Medicine and life
Having a whale of a time
Today I took my family whale watching as we are fortunate to have 12,000 whales pass by our city every winter. When I was a child, we had a whaling station in our bay to hunt whales but this stopped in the early 1960's and now the whales have come back from near extinction.
Although it is mid winter, we left on a cloudless day, 22 degrees Celsuis max, with a big stable high over the continent which meant that Moreton Bay had hardly a wave and wind mild. As a sailor I am used to the bay and her moods and tantrums but this day was perfect.
We left the bayside suburb of Redcliffe on a high speed cataramaran which did 22 knots, and soon we had crossed the bay which is about as wide there as the English Channel at Dover. On the other side was Moreton Island which is the highest sand hills in the world (one thousand feet) and is the third largest sand island in Australia and is a national park.
Along the top end of Moreton, in the Coral Sea, we came across the hump back whales. There are only two whale watching boats allowed to go there and as result the whales come right up, waving their pectoral fins and even scrape barnacles of their backs on the bottom of the hull. Thye put on a show. One came up so close to me at the stern, than I was no more than ten feet away. It poked up out of the water stanging vertical, then looked at us, and slowly rolled onto its side and swam away. They travel in pods and often swam under the boat. It was exciting to see their large shadows in the clear water gliding under us. We saw about a dozen in all, heading to the Hervey Bay and the Great Barrier Reef to have their calves to then return to Antartica for the summer.
I have only seen whales so close once before when sailing and that was just a large black fluke, probably of a pilot whale. As a child at Byron Bay, in Northern NSW, I saw them being cut up by men who stood inside them with their flensing tools and hooks. It was a sorry sight. We were babies then and now know better.
To see a whale eye-ball you is an experience to treasure. We are all of the same magic of this natural world. We are not separate from it but of it. We must nurture these magestic creatures and ensure they survive. As for Japanese "scientific whaling", words fail me. In the early days of Australian colonisation which started in 1788, 40,000 whales we killed until 1840. When Jonah ran away from God, he was found by a whale.
We must save the whale or lose ourselves.
I look forward to seeing some orchas off Vancouver Island soon. I am interested in hearing from any whale lovers on doc2doc.