Eye to eye with a dying whale

by Guest Blogger

December 22, 2005

First thing this morning around 7.30am we were in our inflatable boat the African Queen racing towards the whale hunting vessel, the Kyo Maru that had its harpooned manned. Just as we got to its bow the harpooned fired and the whale was struck just below her (she looked very feminine) left fin. Our mouths dropped as we watched the harpoon line zigzagging in the water with the whale writhing like a fish caught on a fishing line hook for a good five minutes, meaning that the neither the harpoon nor the explosive device had killed her.

Our eyes and hearts could not believe what we were seeing as the whale repeatedly lunged out of the water a few metres in front of our inflatable. She was trying to swim away and stay on the surface to breathe but the harpoon and vicious wound in her side was pulling her down. For a moment when she looked straight at us, I saw straight into and through her eyes and could see her mouth gaping open appearing to let out a sound. She looked at us with immense suffering and fear and I knew that she was asking; "Why is this happening? Please help me."

It took two gunshots to her head from a crewmember onboard the hunter ship before she succumbed. The moment was filmed on camera forever and in our minds for a very long time – and I truly hope that no one ever has to view it. The merciless, violent brutality of this whale hunting is beyond comprehension. For the rest of the day I have been fighting back tears and afraid to sleep as then the silence will bring back the visual reality of this morning’s horror.

Later on Mathijs and I swerved through the ice packs blocking the Kyo Marus harpoon fire for three hours. Finally the harpooner got his kill just 10 metres off our inflatables right side. It was one of three whales swimming together and by the look of it one of them was a baby. We had been protecting and praying so hard that these whales would swim under an iceberg or something. I managed to climb on top of the dead whales body when it finally surfaced and held its fin for a while before being blasted off by fire hoses. Then along came a small iceberg so I jumped on it and floated out of range of the fire hose jets coming from the Kyo Marus bow. I must admit the look of dismay I had on my face when I looked up at the whaling crew and they were looking down at Mathijs and I with smugness and laughter.


(photo ©Greenpeace/Davison)


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