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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

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Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

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You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

A Magical Seabed Safari

 

Journalist Hans Peter Roth shares his final blog from his recent trip to the Faroe Islands.

12 hours before I did not even dream of it. Now I am in a beautiful little cove in Hoyvík near the capital Tórshavn. On top the sun comes out of the clouds. The night before I’d met David, a local with a Divemaster license, at a private party. He has invited me to a dive here. Off we go!

The equipment is heavy but needed here in this 9°C cold water. We are swallowed by the cove water. The day before I have received the book “The Faroe Islands – a magical Seabed Safari,” by the Faroese author, diver, and photographer Ingi Sørensen. It is a breathtaking illustrated book about the underwater world of the North Atlantic Archipelago on 62 degrees North. And now, all of a sudden, I am in the middle of all of this, surrounded by these pictures of a mystical, magical underwater world in 3D, where rippled sandy spots contrast with forests of billowing tang. Everything shines in surprisingly intense colors. A flounder escapes after having been discovered in the sand despite of his camouflage. The tang shelters scores of young fish and a spider crab climbs up a stem, while a small swarm of cod slowly passes by in the open water. It is a magical, quiet seabed safari, just as described and illustrated in Ingi’s book. An unforgettable unexpected gift under David’s considerate, experienced guidance, in a place like from a fairy tale both above and under water.

The Faroes – an insiders’ tip for scuba divers? Undoubtedly, with its clear water, good visibility, rich fish grounds and spectacular underwater landscapes. What more to be expected! It needn’t be the Maldives. An insiders’ tip indeed, and not yet discovered by the diving community. Up to now there is not much infrastructure. And certainly the Faroes will never become a mecca for divers. But people who are looking for something kind of exotic, new, beautiful and extraordinary on their doorstep (in Europe) and yet are not afraid of cold water and the changing Nordic weather conditions, will like it here.

A sustainable small scale diving tourism with strict eco standards may certainly not be the least desirable thing. It could be beneficial to the economy of this small nation. At the same time friends of scuba diving will hardly ever be friends of whale driving. From our perspective they may be the “right” tourists. They would rather observe living whales. Whale watching is just another opportunity, by the way. One day it may be even possible to peacefully encounter live pilot whales above or under water. I pull myself out of the water. The diving equipment weighs heavily. But I feel light and free.