The Captain’s Blog: In search of Minke Whales… by Captain Trevor Jackson
For as long as you live, there are plenty of things we don’t understand about the universe. Physicists try to make a fist of it, but the bottom line is, no one really knows how it all works. The same is true of nature. Despite centuries of study, there is so much we simply don’t understand.
How do geese find their way home after winter? How does the next generation of monarch butterflies find the exact same tree to hibernate in winter? How do turtles find the same beach year after year? But the baffling question that pops up aboard Spoilsport this time every year is… How is it that these dwarf minke whales know exactly when and where to show up at the same spot and the same time to give us such a fantastic insight into their lives?
Yep, it’s that time of year again. For 6 weeks starting as we go to press this month, the magnificent dwarf minkes will show up and give divers an experience that is unrivalled in the world. The minkes make the DIVER, the creature that is being observed. Here’s how it works.
You come back from a dive on one of the fantastic Ribbon Reef pinnacles. From the stern of the vessel a line is run out on the surface for divers to hold on to. You lay there in the water in your snorkelling gear and wait for a bit. In they come, tentative at first, within a few passes the distance they keep between themselves and you seems markedly reduced. They disappear again for a few moments and you think ‘wow that was cool, hope they come back’.
You lay there for a second before being suddenly cast into shadow by another diver, you turn to see who it is and hey presto, there’s an 8 metre dwarf minke whale that has come right in to check YOU out. Literally an arm’s length away. The gentle giant spies you with his thoughtful dark eyes, pivots almost imperceptivity from side to side, swims away, then comes back even closer. You could reach out and touch him, but you don’t, not wanting to upset the pure tranquility of this extraordinary experience.
Every year like clockwork during June and July, the Ribbon Reefs are blessed with these mighty creatures, and you could easily be blessed with several encounters like the one I’ve just described. Spoilsport is one of very few licensed offshore liveaboards in Australia that run specific minke Interaction trips. Our itinerary is changed especially to give you the longest and closest interactions; and you could be doing it this winter!
You won’t forget it for as long as you live.
Captain Trevor Jackson
Find out about the Mike Ball’s Minke Whale Dive Expeditions here!
Midlands Diving Chamber donates £20k to Bite-Back
Hyperbaric and dive medical experts, Midlands Diving Chamber (MDC), has underpinned its long-term support of Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation with a one-off donation of £20,000, as the Rugby-based diving doctors wind down the charitable side of its operation.
The donation represents the single biggest financial contribution made to Bite-Back, delivering a huge boost to its campaigns to end the UK trade in shark products.
Spokesperson for Midlands Diving Chamber, Sally Cartwright, said: “For years we’ve admired and supported the ground-breaking work that Bite-Back is doing to save, protect and celebrate sharks. It’s a genuine pleasure to help ensure it stays at the forefront of shark conservation in the UK.”
Midland Diving Chamber first supported the charity at the inaugural Bite-Back at Cancer event in 2007 and then annually for the next six years. It even hosted its own James Bond-themed party on the Thames to fundraise for the marine NGO.
Campaign director for Bite-Back, Graham Buckingham, said: “We can’t thank MDC enough for its continued support and now for this massive contribution to our pioneering shark conservation campaigns. It makes us very proud that the country’s premier diving medical experts have chosen to back our campaigns that extend from parliament to primary schools. This financial windfall will allow us to continue to lead the shark conservation agenda in the UK and deliver measurable shark conservation breakthroughs to keep the oceans healthy.”
Bite-Back’s No Fin To Declare campaign to end the UK’s import and export of shark fins is now just months away from achieving Royal Ascent into law and, earlier this month it launched a free 56-page teaching resource for Key Stage 2 & 3 students on the importance of sharks and the threats they face.
Midlands Diving Chamber is based at St. Cross Hospital in Rugby and operates a hyperbaric decompression chamber offering NHS funded recompression to divers with Decompression Illness (DCI) together with other Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments. Any diver with medical concerns should contact MDC on either 01788 579 555 or 07931 472 602.
Find out more about Bite-Back at http://www.bite-back.com/
Marine Life & Conservation
Watch The Real Watergate from Live Ocean Foundation (Trailer)
Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke established Live Ocean Foundation out of their deep concern for health of the ocean and the life in it. Through their sport they champion action for the ocean, taking this message to the world.
Many of the issues the ocean faces are out of sight, but the science is clear, the ocean is in crises from multiple stressors; climate change, pollution and over-fishing. We’re not moving fast enough, not even close.
Live Ocean Foundation supports exceptional marine scientists, innovators and communicators who play a vital role in the fight for a healthy future.
Thanks to generous core donors who cover their operating costs, 100% of public donations go directly towards the marine conservation projects they support.
Find out more at https://liveocean.com/foundation/
WATCH THE REAL WATERGATE AT https://www.realwatergate.com/
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