Thursday, August 19, 2010

save the world: Save the whale

This photo is taken at the Science Centre, Museum in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I was there in January. I was curious with the barnacles growing on the whale.

I wrote a novel Mail Order Bride which unfortunately, is still waiting for a publisher. In a section I wrote about whales beaching, today, that fiction has sadly, become reality.

Watch our TV3 news video. Please allow a few seconds before the items comes on.
Nearly 60 pilot whales are dead after a pod of 73 stranded on Karikari Beach near Kaitaia today.

The Department of Conservation in Kaitaia received a call about 10.30am advising of a mass whale stranding.

Carolyn Smith, community relations programme manager for DOC in Kaitaia, said the whales had probably stranded during the night, and that was why so many perished before being discovered.

The Far North was experiencing heavy rain and wind, which was both a help and a hindrance; the whales would not dry out but it made conditions difficult for rescuers, Ms Smith said.

This is part of my novel, I hope you will enjoy as it has an environmental theme.

One day, tragedy struck New Zealand. It also struck Isabella personally. When Jamie and Isabella arrived at the car park at Muriwai beach in the morning, they were told a pod of fifty pilot whales had beached and stranded in the shallow water during the night. Rescuers, old and young and Jamie’s surfing mates were out there in the shallow water in a desperate attempt to save the surviving whales. Even school kids were given the day off school by their parents. The rescuers had covered the poor whales with beach towels and blankets and wetting them by scooping water to prevent the whales from getting dehydrated. Jamie told Isabella to bring her beach towel along as he raced to join the heroes and heroines in their noble attempt to save these beautiful animals.

“Take your beach towel.”

Jamie told Isabella to join the group of three middle aged women and a child.

“Hi! We are glad you have come to help. I am Grace, they are the two Anns. Ann without an E, and Anne with an E, and this is my daughter Jessie.”

“Hi! I am six.”

“Hi! I am Isabella.”

“Will you cover the whale with your beach towel at the exposed area?” requested Anne.

“No! I don’t want to get my new towel fishy and smelly.”

The two women and Jessie had been up the whole night and tempers were fraying.

“You have to scoop water on the whale and help us hold the whale up right. If not, their blow-holes will not be clear and the poor whale will drown,” said Grace.

“This is hard work,” grumbled Isabella when the whale blew water and drenched them.

“Why did you come? You knew this is hard work,” commented Ann.

“I didn’t want to come to help, Jamie told me to come.”

“Who is Jamie?” asked Grace.

“He’s my boyfriend.”

“You mean that handsome hunk?” asked Ann.

“Yes, the blonde guy.”

“You lucky woman,” commented the three.

After three hours, Isabella found the three women very friendly and they carried on a long conversation with her. She was surprised the extent they went in their nature loving activities like feeding and sheltering stray dogs and cats, planting herbs and native shrubs. She found them unpretentious and so different from other Kiwi women she had met. Isabella was happy they didn’t mind her Togalog English and the wrong grammar she used.

“What happen when we can’t save all the whales?” Isabella asked when she saw the dead whales.

“We use a forklift and a tractor to hull the poor whale and bury it,” said Anne.

“What, you mean you waste all the meat?”

“Huh?” asked all four of them in shock.

“You can sell them to the Japanese?”

“Isabella, you haven’t been in New Zealand long enough. The whole world hates the Japanese and their whaling,” said Ann irritably.

After twelve noon, under the hot sun, their poor whale died. Ann and Anne, Grace and Jessie cried openly. They christened him Moby. Isabella thought they were weird and gone soft in their head over a dead whale. Gordon came with the fork lift and hoisted the whale to give it a decent burial. Ann and Anne, Grace and Jessie followed as part of the cortege. The atmosphere was somber, there was so much death and sadness. The whales had to be buried quickly to prevent stench and spread of sickness.

Isabella chased the rest, and looked happy as if she had a brilliant idea.

“Wait, I want to lob off a chunk of meat to take back for my Filipino girl friends. It is such a waste of good meat.”

“Shit! Don’t you have any sense of decency? How can you eat whales?” shouted Ann.

“Whales are like people, they are not fish, they are higher beings, how can you even suggest eating them?” admonished Gordon.

Isabella quickly retreated with her tail between her legs.

But it was too late, Gordon and the women were so appalled by Isabella’s indecent proposal that they told everyone about this. Many of them were Greenpeace members and they told Jamie.

Jamie was diabolic and he shouted at Isabella in front of all the rescuers.

“I am so ashamed of you. You made me wish I had died and buried with the whales. Better still, you had died and we buried you.”

That sorrowful morning, twenty nine whales died and were buried in a massive grave: so was Isabella’s and Jamie’s relationship.


Unknown said...

Its so sad to read this Ann...hopefully there will be improvement.

Dave said...

A good but sad story Ann. Well done. _ dave

Serline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Serline said...

Sounds like the arguments my hubby and I have all the time, although we take turns being the realist/idealist.

We went back to Singapore around this period, so we could take advantage of the public holidays in both Thailand (hubby used one fewer day of leave) and Singapore (more time for the kids to see their school-age friends). There were also a lot of buzz, with National Day celebrations followed closely by the Youth Olympic Games festivities. Only the weather could have been better, with fewer drizzlings even when the sun was out.

Many cities can boast of rapid and constant developments. But I think none can beat Singapore in terms of the number of high rise constructions on a per capita basis. It seems we never tire of building on our tiny island, and whenever it seems time to take a breather and enjoy, someone will think of old buildings to tear down to make way for new, an expressway to expand, a tunnel to shortcut bottlenecks, another line extension, ...

Ensurai said...

I saw the movie The Whale Rider and it was very educating and moving. Remember Captain Ahab and Moby Dick? We read that over and over again and at different ages we look at whales and man differently.

Today we are most conscious that whales need space and a life as much as we do.

Good posting.

Ginny Hartzler said...

Your picture at the museum is not a real whale? I wonder what makes them do this? And your news clip said they were moving some away from the waves so they wouldn't drown, how could that be? Would they be too weak to use their blowholes? Your novel exerpt is very good!! I learned things from it, and it kept me reading!