diving will hardly ever be friends of whale driving. From our perspective they may be the “right” tourists. They would rather observe living whales. Whale watching is just another opportunity, by the way. One day it may be even possible to peacefully encounter live pilot whales above or under water. I pull myself out of the water. The diving equipment weighs heavily. But I feel light and free.  

 

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.