Tales from the 'Atlantic Frontier' XX

Saturday 8th August

Lord of the Wings

A small part of the team starts the day rather naughtily doing Mr Len (the engineer) impressions over its breakfast. Len has travelled widely, served in the Royal Navy and has strong opinions on a variety of matters. These include, for example the lack of any real necessity to take "film star showers" in the mornings and how his old Quarter

Tales from the 'Atlantic Frontier' XIX

Thursday 6th of August.

In the Hands of the Gods 5 - Escape from Scalloway.

We saw sunshine today and were actually able to modestly peel off a couple of layers of clothing. At this point, as I start to write, the forecast is for two clear days of good weather at least. So we will be chugging northwards again, back into survey block three, the "Great Northern Block".

Puzzle inventors and crossword champions needed

Are you good at solving puzzles? How good? WDCS is looking for the best puzzle-inventors, the most confusing riddle-writers and the most lateral-thinking clue compilers. We are planning to bury some treasure and we need volunteers with twisted minds to help us cover our tracks. Interested? If you would like to take part in the biggest puzzle since Masquerade send a riddle (and the solution) with a whale and dolphin connection to

Tales from the 'Atlantic Frontier' XVIII

We make a pilgrimage.

Rather that sitting on the boat and twiddling our thumbs - doing such things as debating who should be eaten first if we get marooned somewhere (the kind of debate which can so easy turn nasty) - we hire a mini-bus and go to explore mainland Shetland. There are good whale and porpoise viewing points and it would be nice to see if any of our new seabird friends can be tracked to their nests. However, a call to the local Scottish Natural Heritage office confirms that most of the breeding birds have now gone back to sea, fledglings in tow.

Tales from the 'Atlantic Frontier' XVII

Tuesday August 4th

In the hands of the gods 2 - In the Land of Crang.

I awake again to the mewing of gulls. Yes we're still in Scalloway.

The last part of our survey has obviously brought us into prime pilot whale territory. However, it has also taken us close to the "killing grounds", the Faroe Islands, where pilot whales in their thousands are still slaughtered every year.

Whales vs: Fish? The old argument

Those who support Norwegian commercial whaling often claim that the commercial hunt should be continued because the whales are 'eating commercial fish stocks'. Scientists and conservationists alike have hotly contested this line of argument as being unsubstantiated and bogus. But it has not always just been environmentalists and individuals concerned about animal welfare that have opposed Norwegian commercial whaling.

French fishermen attempt to defend driftnetting

Fishermen from the Isle of Yeu in the Vende region are to defend tuna driftnet fishing at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

The EU driftnet ban takes effect on 1 January 2002, but the fishermen say tuna catches have been 30% higher this year and that the new law is unfair. The French national fishing committee is backing their case.

French fisheries minister Louis Le Pensec said recently that he was not willing to oppose the ban, and other fishermen and technicians are now exploring new fishing methods to replace driftnet fishing.

Tales from the 'Atlantic Frontier' XVI

Sunday August 2nd

Puppies and dilemmas

Wonderfully calm and peaceful night here in the middle of the ocean. Up at five and weather warnings start to come in almost immediately. Start survey at six.

At 7.28am, a line of half a dozen or so pilot whales appears in front of us, frolicking like so many puppies (as far as a 6-7 m whale can be said to be puppy-esque) towards us. They bound up to the bow, big black heads bobbing dramatically out of the waves and then, when they get up to the ship, they dive under it and disappear.

New dates for Big Blue Whale Roadshow

WDCS's Big Blue whale roadshow is continuing its tour of the country. Come along and visit our 100ft inflatable whale and find out how you can help WDCS and Britain's whales and dolphins. By adding a sticker to the whale you can help contribute to our campaign to create a Global All Oceans Sanctuary for whales. Forthcoming venues are:

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 6-9 August

Brighton Pier 14-15 August

Bournemouth Pier 20-21 August

Portsmouth International Festival of the Sea 28-31 August


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