Our Ecological and Environmental Concerns
Our tours are educational and our "Sail with the Whales" tour captures the essence of being quiet and non intrusive or invasive on the water.
Marine mammals, seabirds and other marine life are being impacted daily by an ever increasing number of vessels travelling the same waters as they at ever increasing speeds. The speed and size of boats/ships vary, as do the propeller sounds that are being emitted under and above the surface of the water.
BIRDS in particular are impacted greatly by high speed craft and often do not have a chance to take flight. The North Island whale watching community was greatly alarmed when the male orca A60, was observed in 2003 to have extensive propeller markings down the right side of his body. We will never know the extent of the damage caused or the pain suffered by him, but we do know that the cause was the result of a boat propeller, and likely inflicted at high speed. The sight of those propeller markings on A60 have made an indelible imprint in the minds of many of us in the community and has changed forever any naive thinking, regarding human impact on marine life.
EVERY vessel on the water, including kayaks, impact marine wildlife. A growing awareness and education within the local whale watch community makes for better and more responsible wildlife viewing; where viewing of all marine life, including sea birds, is carried out with great care and sensitivity, with respect to the needs of the marine mammals and birds who inhabit these coastal waters.
In their habitat, Marine mammals and seabirds require quietness and space to move at their own pace. A need for SPACE requires less boat speed and greater distancing from birds and marine mammals, it also requires a shift from acceleration into neutral or slow idle when nearing marine life and a change of direction away from birds and marine mammals who are resting on the surface of the water.
The RESTING and FEEDING/FORAGING behaviour of marine mammals and seabirds can be severely impacted by mariners and kayakers who do not recognize the significance of this behaviour and move too close or continue to proceed forward, frequently disrupting and disturbing resting lines of orcas or flocks of birds by their irresponsible and selfish actions.
The Impact of Human Garbage
The amount of human garbage found floating on the ocean and washed up on beaches is growing at an alarming rate. Garbage left on beaches on one continent can now be found on another having travelled thousands of miles in currents.
Plastics (bottles, bags, straws and 6 pack rings, assorted containers), aluminum cans, cigarette butts, tampons, polystyrene food and drink containers, fishing tackle/nylon line and assorted rope are but a few of the more common items found strewn along beaches throughout the world; these same items are being swallowed by numerous species of cetaceans and seabirds. Biopsies have shown a single shark to have ingested several aluminum pop cans, plastic bags and bottles. Fatalities and agonizing suffering before death, occur daily in the worlds oceans when cetaceans and seabirds become entangled in plastics, nylon fishing lines, nets and ropes and caught in the midst of oil spills.
We are all connected
When we care to stop and look at the damage that the human species has already caused to planet earth, in all corners of the globe and impacting all species, it is overwhelming. We all have stories to tell of the changes that we in our own short lifetime have witnessed, as ecosystems and habitats are damaged and destroyed, and the species who live within. Many of us are asking the question "Where have all the birds gone to: the trees, the flowers, butterflies, moths, lady bugs, fish, whales, dolphins and porpoises, and why?"
Ultimately, if each and everyone of us take responsibility for our own wastes and the accumulation and disposal of plastics, chemicals and other garbage safely, when we choose to do without "junk and junk foods" and we personally take to cleaning up beaches, forests and parklands after others have left rubbish behind, when we become purposely aware of a more simple way of life and lifestyle and change our attitude, we may start to make a different kind of impact, a gentle one with care and thought for other species with whom we share this planet earth and are still able to enjoy.
Awareness is the key. A friend once told the story that he was staying at his brothers house and had gone shopping at the supermarket with his 10 year old niece. He couldn't help notice when she stopped to place the bananas that they were buying into a separate plastic bag. He asked her why, when bananas had their own natural wrap and did not require a bag. He also made the comment that if they purchased bananas every day for the family, how many extra bags would they use in a week, and in a year, and then multiply it by the number of families living in their city.
It is an extraordinary thought to ponder, how many extra plastic bags make it into a landfill or ocean each year, simply because we have got used to putting bananas into a plastic bag! Think what a difference it would make globally if EVERYONE started using recyclable cloth bags whenever they went shopping and that product packaging and plastic bags became a thing of the past.
We know that an individual's negative impact upon the environment cannot be compared to that of Corporate industry or a vast urban population polluting and contaminating planet earth and yet one individual's uncaring attitude towards the environment profoundly affects the health and well-being of local habitats and ecosystems. In contrast, a caring and considerate human being by their own example can bring about a conscious awakening in others that can lead to positive change. We can never separate ourselves from one another, we are all connected.
"If a butterfly becomes extinct in Australia, it affects the ecosystem of the whole world, because a third of our food supply depends on insect pollination. Caring for each other and the planet is, therefore, inseparable from caring for ourselves; we are both dependent on and are a part of the earth and the woods and the children playing in the street, and they are a part of us." Ed & Deb Shapiro
The simple act of doing some small deed in caring for ourselves, our planet earth and all creatures great and small on a daily basis, no matter how small the act might be, will bring more kindness, goodness, joy, beauty and love into the world. There are many acts of kindness that you can participate in or read about daily at: www.care2.com