Dead whales and stuff!

About a month ago, one of the oceans majestic creatures washed ashore in this little bay, dead!

A 10m female Southern Right Whale estimated to be about 5 years old, was sighted and reported to the authorities who have been out to examine her and do tests to try and ascertain the cause of her death.

A few weeks earlier it was reported that another baby whale had washed up – dead – a few kilometers further up the coast at Kei Mouth.  Last week another baby whale washed up – dead – on the Amanzimtoti beach.  This last week, hikers coming to Morgan Bay spotted a 3 m shark also washed up – dead – on the rocks.  And as I hear yesterday a seal – dead – also washed up.


Now I am no oceanographer or deep sea animal expert, but even as a layman, there is something amiss. On talking to one of the authorities who came to run more tests on “our” whale yesterday, he told us about the seismic testing that has recently been carried out off the east coast of our shores.

This takes the form of seismic airgun blasting which is used to find oil and gas underneath the ocean floor, very similar to fracking above ground. Also as no expert I do however know that whales and dolphins communicate underwater with sound waves, so on reading an excerpt from on airgun blasting, copied below, why has this not been banned off our coastline.

“Seismic airguns are towed behind ships and shoot loud blasts of compressed air through the water and miles into the seabed, which reflect back information about buried oil and gas deposits, every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, sometimes weeks at a time. These blasts harm marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and other wildlife.  Impacts include temporary and permanent hearing loss, abandonment of habitat, disruption of mating and feeding, and even beach strandings and death. For whales and dolphins, which rely on their hearing to find food, communicate, and reproduce, being able to hear is a life or death matter.”

If they are wanting any proof of this then all they need to do is come and visit our shoreline, which is really just a speck in the bigger scheme of things, where the death of 3 whales just in this short time are 3 too many. And these are only the ones that I know about.  And the part that also really breaks my heart, on running tests,  “our”whale was a mommy, as it was found that she was lactating and think that the baby washed up in Amanzimoti was her calf.

This blog therefore is an urgent appeal to all, please sign any petition that you may see involving the testing of our waters. We humans are destroying the very world we live in and the living things we share it with. Before it is too late!!!!!


That feeling of guilt .. but

I am in an unusual circumstance in this stage of my life where I find myself sharing a house with 2 housemates – I really am living my life backwards – living in a commune is something you do when you are 20, not 58. But that is what is so wonderful about the lives we can live – there are no hard and fast rules as to what you have to do when.

Also living in a house with one lady from a different culture and one observation in these differences as got me thinking.

South Africa, as a whole is suffering from a serious water shortage.  Cape Town has just dodged Day Zero with the residents and visitors doing their bit and curtailing their water consumption.

Personally I try and keep my twice a day showers down to the 1 song rule, but …. my one housemate to date has not used the shower or the bath.  She fills a small tub of water and washes. So her daily water consumption for bathing will be +- 10 litres whereas mine will be in the region of 100 litres (average of 50/shower).  Not sure if this a western cultural thing about the need to shower and was wondering if what was going through her mind was “it is the ‘white’ peoples fault that the country has no water”.  Imagine how much water we would save if we all washed with a small tub of water.  This is where the guilt sets in as there is something about the feel of that water gushing over your body washing all the cares of the day down the drain and I really don’t want to give that up.  And it is not just a hot shower as in Costa Rica we did not have hot water (no need it was so hot) and oh those cold shower were so good.

Again when I was based in the little village of Nam Thaoum in Laos, where my only water supply was a single tap out the wall, straight from the river, I survived using a bucket and a scoop.


My bathroom in Nam Thouam

We are so spoilt with our water readily on tap, and we take it for granted.  But I am loathe to give up the extravagance of my hot shower.  Might change it to a 1/2 song length to appease my guilt.  Realizing that we cannot continue going around with our heads in the sand as the lack of water is a real problem and something each one of us needs to address.

Fireworks – ugh!!!!!

I had one seriously traumatized cat last night, when someone decided that a good way to celebrate an event was to ignite gun powder and send it soaring up into the skies.

plural noun: fireworks
  1. a device containing gunpowder and other combustible chemicals which causes spectacular effects and explosions when ignited, used for display or in celebrations.
    “they were oohing and aahing as if they were watching the fireworks”

I know I am going to sound like a mother grundy here, but what is it about fireworks that entrances humans so much.  As a child I remember my wise father saying about Guy Fawkes, that he would rather give us each a Five Rand note (that was a lot of money back then) than burn it.  We were allowed sparklers and a Catherine Wheel (which I proudly thought at the time as named after me), to celebrate an event that was not even part of our South African culture.

But last nights exhibition was not even in celebration of any historic occasion.  Imagine if each of us thought on the event of a birthday or anniversary that the best way to rejoice is by letting off fireworks.  To be able to go oooh and aaaah for 10 minutes or so, for what??????????

My little 7 month old cat was seriously traumatized, as I said in my opening line.  Never mind all the dogs in the area, some of which would not have had an owner to cower with under the covers.  But apart from the domestic animals, I live in what in my opinion is one of the most insanely unspoilt and beautiful parts of our county.  The wildlife and birdlife is amazing, what effect did these unnecessary explosions have on all of them.  And in the name of a human wanting to celebrate an occasion.  A much better way to celebrate would have been to waken early, go up to the cliffs or walk on the beach and watch the most exquisite natural beauty awaken with the sun and which would get so many more oooohs and aaahs and memories which would stay with one forever.


This is an issue that  gets under my skin and am happy to see, after reading some of the social media posts in the area, that I am not the only one. We humans, know the effects of fireworks on animals, and find myself saddened by the insensitivity of some to still go ahead.  If you feel you just have to have some sort of display, then do your research – there are silent ones available.

BAN ALL FIREWORKS!!!!!!! they are not necessary.

Having got that of my chest – mother grundy signing off.