Where have all the whales gone?

by Jessica Miller

July 19, 2006

The following posting is from Adam, who is onboard in the Bering Sea…

Another unusual day on the Bering sea. Then again they’ve all been pretty unusual so far, so that makes it normal I suppose. We came to the stunning conclusion last night that there is no point searching for whales in the dark and fog, so we decided to turn off the engine and just drift for the few hours of darkness, thus not missing a big chunk of the search pattern and saving fuel (think global act local!). The morning started off the same, cloaked in thick fog, visibility down to 20 metres at times. We adjusted our pattern a little to account for the lost time and set off again optimistic the fog would clear for us. Eventually, it finally did at around 2pm.

It can only be described as eerie out here right now. The water is like undulating molten glass. Biggish rolling swells but not a ripple in sight, all the way to the horizon. Naturally the lookout watch has resumed and as I speak Todd and James are up the rig peering into the distance with binoculars. I wish them luck, not just for the

environmental data we search for, but also for their sanity. It can be difficult for busy motivated professional people to be faced with inactivity that they cant do anything about. The ship’s clean, engines are greased and happy, skipper’s having a nap, all the good movies have been watched, it’s so quiet there’s not even a single seabird as far as the eye can see. And there’s plenty of zig zags to go till we reach St Lawrence in a few days. Everyone’s looking forward to that as there will be lots to do and plenty to film and record.

3 minutes to my turn up the rig so I’ll finish this update later, after I spot the humpbacks!!!

Some time later…

Well I didn’t spot any humpbacks but I did see a few birds, and a plastic wrapper. It’s got me thinking that a hundred and something years ago there were something like 90% more whales in the Bering than there are now. Is it possible that a reason we aren’t seeing any here is because most of them are gone? There are less than 1% of Blue whales left now, which is a tragedy. One would think that the experience of loosing the whales would make people think twice about fishing out whole fish populations in the region, but sadly it doesn’t. That is the challenge environmental groups such as ours face- How to educate the people that they don’t have to accept huge companies destroying their ecosystem for a quick mega-buck, and to find a way to stop them, as quickly as possible.


ps the fog’s back

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.