Damn it, I didn't bring my big camera. The camera in my phone does not do this justice...
There is something genuinely awesome - in the original sense of the word - about being out on the water in a boat that is smaller than the creature swimming next to you. The humpback whale swam around us for about 40 minutes before moving on. Somewhere between 10 and 20 seals hung around nearby hoping for some left-overs, as did a small flock of seagulls. We tried to keep our distance (unlike a couple of boats) but the whale was quite happy to swim around us.
It wasn't so much the Japanese as Western tastes, mainly for lamp oil and perfume, but to a lesser extent for things like corsets, umbrellas and pet food, that had the biggest effect on the whale population. Nowadays, it's not helped by the tendency for whale-watching cruise ships to occasionally run into and even impale whales on their bows. Nor is it helped by the large amount of noise our ships and boats create in the oceans, let alone the discarded detritus, leaking oil, unkind use of fish nets, and over-fishing that is destroying their habitat and food sources. While most countries eschew actually eating whales (not that most Westerners ever did - carcasses were often discarded once the more valuable bits had been harvested, which makes it it even worse), most are still actively contributing to their demise. Sad. Time for us to reduce our consumption!
Jon Dron April 26, 2016 - 6:21pm
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