Monday July 20: We encounter a marine head-banger.
We are still sheltering in East Loch Roag. Last night, the captain put down a second anchor to hold the Neptun still and a trawler and a fisheries protection vessel joined us here overnight. These too were sheltering from the storm.
Engineer Len has announced that because the water pump is broken and its lashed-together replacement requires showers, he says (taking some delight in this) "just get in, have a quick hose down and get out!"
An aside about noise.
You may recall that almost our first sighting of whales as we entered the deeper waters of the Atlantic Frontier - a distant sperm whale - was accompanied by a sighting of a duo of seismic research vessels: the large red and white research ship and her smaller companion guard vessel. It is, therefore, appropriate to spend a few words considering this novel activity in the deep oceans, especially as it is certainly also one of the reasons why we are here.
Further to reports from contacts about the recent import of two belugas to an amusement park in Mexico, WDCS has received the following letter from a child in Mexico asking for help...
"Hi WDCS..my name is Alma Carrascosa. I'm a 15 year old girl, I'm an ecologist and a veggie.
Spain -- July 20, 1998
A young sperm whale has been found dead on the shores of Gijn. The whale was 6m long and weighed between 2,500 and 3,500kg. A museum in Luarca will take the whale after it has been examined by experts from the Regional Fisheries office in Cogersa.
The Co-ordinator for Research and Protection of Marine Species (Cepesma), Luis Leria, said the animal had died about 50 miles from Gijn, but that the cause of death was not yet known.
Whales, Dolphins And Seals Sold Out In Order To Secure New Marine Conservation Agreement?
Briefing by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society 20.7.98
OSPAR Convention For The Protection Of The Marine Environment Of The North-East Atlantic - Annex V On The Protection And Conservation Of The Ecosystems And Biological Diversity Of The Maritime Area.
Tourist boats of whale watchers now far outnumber fishermen's vessels that trawl the waters off the Lofoten and Vesteralen islands, where killer whales, sperm and minke whales are found.
The WDCS-funded Harbour Porpoise rescue team helped free two endangered North Atlantic right whales on Tuesday (14th July) from a fisherman's weir off Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick.
The mother and calf became enclosed in the herring weir, basically an underwater corral, early on Sunday. The fishermen had to cut down three stakes in the weir, which allowed the whales to find their way out.
Andrew Westgate, who led the rescue operation, said that the whales swam out calmly and with no ill effects.
This was an article produced by the WDCS Director of Campaigns, for a UK newspaper before the 1996 IWC. Whilst some of the issues have moved on since then, we hope that it adds to the ongoing debate about the killing of whales under title of 'aboriginal subsistence whaling'.
Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling - The Forgotten Whales?
Tuesday 14th July. 7.20 pm
We left the shelter of Castle Bay at 1pm, having decided to head out into the open ocean to assess the conditions there. The weather forecasts between now and Friday all speak about wind forces of four or five, borderline for our purposes, and these are probably set to worsen.
So, we decided to head for our start point and hope that conditions are better than predicted or, at least, that we can get part way along one of the survey lines before the weather shuts us down.