Sunday, June 18, 2006

A whale of a time

Of course it caught my eye. There were just a couple of fishing boats out this morning - a lovely still day on the sea. But there, all of a sudden, was a very tall windsurfer. Most unusual. You don't often see a black sail. In fact I'd never seen a black sail - and so oddly shaped. Just as I focused on it, the thing teetered and fell into the water with an immense splash. Ye gods. It was no windsurfer. It was a massive Southern Right whale right there out the window - just beyond where the surf rolls over the reef. I grabbed the telescope and for the next half an hour watched this vast creature roll and breech and spout, pop her head out of the water and do spectacular dives with her tail high in the air. She came in yet closer - and we hopped in the car and drove to get an even better view among the people who had quickly arrived at word that a whale was putting on a show in the bay. It was, indeed, a mighty sight. I've seen whales before, but never so large or so close. And there was a certain glory in the fact that she was beside little Wright Island, which is named after a whaling captain, and close to The Whaler's Inn, named after the first industry of this piece of coast. For, once upon a time, this bay ran red with the blood of whales. Whale oil was the State's first export. Now, the whales are a winter tourist attraction and whales are very much protected and loved. Just as we feel shame for our past, we are happy with our present. But, not with Japan - and the name of that country was on the lips of many of the whalewatchers, I noted sadly. But, on this day there emerged good news - that Japan had lost votes on its loaded bid to kill whales for "research", a barbaric and outdated activity that has generated a huge campaign to get young Japanese people to eat more whale meat to use up the absurd stockpiles that are going to waste. They have so much amassed whale meat that they are using it for dog food! It is incomprehensible that the Japanese persist in this gratuitous kill, against the wishes of the rest of humankind. Shame, Japan, shame!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You tell 'em love! -- jubbers