The Latest News from the Song of the Whale

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...additional thoughts by written by Per-Ake Lindstrom

Saturday 23rd April – Friday 27th April 2007
We are now bobbing gently in the Mediterranean and approaching the Baleares. Its dramatic and mountainous skyline can be seen on the horizon. This is where we are going to make a third stop at.

We also paid a visit to Benalmadena, southwest of Malaga, to fill up our stores, set ashore Paul and Richard and pick up Evelyn, one of two field assistants who are joining the research team this summer. The winds have continued to be less favourable, which means that we have been motoring most of the time.

Sunday 29th April 2007

We have observed several schools of common dolphins, some of them playing around the Song of the Whale, and yesterday we heard sperm whales on the hydrophones outside the Cabo de Palos. Two of them surfaced and we could slowly approach them to a distance of approximately 50 meters, where we got some excellent photos. Finally they dived, presenting their flukes in the classical manner. We estimated their lengths to be something like 12 meters. Two green turtles were also observed during the day swimming in the surface.

Birdlife of the Mediterranean is poor compared to the Atlantic. While we were outside the Finisterre we observed plenty of gannets, fulmars, razor bills, guillemots, sandwich terns, some great skuas and of course lots of different gulls. Here the sky is empty, with the exception of some cory’s shearwaters that show up now and then as well as a sole black tern.

Thoughts from a Song of the Whale volunteer
Written by Per-Ake Lindstrom

As a volunteer, you are a member of the crew. You are on watch on different times every day and night, assisting an officer. That means you need to look out for ships and whatever your boat has to make way for. Sometimes interesting and thrilling situations occur. You may also enjoy exciting observations like Goran has mentioned in his diary.

I have learned much about the life under and above the water. In addition to that I learned names of and how to find stars which I didn’t know before. Being a member of the crew also means that everyday you have to do an activity like vacuuming, cleaning, washing up and cooking. You will also learn about vegetarian cooking and many great appetites will give you praise. Meeting kind and able persons with different skills has been a great pleasure to me on this journey.

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