Monday, May 7, 2012

Save the world: Save the whales

It was raining, It was pouring. I meet Sophie in the blue T shirt and her volunteer minder Leisa Cearr. I asked Leisa if I could take a photo of them and do a blog on them. Leisa was most obliquing. She tells me that Sophie was collecting for the Project Jonah, to save the whales.

Ka Pai Sophie, Ka Pai Leisa. It's been a cold week and a wet day.

Project Jonah is a registered charity. We exist for one simple reason – marine mammals desperately need our help. Our vision is to create a world where these animals are respected and protected. And to achieve this we need your support.

Our strength comes from our volunteers; everyday Kiwis that give up their time to help marine mammals through our rescue, action and protection programs. Whether they’re picking up litter on beaches or getting hands on in rescuing stranded whales, they’re out there helping. Whatever the weather.

We’re a New Zealand organisation, with a distinct flavour and feel. We pride ourselves on being passionate, honest, open and down to earth – things that Kiwis are well known for, both here and overseas.

Many years ago, I wrote a novel, I incorporated a group of volunteers trying to save some whales that had beached.

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.

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


Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Hi Ann; You raconteur, again a good story. I feel sorry for the whales. I
hate to see them still hunted and killed in this very cruel way.

The JR said...

Sad story.

Poor whales.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Excellent – thanks a million Ann!

"Project Jonah"