16.02.2019 – Winds of change
After some days of strong Southeastern winds, the weather finally settled around the waters of Calheta today just in time for World Whale Day! The holiday was actually invented by the people in Maui, Hawaii to honor the Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) swimming past their shores at this time of the year. The holiday was then expanded to honor all cetaceans and inspire people to learn more about them and protect them.
As top predators of our oceans, cetaceans help keep the trophic networks of our oceans healthy and even help battle climate change. Although efforts to help protect these gentle creatures are gaining leverage on a global scale, several species are still being exploited at an alarming rate by mankind. In Taiji the bloody hunt and massacre of hundreds of dolphins is still an annual event, with several activists, particularly those from the Ric’O Barry’s dolphin project, diligently trying to stop the bloodbath. Japan’s hunt on baleen whales as well as the annual killing of hundreds of Pilot whales on the Faroe Islands continue to spark outrage amongst the general public. Apart from the fact that profoundly intelligent creatures are being slaughtered senselessly, highly toxic heavy metals also accumulate in cetacean tissue, making the meat harmful for human consumption. Thankfully, humanity has grown aware of the importance of these magnificent creatures and such killings rarely go unexposed and only a few remain uncondemned.
It is sad to think that the two species we witnessed during our tour today, the Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), are still being hunted in some parts of the world but it gives us courage to see them thriving in their natural habitat and see our guests watch them with such awe and admiration. Things can always change for the better and we can only hope that more and more people will fight for the protection of cetaceans and our oceans.
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Short-finned pilot whales