Thursday, 22 January 2015

Life-sized delights

In Connecticut, USA there stands a 60 foot life-sized ferro-cement model of a male sperm whale. The only one of its kind anywhere in the world, built in 1975 and 1976 with 5000 hours of volunteer labour by WCA partner Cetacean Society International and friends. Conny sits in the grounds of the Children’s Museum, West Hartford, inspiring kids and adults alike as to just how big, magnificent and magical the sperm whale is. At the same time Conny was being built CSI led a successful campaign to have the sperm whale designated as the Connecticut State mammal. Conny represents all living whales, as well as the regions significant whaling period of centuries ago. Now Conny inspires people to seek whales to help and protect all whales.

Being up close to even a model whale or dolphin that is life-sized has the power to inspire. Imagine standing next to Conny, looking up at his massive head, huge fluke and wrinkly skin. It is not hard to be inspired. 

Morgan, CSIs Paul DiGangi and Conny the Sperm Whale

WhaleFest, the world’s biggest festival of whales and dolphins looks to do exactly this also. To inspire people to care, and to protect whales and dolphins. 

Before Christmas our little Morgan pledged her support to WhaleFest’s Whale of a Time Campaign, a crowd funding initiative to raise money for a life-sized inflatable Orca to have at WhaleFest but also to take on the road inspiring people all around the UK and perhaps even further! Morgan left that story at 21 days left and 50% of the funds left to collect. 

Now having stood next to the life-sized Conny, marvelled at the life-sized Orca and humpback whale Niall at WhaleFest 2014, our little Morgan is proud to announce that Whale of a Time reached its target! With WhaleFest 2015 fast approaching Morgan is super excited to have her picture taken next to the WhaleFest life-sized Orca that will be joining in the festivals celebrations!

Morgan and Niall the life-sized humpback whale at WhaleFest 2014

Thank you to everyone who donated and to the WhaleFest and Whale of a Time team for working so hard to make this happen! 

Hope to see you all at WhaleFest 2015!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dolphin Watching in Portugal

What does someone who surveys marine mammals do on their day off? Go whale watching of course! It is more than a job or a hobby or an interest. Whale and dolphin watching gets into your blood, it is your passion. For our little Morgan spending time at sea on the water, watching her cousins swimming wild and free is the best feeling in the world. So when Andre Cid decided to do some dolphin watching around the Algarve in Portugal between work for WCA partner AIMM, it was only natural that he took Morgan with him.

Out on that wonderful blue ocean

First off they headed out from Alfubeira where AIMM has its research centre, on a small Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in search of dolphins. Zooming over the azure blue sea Morgan and Andre scanned the waters for those signs that dolphins are around. A splash, a dark fin or back…. This time it was not meant to be. No dolphins or whales. But that is the way it is with wild whales and dolphins. That’s the point. They are wild. That is not to say there is nothing else to see. Just being out on the Ocean is bliss to Morgan, and this time the trip took them to see some of the spectacular geology of the region. Gently floating on the water, the RIB took them into one amazing cave so large it is aptly called Cathedral! 

Just a few short weeks later and Morgan and Andre Cid were back out on the water. This time with WCA partner Cape Cruiser, based in Sagres. Once again they headed out across the blue waters in search of whales and dolphins. This time their luck was in! Pods of common and then bottlenose dolphins skimmed through the waves nearby. A group of small harbour porpoise, one of the smaller species of cetacean, rolled at the surface, their breath coming in short puffs. Then there was a minke whale, bigger than dolphins but actually one of the smallest baleen whales. Finally when things felt like they could not get any better…. Orca! A small group, eight or nine and for these waters a rare sight! In five years of working at sea in this region, this is only Andre Cid’s third sighting of Orca! What a rare and special treat!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year from Follow Free Morgan!