Monday, April 24, 2006

Sightings of cetaceans

In june 2004 within 2 weeks 2 giant sea-mammals, a humpback whale (nl: bultrug) and a sperm whale, stranded on the isle of Vlieland. I find a dead whale on the beach an impressive but also very sad sight. Fortunately such a stranding giant is rather seldom. However: strandings of cetaceans are more regular then I thought. Only in 2006 already 143 cetaceans were found dead on the Dutch coastline, most 3 or 4 ft. porpoises (nl: bruinvissen) and some delphins.

Lately the number of ceteceans in the Dutch part of the Northsea seems to be increasing. And though they are very fascinating animals (it's always nice to see them) it's not clear if we should only be happy about this. Climate change, alteration of sea currents and temperature and sea level rising and can have a dramatic impact on live in the coastal zone of the north sea (... this sounds like work, better stop preaching now... ;-) .
At last meeting of the NKB sea kayak coaches Leo van der Vaart made a call to report sightings of ceteceans to Kees Stamhuyzen of the Dutch Seabird Group (NZG). Kees has established the NZG-Marine Mammal database to document and record live-sightings of Marine Mammals in and around the Netherlands to be availaible for consultation by anyone interested in studies of marine mammals. Data of strandings are not logged, do contact Naturalis in Leiden for any records. For live-strandings of marine mammals, get in touch with Dolfinarium Harderwijk.

The picture above this post makes me shiver. The dead Humpback whale stranded in 2004 on the Army base of Vlieland. Off course I understand it's necessary to remove the dead corps, and you have to use big gear to do so. OK, it's rational, it's good. But somehow the feeling is bad, it doesn't fit, an image of a tank dragging the whale. Respect, dignity? Finally the whale got a good last restplace: it's skeleton is exposed in Ecomare, the center for Wadden and North Sea on Texel.

When you came up to here, reading this post about dead whales: you must have a look at the pictures of Douglas Wilcox of the Solway stranded fin whale. It's also a sad sight, but these pictures of a seakayaker carefully approaching the dead whale, show respect for the dead corps, dignity.
And as you have found Scottish Sea Kayaking Photo Gallery, have a look at the other trip reports. Scotland is sea kayakers dream! Douglas makes very good pictures. I was surprised to read he uses the same digital camera as I do: the Sony DSC-U60. I totaly agree with Douglas' enthousiast opinion about the pros of this camera for making seakayaking pictures.

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