Strikes between whales and vessels are not uncommon however I was shocked recently to hear of the death of a young woman who had been killed after returning from a snorkelling trip off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It is reported that a whale surfaced in front of the tour boat when it was close to shore and, by natural instinct, the boat captain made a 'sudden manoeuvre' to try to avoid the whale, which was directly in front of the vessel. This unfortuantely resulted in the whale hitting the side of the boat instead and the female tourist fell overboard into the water and not recovered. Later it was confirmed a humpback whale was the species involved in this incident. Usually whales are aware of the presence of vessels, especially if their engines are running, therefore it is unusual for them to surface in the direct path of a boat.
Cabo is rated as one of the top 5 tourist destinations in Mexico; reknowned for the beautiful beaches and fantastic scuba diving locations. Located at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez, this region is abundant with marine life and a beautiful destination to see whales in their natural environment.
My thoughts are with this young woman's family and for their loss through this tragic accident.
13 March 2015
New Year Thoughts: I would thank everyone for their continued support of campaigns this year; as one year ends and another begins we take time to reflect on what has happened in 2014. Our colleagues in the Bahamas in particular have campaigned tirelessly with great achievements there. It was also a pleasure to see friends and colleagues in London, including Ric & Helene O’Barry and their daughter, as we took part in what was the largest ever protest in London against the atrocities which continue in Taiji, Japan. Recently we sadly had to report on the death of the eighteen year old orca Rhapsody and her almost full-term calf - a great blow to the Southern Resident Killer Whales in British Columbia. However, there is fantastic news just received as the year ends as the pod now have a new calf. Born to J16 (known as Slick) the sex of the calf is, as yet, unknown however for now is known as J50. Both mother and calf were spotted in the Gulf Island near South Pender Island in Swanson Channel.
Some years ago I visited Vancouver Island and this orca population were the first wild orcas I had the pleasure of seeing. I have since been fortunate to see orcas in the wild in Iceland – however no matter where I see this species around the world, they never fail to impress by their size, grace and obvious intelligence and it is my hope for 2015 that those who languish in captivity around the world may someday be given the respect they deserve and returned to their natural habitat. Long may the ‘Blackfish effect’ continue!.