Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
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

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

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...

Small fish in a BIG pond?!

It’s been over a week now since I took the ‘plunge’ and decided to enter the Banff Bay swim on behalf of WDC (https://www.justgiving.com/ruthclark). Had I known quite how hard it was going to be to even get a wetsuit on let alone swim in it, I’m not sure I would have felt quite so reassured by the prospect of wearing one. I spent a good two hours trying on various sorts and sizes (in a very hot and stuffy changing room) and after much deliberation I came out super excited to go and try it out in the sea for real, but with a little less skin on the back of my hands! I quickly realized, however, that swimming in it is a different matter altogether! And it wasn’t long before I had a very uncomfortable neck too. It certainly kept me warm though; there is no doubt about that….so much so that I’m tempted to try a swim without it?!…..I will let you know how that goes next week!

 

I have managed to fit in a couple of swims so far, each with varying degrees of confidence. The first was more of a paddle than a swim; forgetting the influence of that giant thing in the sky we call a moon! With a little more planning, the second attempt was more successful; the initial anxiety of being eaten by a shark faded away and I settled into a good rhythm, enjoying the scenery of the sea bed. Yesterday however, I was reminded of the stark contrast of the underwater world with murky water and swell making it very difficult to see and keep a direct course. It really got me thinking about what it must be like for creatures living in the water and how sound is such an important adaptation to their very existence. Noise pollution is one of the biggest threats to cetaceans and marine mammals around the world, with seismic surveys for oil and gas, pile driving for offshore construction and military sonar, affecting their ability to navigate, hunt for food and communicate with each other. Not to mention the disturbance caused by busy shipping lanes and increased boat traffic, as highlighted in the recent incident in Cornwall last week. There is a way forward though, and WDC is working hard with other organizations to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in critical and breeding and feeding grounds around the world. It’s just one of many reasons that I feel passionate about supporting the work the WDC is carrying out to improve the chances of survival for these special creatures…

 

Despite the challenges I faced this week; there was something quite magical about being in the water, surrounded by the elegant pattern of raindrops and frantic diving Tern’s just metres from my path. It felt fantastic to be so close to nature and I can’t wait to see what the next swim will hold!! Stay ‘afloat’ for the next instalment!!