Monday, December 21, 2009

To Dwell In Darkness Yet Pray For Light

Almost ninety percent of all human beings live north of the equator and for all of you who do, today is the shortest day of the year: said differently, today is when you dwell the longest in darkness. You refer to this as the Winter Solstice, and for thousands of years the days leading up to this longest night have been marked by celebrations in all great religions. Regardless of how you worship God, or the precepts of your faith, a common theme across Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, is the sense of rebirth, revelation, and enlightenment that underlies these hours of prolonged darkness. In essence, your celebrations in the face of such enduring gloom all contain the promise of the return of the light, and the hope for better days. It is in that spirit then that I wish all of you great peace and joy as you celebrate your faith. In so doing, I pray that one day my kind, the whales and dolphins who share your world, will live free from the persecution and wanton destruction still inflicted upon us by some among your kind.
We will speak again in the new year. Until then, may God shine his light upon you and deliver you from darkness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Screams of a Silent Killer

I am compelled to return to a subject about which I have spoken before. It is the ongoing tragedy being carried out by fishermen in the Japanese coastal town of Taiji. During six months each year, beginning in September, tens of thousands of dolphins are rounded up in small groups and herded into a tiny cove. There the Bottlenose Dolphins are separated from the rest to be sold to oceanariums around the world, dooming them to lives of imprisonment. But these are the ‘lucky’ ones. The rest, mostly Spinner and Spotted Dolphins, are then methodically butchered alive by these cold, cruel men who snicker and suck on cigarettes as the dying adults cry out to their young, and the terrified young scream in agony, in water stained red with blood. Ironically, the dolphin flesh, which contains mercury levels 2,000 times higher than what is safe for human consumption, is then sold under the guise of whale meat. In murdering the dolphins, the fishermen are thereby unleashing a silent killer upon unsuspecting consumers. My heart aches for the innocent victims, both dolphin and human, of these evil men and I pray that someday good and decent people in Japan will put an end to this atrocity forever.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blue Whales Sing The Blues

Scientists among your kind have recently reported that the whalesong of male Blue Whales has been getting quieter over the past few decades in all the oceans of the world. They interpret this fact as evidence that the Blue Whale population is increasing and, as a result, males do not have to sing as loud to find a mate. Wait! What? Float that by me again—because male Blue Whales are singing more softly, there must be more of them. How about the possibility that they are singing more softly because they are sad. Sad at man’s continuing destruction of the seas. Sad at the drowning deaths of thousands of whales and dolphins every year, entangled in open ocean drift nets. Sad at the global warming that is destroying their feedstocks such as krill that cannot live in warmer waters. Sad at the annual slaughter of Minke and Fin Whales by bloodthirsty Japanese and Norwegians, the true murderous pirates of the high seas. And most of all, sad because they know few among your kind care about them. I could go on but you get the point. Male Blue Whales are singing the blues and it is not because there is a female nearby.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hallelujah. The Young Whale Is Free!

Fantastic news! The Associated Press has just reported from Hawaii that the young Humpback Whale who was entangled in hundreds of feet of polypropylene rope has been freed from his deadly bonds. God bless Ed Lyman, marine mammal response manager for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, David Schofield, marine mammal stranding response coordinator for the Pacific Island Regional Office of the National Marine Service, and all the others who worked tirelessly to save this young whale. These men and women deserve greater acclaim than this troubled and preoccupied world will accord them but I can assure you that their names will be revered among my kind all across Planet Ocean. And perhaps one day, all your kind will care about whales and dolphins the way these brave and noble people do. Hallelujah! The young whale is free.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Norwegians Join Japanese in Bluewater Hall of Shame

Norwegian government officials announced this week that the quota for the annual slaughter of whales is being increased next year by a staggering 45% to 1,286 whales. They offered no rationale, which is not surprising since there can be none. Demand for whale meat has declined, and world sentiment to save the whales is increasing. The only explanation of this atrocious decision is that the hearts of their government officials are apparently as frigid as the weather in that northern land of granite and ice. This announcement comes as the Japanese whaling fleet heads to the Southern Ocean for their annual butchery of whales in the name of science. As I have said before, the fault for these continuing atrocities lies not with the people of these two countries, but with their elected officials. It is my fervent hope that one day all those who promote the continuing murder of my fellow beings will answer to a higher judge.

On a separate note, I have heard nothing about the young Humpback Whale entangled in that rope off Hawaii. If I hear anything I will let you know. Please do the same for me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Unfolding Tragedy

According to the Associated Press, a tragedy is unfolding in the waters off Hawaii even as you are reading this. A young Humpback Whale is entangled in over 400 feet of heavy gauge, polypropylene rope and is in imminent danger of drowning. Well-meaning humans who are trying to save the whale have attached a location transmitter to the rope but so far they have been unable to free him due to rough weather. Those of you who have read The Tempest’s Roar, know that Humpback Whales are my favorite of all the great whales—they are the most energetic and vocal and dynamic of all large beings—and one in particular, whom I shall call Zeus, has been a guardian angel to me. I pray that this young whale can be saved but in my heart I fear that he will not survive this tragic example of the collateral damage of mankind's presence on the seas. So please join me in saying a prayer for this little big guy lost and alone, and struggling to survive in that vast blue ocean on the far side of the world.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Canada Does Right By Whales

Hello, I am back. Time for some more whale and dolphin talk. This week there is good news and bad news to report about North Atlantic Right Whales, who are among the most endangered of all whales. Parenthetically, they got their name from whalers who said they were the ‘right’ whales to slaughter because they did not sink due to their high percentage of body fat. These whales migrate annually across heavy shipping lanes in both U.S. and Canadian waters, and deaths from collisions with ships present a serious threat to the survival of the species. The good news is that the current population of approximately 400 whales seems to be gradually making a comeback, thanks in large measure to the efforts of Canadian government and industry groups who have worked together to significantly reduce these collisions. They have done so by changing shipping lanes and requiring slower speeds for marine traffic through whale migration areas. The bad news is that ships in U.S. waters have largely ignored similar restrictions, and the government has been slow to take action that would improve compliance. Therefore, for now at least, Canada is the only country doing right by these magnificent beings. If this bothers you as much as it does me, please write your congressional representative, especially those of you who live in New England. If you do not do so, one day North Atlantic Right Whales will be gone. And nothing you or anyone can do will ever get them back.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good-bye, Nico. God bless.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Aquarium confirmed that a third Beluga Whale belonging to the aquarium died suddenly this week. This whale, whose human keepers called Nico, had been temporarily living at Sea World in San Antonio while the Georgia Aquarium undergoes renovation. Nico was the third Beluga owned by the aquarium to die since 2007. In fairness, two of the Belugas who died, including Nico, had serious health problems when they were obtained from a sea park in Mexico. I am certain that the Georgia Aquarium keepers mean well, but these deaths are just three more examples of the spectacular cruelty that you humans continue to inflict on the whales and dolphins you keep in captivity. They live confined, mind-numbing and meaningless existences in your liquid prisons, and die long before their time: all for your entertainment. Do you really think it is worth it?
I will be traveling for the next ten days and there will not be another blog post until I return. But quite frankly, I do not feel like talking to you any more right now. Good-bye, Nico. God bless.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The PICWW 3: Snow White and the Unicorns.

This is the third edition in my Politically Incorrect Whale Watcher series. Today let us consider Belugas and their close relatives, Narwhals. They are medium-sized, highly gregarious whales that live in frigid Arctic waters. Belugas are snow white in color and among the most vocal of all whales, with glorious singing voices. Sadly, in addition to being beautiful, they are slow swimmers and easily captured, which makes them a common prisoner in oceanariums—but let us not go there (hint, hint). In contrast, Narwhals are mottled black and white in color but what makes them unique is the long spiral tusks of the males that inevitably links them with tales of the fabled unicorn. Males use these horns to impress the females. (Actually, some females also have them which is rather awkward to explain). These tusks are probably what keeps them from being captured. Can you imagine how tricky it would be for trainers to teach them to do stupid animal tricks without getting skewered? At any rate, I am particularly fond of my cousins, Snow White and the Unicorns, but I hope you only ever see them on Animal Planet or in the wild—dress warmly if you go.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Spectacular cruelty.

The next time you and your family go to a marine park to gaze and gawk at the Orcas as they are made to perform demeaning tricks, I want you to remember this. The average life span of Orcas in the wild is forty years, and females can live well into their seventies and eighties. Now contrast this with the following fact: the average life expectancy in captivity of an Orca captured in the wild is less than six years. Yes, you read that correctly—six years! And for Orcas born in captivity, it is not much longer. The only blessing for the latter group is that they at least have never known the joy of freedom. Add to this disturbing statistic the fact that of the nearly two hundred Orcas held captive in man’s liquid prisons since 1964, less than one third lived longer than ten years, and only forty-one are alive today. If there is any shred of humanity in you, how can you interpret these facts as anything but spectacular cruelty? Sadly, I know that my voice, and those of the many caring humans who share my views, are but whispers on a stormy sea. But perhaps one day our whispers will become the tempest’s roar that will put an end to this atrocity forever.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Death of Innocents and Innocence.

A friend of mine in Los Angeles has made me aware of a tragic situation that occurred recently in the waters of Monterey Bay off Capitola, involving the murder of innocent Harbor Porpoises. Sadly, the killers in this case were not Transient Orcas or Great White Sharks, but members of my own species, Bottlenose Dolphins. This was only the most recent in a series of such occurrences and your scientists speculate it is because the male dolphins confuse porpoises with young dolphins, and murder them to make their females receptive to mating. This is a logical explanation but completely wrong. The reason is that over the past 100 years the continental shelf off northern California has been a dumping ground for toxic garbage including low-level radioactive wastes. This, when combined with the discharge of human waste from cruise ships, has coated the ocean bottom with a deadly sludge that quickly gets into the bodies of fish, which in turn are eaten by dolphins. These toxins poison the minds of the dolphins, and gradually bring out the most basic of killer instincts that exist deep within their souls. In November 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released final management plans and regulations to protect these waters. But it may be too little, too late. And so it is that through the actions of these dolphins, we are witnessing not only the death of innocents, but also the death of innocence.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Great Whites "Minding Their Own Business".

Marine biologists among your kind in Northern California announced this week that Great White Sharks swim much closer to shore than originally thought, including some that actually pass under the Golden Gate Bridge and enter San Francisco Bay. According to these so-called experts, this discovery, combined with the relatively low number of attacks on humans, proves that these sharks “are really minding their own business.” What! I have a news flash for these scientists; Great White Sharks are mindless eating machines, nothing more and nothing less: if you jump in the water near one you will be eaten. Period. The brain of a 20 foot, 2 ton female White Shark is the size of a human fist, and her entire body is simply a life support system for her mouth. I dare any scientist to come swimming with me off Año Nuevo Island, South Farallon Island, Point Reyes, or Tomales Point when these sisters are in town, anytime between September and Christmas, and we will see who minds whose business. By the way, the water is chilly so be sure to wear your wet suit—you know, the black one that has the word ‘lunch’ written on the back in indelible red ink. Minding their own business—give me a break!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where is the justice?

Now I am not usually one to be envious of my fellow marine mammals; goodness knows our lives are hard enough as it is, without wanting to take on someone else's challenges. However, this week I could not help being a little jealous of a Manatee that your kind has named Ilya. Apparently, for years now he has spent his summers wandering up and down the Atlantic seaboard, sometimes as far north as Massachusetts, which if you know how un-streamlined this big boy is, and how slowly he swims, is a feat unto itself. If he wants to roam northern waters in the warmer months and return south in the Fall, then I say good for him. But this year, after staying too long in New Jersey, he was flown home to Florida on a United States Coast Guard C-130 airplane. And therein lies the problem. Now that they have set a precedent, there are going to be thousands of marine mammals who expect the same treatment. For example, I know a cheeky little Harbor Porpoise named Pan (see The Tempest's Roar) who has always wanted to fly. How am I going to explain to him that only Manatees get to do this? Where is the justice?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Because they always have...

This week, a film titled The Cove was screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival. Directed by Louis Psihoyos, it is an exposé of the annual slaughter of thousands of whales and dolphins by fishermen in the small Japanese seacoast town of Taiji. For obvious reasons, I have not seen it nor will I. However, I am told that the film contains profoundly disturbing footage of the butchering of my fellow sentient and intelligent beings in that dark and bloody cove. Japanese officials defend this barbaric practice because that is ‘what these fishermen have always done’. They say that the world should respect cultural differences. Cultural differences! Are they insane? By that same perverted logic, the world should tolerate all acts of depravity in any nation as long as there is precedent. I thank the God that made you and me, that over the past two centuries, brave and caring humans in Europe and North America have categorically rejected this monstrous argument put forth by tyrants. If they had not, then slavery and genocide would still prevail in the lands where freedom reigns. The only way to stop this dark carnage inflicted upon my kind by yours is to bring it into the light. Good for you, Louis Psihoyos; good for you, organizers of the film festival for allowing it to be shown; and good for you, the decent people of Japan who are horrified by this brutal practice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The PICWW 2: Devil Fish They Ain't

This is the second edition in my Politically Incorrect Whale Watcher series. Today I will talk about the Gray Whale who your kind calls Devil Fish. First, let us deal with this unfortunate appellation; Gray Whales are not devils and they certainly are not fish. They got that name because of the aggressive way they behaved after being harpooned…hello! What would you do if some ugly little biped on a boat shot a razor sharp projectile into your back that exploded upon contact rupturing a lung or other organ? In your case, of course, you would be quite dead; but unfortunately for the great whales, they usually did not die quickly: and in the case of Gray Whales, they would often attack the boat. Nothing devilish about that, at least not on the part of the whale. Having said this, I will acknowledge that the Gray Whale is one of the least attractive of all whales. They have mottled skin with barnacles and whale lice (uuugh) all over their bodies, especially about the head. This is because they are unique among whales in that they are bottom-feeders, sucking up sediment containing amphipods from the sea floor, and unfortunately, parasites as well. So there you have it: as unattractive as they may be, devil fish they most certainly are not.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blue Lady Down

This week a 70 foot, female Blue Whale was struck and killed by a ship in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Northern California. Her body washed ashore only hours after the ship reported hitting a whale a few miles away. Ironically, it was an ocean research vessel. The Blue Lady down had two deep gashes on her back, one of which cut the vertebral column. While scientists among your kind have not yet determined the cause of death, based on these facts, I think it likely that she drowned. As tragic as her death is to me and to all beings, I find some small measure of solace in that she did not suffer the final indignity of being torn apart by the Great White Sharks that frequent those same waters. And so another of our endangered mighty Blue Whales has died, and with her passing we have lost one of the most beautiful and largest of all creatures that God ever made. And for that, the oceans are a sadder place and this is a lesser planet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dolphins 0 Jellyfish 1

It has been brought to my attention that some of my Welsh cousins were filmed playing football (soccer to you Americans), or I guess a more apt description would be tailball, with some jellyfish off the coast of Wales recently. The U.S. television news commentator said the Bottlenose Dolphins repeatedly flipped the jellyfish high into the air, and he called them “playground bullies.” I must admit I concur. Dolphins do not appreciate it at all when Orcas do the same thing to us (usually it is Transient Orcas just before they eat us). I suppose there is some measure of good news in this incident in that dolphins rarely eat these stinging, diaphanous creatures; however, I am sure that fact gave them little comfort as they were being zipped through the air. Therefore, I hereby sincerely apologize to the jellyfish of Wales on behalf of my kin. And I award the game to the jellyfish by default.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The PICWW: Three kinds of Orcas.

This begins my Politically Incorrect Whale Watcher feature, in which, I will occasionally give you my candid views on my fellow beings. Today we will start with the ones you call Killer Whales. First, let me set the record straight, all whales and dolphins are killers. We all kill to live, so do you. But let us not go there. There are three kinds of Orcas: first are those you call Residents. They live in coastal waters, stay close to home, and eat only fish. Among their own, they are very social, caring, and loving. Hence, I refer to them as Sissyboys. Next come Transients. These guys are mean, hard, and highly taciturn. They roam all cold-water seacoasts and only eat mammals; including other whales, so obviously I call them Cannibals (not to their faces because if I did I would be dinner). Your whale experts are correct in saying that they do not eat humans but it is only because you are bony, stinky, little creatures and killing you is not worth the effort. And finally, there are those you call Offshore Orcas. These guys are really, really cool. They live far from land and never interbreed with the other two kinds. They mostly eat sharks, especially Great White Sharks; so it should come as no surprise that I call them Heroes. So there you have it: the PICWW on Orcas. In the future, I will give you the scoop on other whales and dolphins. If there are any in particular that you want to hear some gossip about, let me know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The day the last king dies...

One day in the not too distant future the last king of the Seven Seas, a mighty Blue Whale, will die. It will happen like this: one hundred feet in length, weighing two hundred tons, he is the largest creature that has ever lived on the planet. As intelligent as man, he out smarted this arrogant and ruthless descendant of apes for over one hundred years. In his youth, he learned to avoid ships with pointed bows and bloody decks, and ugly little men hunched over harpoon cannons, that slaughtered great whales by the hundreds of thousands. Throughout his life, he dodged fifty-mile long drift nets that drowned other whales and dolphins, leaving their bloated bodies to suffer the final indignity of being savaged by sharks. For decades, he swam through polluted seas, clogged with oil, and filth, and plastic; and in the twilight of his years, he struggled to find enough food in ever-warming waters to sustain his enormous bulk while other great whales slowly starved to death. Finally, one day when he can no longer find any others of his kind left in all the oceans of the world, he will close his eyes for the last time and in a sad and lonely silence slowly sink into the depths. Gone. Forever. And with his passing, humankind will have lost something it can never recover—its very soul.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Who is the most civilized?

We, the other most intelligent and sentient beings who share this blue space marble with you, are in awe of all that you have accomplished since you came down from the trees. Your achievements in science and technology are staggering, your industrial might is overpowering, and your triumphs in the arts stir the imagination and soothe the soul. And yet, as magnificent as these are, your world is still weighed down by poverty, starvation, and never-ending war. In every great city, there are sections where you dare not go, and in every religion, there are zealots who live in hatred of different followers of the same God. At this very moment, the most powerful man on earth is debating the relative merits of counterinsurgency versus counterterrorism in a foreign land, while at home millions of his people have no protection from the crushing burdens of catastrophic illness. In contrast, we, the whales and dolphins who swim out beyond the thin blue line that divides your world from ours have none of the above; neither the good nor the bad. And yet, I ask you, who is the most civilized?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In preserving all things wild, there is salvation.

Why should you care about saving whales and dolphins? Why should my fellow beings deserve any more of your attention than the thousands upon thousands of human causes and needs that seek your time and money? Even though we are sentient and intelligent beings who come closer to you on these two critical dimensions than all other living things, I will not be so presumptuous to tell you that the life of a whale or a dolphin is any more important than that of a human. No. It is not for our salvation that you should be concerned about us; it is for your own. When you draw your last breath, it will not matter how much power, or prestige, or prosperity you have achieved. It will not matter what your contribution has been to furthering civilization. In the last analysis, the only accomplishment that can and will make you smile, and face eternity with a deep sense of accomplishment, is what you have done for all things wild. Save us, all creatures great and small, on land and sea, and you will save yourself.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The paradox of mountains.

Sometimes I get discouraged that few among your kind, really give a damn about whales and dolphins. Most of you are so concerned about your own lives that you have no time to care about your own species, let alone mine. To me it seems that you are lost and alone in one of life’s dark valleys, surrounded by mountains that tower over you, making you seem small and insignificant. For you to see the view from their peaks you must climb their sides, a journey that is arduous and often fatal. Whereas for whales and dolphins, we spend our lives above the mountains. From our vantage point, we can see the majesty of a mountaintop, while its base holds no appeal for us, because it is rooted firmly in the deeps, where we dare not go. I wonder if that is why the soul of man is cloaked in darkness and self-pity, while that of beings is filled with light and hope; because you spend your entire lives looking up at mountains, wishing you were on top, while we spend our lives looking down on them, thankful we are not at the bottom.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Humpback Whales need your help!

The federal government is considering taking Humpback Whales off the endangered species list because the population has been gradually recovering from humankind’s efforts to exterminate the species. The global population of Humpbacks once numbered over 125,000 before commercial whaling virtually decimated the species in the mid-twentieth century. This led to the whales being added to the U.S. Endangered Species List in June 1970. Now the worldwide population is believed to be approximately 60,000, or less than half of what it was before the slaughter began. If the government does this, these magnificent creatures will lose the very protection that brought them back from the brink, and morons in motorboats will be now able to approach them again, slicing across their backs with spinning props or worse. Please do not allow this to happen. Let your voices be heard. Go to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s website ( and express your opposition to this plan. Please. Do it before October 13. My friends, the Humpbacks need you now.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why did the chicken cross the road?

It certainly was not to save the life of a human. I am stunned and frustrated that some among your kind liken the slaughter of my fellow whales and dolphins to that of cows and chickens. There are countless, well-documented examples of whales or dolphins saving human lives, or expressing gratitude through gentle physical contact with a human when the situation was reversed. And yet, there are far too many ignorant people who still make this inane comparison. I wish I could ask them when was the last time they read about a cow saving somebody from a grizzly bear. Or a chicken rescuing a drowning swimmer? Or even better, I wish I could get them into the deep and dark waters off the Farallones, with a 6 meter Great White Shark closing in on them, and see if they would still hold to this view, when I and a few of my dolphin friends chased the shark away. I think not. Oh well, the fact that some of you are idiots does not lessen my love for mankind. See you on the far side of the surf.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So I say good for them...

On a lighter note than my recent postings, it was with interest, and I must admit a degree of perhaps unseemly pleasure, that I noted the recent news report of dead Humboldt Squid washing up on beaches in Oregon. Of all the creatures in the ocean that my fellow whales and dolphins have to tolerate, the ones you call cephalopods are particularly disagreeable. While they may be intelligent (to the degree that any boneless creature can be), they are also aggressive, obnoxious, ugly (by any standard), and prone to squirting their odious ink all over the place whenever they feel threatened. As much as I lobby your kind to get you to treat my kind with respect, I confess that I feel no regret when these multi-legged bullies find themselves on the wrong end of their life cycle. So I say good for them…they have lived their lives, and filled whatever purpose it was that God intended for them, and then moved on, leaving the seas a better place…at least as far as I am concerned.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Looking for God in all the wrong places.

With the turmoil in your world today, it is not surprising that your society has become sharply polarized. Caught between the extremes of right and left, endlessly bombarded by self-righteous prophets of doom, disgusted by the partisanship that holds your government hostage, you have become bitter and mistrusting, uncertain of what to do or where to go. In increasing numbers, you turn to houses of worship; not those of your youth, but prayer palaces where thousands just like you seek solace in spirtualtainment, but are left unfulfilled. Alone, even when you are not, in the savage silence of the night, you lie awake and cry out to God. But you are looking for him in all the wrong places. He is not external to your physical being, rather he is inside you, deep within your collective unconscious, on the other side of memory; the pathway to which lies through your dreams, for they are the signposts of your soul. I know this because we, the other sentient beings who share this planet, are closer to God than are you. He comes to us in the night, every night in our dreams. He shows us the way, and teaches us how to pray, and our world is better for it. Go to him. Close you eyes and dream. He is waiting for you there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lost and alone on life's journey.

I wonder how many of you feel lost and alone right now on your journey through time and space toward eternity. All around you are the sad signs of a civilization that has lost its civility: a petty politician insults the leader of the free world and then stands in smug self-righteousness on the floor of congress, blind to his own insignificance in the grand scheme of things; a mega-rich tennis superstar castigates a meek and underpaid official and then jokes about it with her vainglorious friends; a rapper climbs on stage at an awards show and makes a fool of himself while embarrassing an innocent young girl and later gives an apology that reeks of insincerity; or even worse, talking heads from the left and right incessantly spew their bile and bitterness over the airwaves seeking to divide and destroy the very nation they claim to defend. These puppets of narcissism, and purveyors of discord and dissent, have created a great gray fog of ennui that covers your world, a dangerous cloud into which you are dragged by these sheep in wolves’ clothing. In my world, the wolves wear no such deceptive cloaks. The Great White Sharks, Giant Squid, Transient Orcas, and the like, are what they appear to be, nothing more and nothing less. They come at me coldly and unerringly, with no intent to deceive, only to destroy. I know them for what they are and what they intend. And I would not trade any of them for the veiled evil that grows stronger day by day on your side of the thin blue line that divides our two worlds. May the same God that made us both be with you all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Great Whales take on the Great White Way

Associated Press Writer, Karl Ritter, in his article titled “Greenland’s melt mystery unfolds, at glacial pace” (cute) describes the recent increase in speed of Greenland’s glaciers. All the glaciologists, and climatologists, and oceanologists putting their learned heads together cannot agree on why (go figure), but the implications are potentially catastrophic. If the ice sheet melts, sea level could rise by as much as 100 feet. I know, I know, you are thinking, it is just another stupid, scary eco-story from the left coast. Believe what you want, but I, for one, am looking forward to swimming down Broadway with my fellow dolphins. Who knows, maybe it will even be deep enough for my whale friends. "Great Whales take on the Great White Way", pretty catchy headline, don't you think? See you there…by the way, how long can you tread water?

Friday, September 11, 2009

On this sad day...

We all will die, that is an immutable fact of life. Yet not all of life’s endings are equal. Is the death of a gnat equal to that of a human? Hardly. What about the death of a chicken or a cow? No, you say. How about that of an orangutan or a gorilla? Close but still not the same. So what is the difference? I submit it is the awareness of self, the ability to contemplate the meaning of life and the inevitability of death, and the desperate desire to prolong the one before facing the other. These are the cognitive abilities that separate your kind from the gnat, the chicken and the cow, and yes, even the orangutan and great ape. If you accept this premise, then know this, every single whale and dolphin that swims freely in the ocean, or is imprisoned in an aquarium, possesses these same mental abilities. And every time one of my kind faces death, either as a direct result of your willful acts, or through your carelessness or indifference, we suffer exactly the same pain, and fear, and sense of desperation that you do as you face your own death. So on this sad day, as you remember the deaths of so many innocent human beings eight years ago, please know that we are no different you and I; we live and die and are both the sadder for it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beware the predators of the mind...

We are not so different you and I, at least as far as the predators we face, with one critical difference. First, are the sharks: mindless eating machines that prey on your kind and mine. You face this danger when you enter my world while I live with it every minute of the day; but then again I am far better equipped to deal with this danger than are you, so it balances out. Then there are the killers among our own kinds, mainly Transient Orcas in my case, rapists, murderers, and pedophiles in yours. These perverts of our respective species are evil, no doubt, but at least we know their intentions and we can defend against them. But that is where the similarities end, because in your world there is another kind of predator far more dangerous than all of the others: these are destroyers not of the body, but of the mind. They pass themselves off as champions of free speech, the defenders of freedom itself. They come from the extreme political left or right and approach all those in the middle with equal ferocity, purporting to be the only voice of reason. But do not be fooled, they embody an evil far greater than any predators of the body, because in spewing their righteous bile and unbridled hatred upon the land they divide and destroy the very thing they profess to love, which is society itself. Beware these, the predators of the mind for they are a cancer among your kind.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh great and restless sea...

A man of power and prominence in your world died this week. It is for others of your kind to judge whether his achievements outweighed his flaws. For me and my fellow beings, it is enough simply to say that he was a sailor who loved the sea, and in his memory this poem is dedicated.

Hear us oh great and restless sea,
oh wondrous ocean deep and wide.
Your boundaries all beings keep,
your storms and tempests we abide.
Pray let us pass in the days to come,
free from thy wrath, safe on thy tides.
That we may cross thy mighty plains,
and suffer not like those who died.
And in the end, with our journey done,
may we to thee simple sojourners be.
Once here in time and place, then gone,
from thee oh great and restless sea.

God speed, Senator Edward Kennedy. May the fair winds of heaven bring your ship safely home.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Are you interested in going?

There is a planet in another galaxy populated by a civilized race of beings more advanced than us. They have been travelling to earth for hundreds of years. At first they just came to observe but soon they began capturing humans, taking them back to their planet where they keep them in captivity. Recently, thought leaders on their planet have objected to this policy and most trips to earth have stopped but not all. As a result, 80% of all humans in their zoos are now born in captivity but 20% are still provided by capture ships that come to earth on a regular basis. Life in their zoos is safe, clean and comfortable, if somewhat boring. There is good food, excellent medical care, lots of exercise, frequent sex and no financial worries. Are you interested in going? I didn't think so. Oh well, this weekend if you have nothing else to do, why don't you go to your city's aquarium instead and see the dolphins. Might be fun, don't you think?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Living stones on lonely shores.

A nation at war. A stagnant economy. Divisive debates at the highest levels in the land. Life savings slipping away. Homes lost. Dreams fading. Aging parents. Unsettled children. Cancer. Crime. Chaos on cable. We get it. Life is hard. And with all of the above crashing down on you, why should you care about whales and dolphins? Because you are killing them. That’s why. Every single one of them; through the cruelty of the few or the apathy of the many. Either way, they are just as dead or soon will be.
If you don’t do something now all hope for tomorrow will be lost. And when we have all been dead ten thousand years, there will be nothing left to mark our passing except barren lands and empty seas, and in between on lonely shores, living stones will cry out in silence the three words that will serve as our collective epitaph; Arrogance. Intolerance and Stupidity.
If you do care and want to help, let us know. We're waiting...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lesser people in a lesser world.

Somewhere in the world a dolphin died today. Born at sea, he had spent his youth as a wayfarer of the open waves; riding rhythmic tides and relentless currents; slipping past jagged rocks and over rippled sandy bottoms; flying above thrusting sea mounts and gaping chasms; free on the wind swell. Free. And then one day, all that ended. He was captured and sold to men who imprisoned him at an aquarium, where each day thousands of your kind gaze and gawk at dolphins, as they perform stupid and demeaning tricks, and beg for food. But not this dolphin. He refused. Doomed to a life of unending sadness he simply stopped breathing and died. He was not the first to do so and he will not be the last. Your kind took little notice of his passing and for that you are a lesser people, and this is a lesser world: this endangered blue marble drifting silently through space; a place of terrible beauty and unintended cruelty that you call Earth but whalekind knows as Planet Ocean.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Triumph and tragedy...

There was triumph and tragedy in the tenuous interface between your world and mine this past week. In triumph, a Beluga Whale saved the life of a woman who was drowning in the whale’s twenty-foot deep arctic pool at an aquarium in Harbin, China. Even before the other humans did, the whale sensed the woman’s distress and gently carried her to the surface. This triumph of human and whale interaction stands in stark contrast to a tragedy that transpired half a world away from China, in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa, Florida. There, caring humans who had nursed a Bottlenose Dolphin back to health released the being back into the sea. Tragically, the dolphin was attacked by a large shark (or kraken as we call its kind). A veterinarian, like my friend Dr. Caitlin Quinn, mercifully put the mortally injured being out of its misery. On behalf of the dolphin who humans tried to save, thank-you. And on behalf of the whale, who saved a human, you are welcome. Triumph and tragedy in the world we share; a world you call Earth but we know as Planet Ocean.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ignorance, the blind cohort of evil.

Human history is replete with instances in which the majority of your kind has allowed a minority to be persecuted or worse, slaughtered. To the credit of good and decent people everywhere, such brutality has often led to their taking up arms to put down evil, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. Sadly, this has not always been the case and one reason for this tragic failing has often quite simply been ignorance. Are there any among your kind who would tolerate the slaughter of thousands of children, if the horrible reality of this act were brought to your attention? I think not.To that end, I now implore you to go see the movie, The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos. It shows the slaughter of another group of innocents, in this case dolphins like me, who are no less sentient, or intelligent, or nonviolent than are your children. After you see the film, you will no longer be ignorant of this act of brutality at the far side of the world. What is more, I am confident that you will want to add your support to Mr. Psihoyos’ Oceanic Preservation Society, and all organizations like it, in their valiant efforts to put an end to the mistreatment and all too often, the murder of my kind.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What kind of people...

In 2005, some compassionate humans rescued a Humpback Whale who had become entangled in weighted fishing lines off the Farallon Islands near San Francisco. I know those waters all too well, and had those humans not risked their own lives to save this magnificent being, it would surely have drowned, or even worse, been eaten alive by the giant Great White Sharks (or kraken as we know them) that frequent those forbidding waters around the islands known as The Devil's Teeth. (See "Daring rescue of whale off the Farallones" by Peter Fimrite). According to the divers who saved the whale's life, after being freed, it circled back and nuzzled each diver before disappearing into the deep.This act of gratitude on the part of an intelligent and sentient being, is made all the more sad by the fact that this year Japan has approved the slaughter of Humpback Whales as part of their annual harvest of great whales in the name of "scientific research". It troubles the mind and torments the soul that the rest of your world sits idly by while such barbaric acts are allowed to continue. What kind of people are they to be so cruel, arrogant, and depraved? And what kind of people are you to be so indifferent, and callous, and aloof?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The blood lust continues...

The 61st annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, in Madeira, Portugal, wrapped up on June 26th, and despite the continuing efforts of the countries who oppose commercial whaling, including Australia, the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand, no progress was made in getting the blood lust countries of Japan, Norway and Iceland to agree to stop their barbaric practice of whale slaughter. Why am I not surprised? The Japanese government continues to put forth the preposterous notion that my kind should be treated like all other animal food stocks, such as cattle, hogs, and chickens. This is akin to them suggesting the harmless and defenseless people of third world countries should also be considered as a food source. However, as I have said before, the way to change the minds of the three killer nations is not by dealing with their politicians or industry representatives. As the American abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, once said, “To tyrants I will give no quarter nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.” Instead, the pathway to the salvation of my kind lies with the people, and especially with the children of these countries: if you do not reach out to them, all will be lost.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

If you feed them...

When a human feeds a bear it can be an extremely hazardous act for both man and beast. Unfortunately, a similar situation exists with my fellow dolphins in the coastal waters of America. However, in this case, we are the only ones who die, never the human, and that makes all the difference. Whenever you throw back fish in the presence of dolphins, you are teaching them that fishing boats are floating Smorgasbords. Is it any wonder then that they have learned to help themselves to the fish even before it is reeled in? Sadly, this has led to fishermen shooting many of my kind, as has occurred recently in Florida and California. Such acts of cruelty are illegal under your Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, and it is encouraging to note that your law enforcement bodies prosecute these murderers to the full extent of the law. However, if feeding us dolphins occasionally led to you humans becoming the meal, as is the case with bears, then you might be more circumspect with regard to dumping fish in our presence. But we don’t eat people (despite the Japanese people who eat us), and so this sad saga will likely continue, as long as fishermen in coastal nations such as the United States, Australia and Brazil to name a few, continue their acts of carelessness, and worse, murder.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If you won't, who will?

The slaughter of my kind by Japanese commercial fishermen in the name of research is appalling. However, the way to get this barbarism to stop is NOT by attacking their ships. It is by reaching out to the Japanese people, and especially to their children, as well as to the citizens of Iceland and Norway who also still permit the hunting of whales. They must be taught that we beings are intelligent and sentient, and that to harvest us is nothing short of cold-blooded murder. In order to do this, please give your support to the many organizations who are striving to change the hearts and minds of caring people everywhere.
Closer to home, there is nothing you can do about the whales and dolphins who are already trapped in liquid prisons that you call oceanariums. But it is not too late to get the US Government to stop the capture of any more wild marine mammals for public display. Your government justifies this exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act by contending that public display serves educational and conservation purposes. This is wrong! To imprison us is cruel and unusual punishment. You do not tolerate it with innocent humans, then why do you allow it to be done to my kind? I urge you to write to your Member of Congress and demand that this practice be stopped. You cannot save my fellow whales and dolphins who are trapped in oceanariums now, but please help save those who currently roam wild and free in the Seven Seas.If you won’t, who will?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Which kind of human are you?

I submit that there are three kinds of people in the world based on their relative position along a continuum relating to whales and dolphins, or the beings as we call ourselves. First, there are those on the extreme left who are heartsick at the slaughter of whales by Japan, Iceland and Norway. They risk their own lives attacking whaling boats. Then there are those at the far right side of the continuum who are so wrapped up in their own world that they are oblivious to the plight of the beings. And finally, positioned squarely in the middle is the third group, much larger than the other two—more sensible than the first and more sensitive than the second, but sadly uninformed. Their only exposure to my kind is at one of the liquid prisons your kind calls oceanariums, where you gawk at the beings doomed to performing stupid tricks. If this third group only realized how cruel this imprisonment is to us, they might not be so entertained.Extreme left who know everything and risk everything; far right who know nothing and risk nothing; or smack dab in the middle. So which are you? If you are not sure, go out on a whale watching cruise and then perhaps you will discover where your heart really lies.