Yesterday morning, what should have taken a few minutes of time, extended into nearly an hour. I was outside on the balcony hanging out some washing when I heard the unmistakable blow of a humpback whale. I heard the blows a few times before grabbing the camera and binoculars and waited for the next blow. How wonderful to listen as the loud blows broke the stillness and quietness of early morning, seeing the humpback whale surfacing a few times but not in time to take a photo, and still see a small whale (minke) feeding near where sea birds had gathered. There were numerous bald eagles flying about but due to the rising tide they were unable to reach the remains of a halibut thrown out further along the beach. A belted kingfisher was fishing from the piling nearby and then there were five river otters swimming along and clambering out on the small dock out in front. When I zoomed in and cropped the photo, there was a minke whale feeding back and forth where the humpback whale had also been! Blissful was the time spent outside yesterday morning, living in the moment! Had I not bothered to hang out the washing (it is easier to throw it in the dryer), I would have missed the ‘moment’ and majestic beauty of the ‘living and breathing’ coastline on which so many species, including humans, rely. Meanwhile, even as I write, an oil rig is currently passing through our BC waterways, en route to the Alaskan Arctic Coast for drilling purposes by Shell, in the Chukchi Sea. It brings to mind that somewhere, at some point, an oil spill will occur along the BC/ Alaskan coastline. I cannot begin to imagine what it will do to birds, fish, whale and dolphin populations….our oceans and coastlines are precious!
Environmental groups, citing harsh conditions and a fragile ecosystem, say it’s a mistake to drill in the Arctic.
“We can’t trust Shell with America’s Arctic. As we all remember, Shell’s mishaps in 2012 culminated with its drilling rig running aground,” Cindy Shogan, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League, said in a statement. “Shell’s 2015 plans are even riskier and dirtier this time around.”
Franz Matzner, director of the Beyond Oil Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called it a “wrong-headed decision.”
“No company deserves a license to despoil our last pristine ocean and spew massive amounts of carbon pollution into our atmosphere,” Matzner said in an e-mail. “Any major Arctic Ocean spill would be impossible to clean up.”
Shell drilled two test wells in 2012 after spending about $6 billion over almost a decade in preparation. This year Shell plans to simultaneously use two vessels to explore about 70 miles from the village of Wainwright. The drilling will take place in 140 feet of water.