Song of the Whale Digest
Song of the Whale. a global ambassador for IFAW's whale conservation campaigns, is a state of-the-art education and research vessel. Designed to provide a flexible working platform for whale research, public education and advocacy, the Song of the Whale team carries out studies of threatened and endangered marine mammals and their habitats, educates students, trains scientists and develops and disseminates non-invasive research techniques around the world.
This digest of recent Song of the Whale activity was written by Goran Danbolt
Wednesday 18th April – Friday 20th April 2007
Song of the Whale left La Rochelle, France on Wednesday afternoon bound for this summer’s field season in the eastern Mediterranean. While the SOTW team kept busy with the events in La Rochelle, several of us visited La Rochelle’s aquarium, which was of outstanding quality from an educational point of view as well as an aesthetical experience. It was easy to find our way around and get the information we wanted.
The route across the Bay of Biscay has unfortunately mostly been by engine with little sailing because of the light tailwinds, which means low speed and the sails in goose-wing configuration (one sail is held out on either side). The nights are very clear with magnificent stars and phosphoresence around the bow and in the wake. Common dolphins occasionally show up and play around the boat. At night their trajectories can be observed as streams of green fire in the water. Some sperm whales have also been observed in the distance as well as a school of bottlenose dolphins that just passed us by.
Tuesday 17th April, 2007
Three more members of the SOTW team joined us yesterday: Bridget, Olly and Richard, as well as Marjolaine who is helping out with the events. The day starts with visits from three groups of children who are attending a local holiday play scheme. They love the boat and one of them says that the best bit is seeing the onboard washing machine! A media interview with the TV station France 3 follows for Gunther Pauls, the Communications Officer for IFAW’s Brussels office, followed by a press conference, lots of visitors to the boat and finally a cocktail reception attended by La Rochelle’s deputy mayor and other invited guests. All in all it was very successful day – thanks IFAW France for all your hard work.
Sunday 15th April, 2007
We arrive at about 1600 at the beautiful Vieux Port of La Rochelle. The journey has been uneventful with sadly no sightings of dolphins or whales. Staff from the IFAW France office greet us as we tie up. After making sure that everything is in order with the boat we all head off for a very welcome cup of coffee.
Wednesday 11th April – Saturday 14th April, 2007
SOTW sets off early on 11th April from St Katherine’s Dock, London en route to the eastern Mediterranean for the start of this year’s field season. The weather is fair and the journey down the Thames to the open sea provides the team onboard with a unique perspective of many of London’s famous landmarks, such as the Millennium Dome and Greenwich. The first part of the journey will take us to La Rochelle in France, where we are stopping to do a day of outreach work with IFAW’s French office. Onboard we have Magnus, Claire, and guest sailors Goran, Pele and Paul who are helping with the passage.