image Save (?) the Whales

A tear leaks from the eye of a dead Pilot whale.

Reconnecting – to people. to myself. to home. to life. to death.

The kind of culturally appropriated stage deco that Canada would cringe over

A weekend at Kiwiburn, invited by new friends into the embrace of the kinkcamp; workshops, freespirits and a wall of bass. For me, it was a good start. Luminate was starting up and there was just enough time to make it. The workshop schedule was full of education on nutrition, movement, law, consent and self dentistry. Plugged into my thirst for knowledge and connection, we cultivate great access to energy and communication. All gathered at the time of Lughnasadgh, the time, one eighth around the sun, right between the Solstice and the Equinox.

It felt a lot like hOMe. Familiar features of faces, embodying my memories of people in a gesture, posture, expression. Until after a week in the hills, we descend down to Takaka for a shower and rest and I see the face, movement and spirit of a truly recognized being  from back home on the other side of the planet. Mr. Jenkins, in the flesh, had also been at the festival, but we did not see each other until this transition time, he towards a long journey back through Asia, on many flights, to Canada. I was moving towards Farewell Spit. They say it is the place where the highest number of whales beach in the entire world.

On the way to the Spit, the news hits. Whales have landed. Hundreds of them.

I was interested in finding a washed up vertebrae from one of these past occasions, but here we are in the middle of a whale-human interaction. We arrive and interfere with their business, hoping we are doing something good for them – and the planet, discussing tactics to keep them comfortable between changing tides. Such inspiring innovations to get the job done. In the low tide, we keep them up straight with sandbags,we pour buckets of water on their skin to keep them cool and moist, dig out the sand under their flippers to relieve pressure and keep pools of water close as it recedes.

It is a full moon, the highest tide. We wade out past the hundreds of floating, bloating carcasses out to the live stranded, wondering reasons and motivations for the whales to come to this place on an annual basis and why they keep coming back into shore, night after night, though they have been freed into deeper waters.

Many dead in the foreground, but top right are the people and surviving whales.

Some say the seismic blasting on the East coast in search of fossil fuels is causing them to flee from the ocean. Some say it’s the radiation leaking from the East coast of Japan. Some say they have parasites that are messing with their navigation. Some say that the shallow waters are impossible to navigate with sonar and they think they are heading through to the ocean, not knowing there is land in the path. Some say it was just poor leadership that lead to a sense of sticking together with their stuck, dead pod-members. My experience is clouded by the organization that comes to take authority of the situation but not take care of the humans doing the work.

We humans will never know why the whales insisted on coming back onto shore to die. Without the humans, none of the whales would have survived. But it seemed they didn’t want to. We can hope that we did some good in saving 20% or so of the 700 or so pilot whales that were out there.

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