• Slideshow About

News and Blog







HOW WHALE POO IS CONNECTED TO CLIMATE AND OUR LIVES: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2014/dec/12/how-whale-poo-is-connected-to-climate-and-our-lives


Whale Time – Exploration visit to the old Whaling Station in KZN

This is the time of year that all of us privileged enough to live on the East coast of South Africa, or able to visit the coast should get excited about, as we get graced with the presence and majestic energy of the migrating Humpback whales.

I have been blessed with a unique opportunity to be involved in a project called Whale Time.

Part of this journey has included an exploration visit to the old whaling station in Durban.

DEFINITION: Whaling is the hunting of whales purportedly for meat, oil, blubber, and scientific research. Its earliest forms date to at least circa 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of subsistence whaling and harvesting beached whales. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling

Early one beautiful, crisp winter’s day on the Bluff, I rose before sunrise and headed down to the beach for a walk to explore the old whaling station and investigate the scene of this past time activity.

As I wondered around the site many thoughts came to mind, mainly how sad the whole thing is, personally I never would have been able to work at such a place. I wonder if the company owners, staff or whale capture crew ever gave thought to the whales and their populations. Did the public understand the consequences of their choices? Did they know the demands they were placing on the industry? If they had a chance to go out and catch a whale and see the whole process would they still want the perfumes, lipsticks etc? What would I have done if I lived in that era? How else could I have powered my lights?

Exploring the old buildings, one would have a guess what each building was used for.

I have met a few residents in the Bluff area that remember when the whaling station was still functioning, and what they seem to remember the most is the smell that would waft over the Bluff when an on shore wind blew. Other people remember visiting the old whaling station as part of a school tour; but this was after whaling had stopped in Durban in 1975.

Since whaling has been banned the Humpback whale population have inclined, at an estimated average of 10% per year. This is good news; although whales do still face other threats such as entanglement in fishing gear and shark nets, collisions with ships, and noise pollution.

I encourage you residents of KZN to go down to the beach and watch the Humpback whales play in the ocean where they belong. These whales can be spotted In KZN waters during June/July travelling northwards to warmer tropical waters to breed and calve as well as in October/November travelling southwards returning to their feeding grounds in Antarctica with their newborn calves.

Pictures @Dr Ken Findlay