08 July 2007

Conserve our Sea-life

We always look forward to June as it is the start of the whale watching season, along the Eastern Cape coast, which runs through to September.
This year has started out very well. A recent newspaper report said that about 20 humpback whales were passing Cape Receife every day on their way to their breeding grounds.

Sue and I took a jaunt down Marine Drive and weren’t disappointed. The whales were everywhere. And even though they were far out it did not stop us from photographing them. We have lived here since 1978 and it is wonderful to see the increase in the whale population. This is a testimony to the efforts of the conservationists, who have done so much to stop the wholesale slaughter of these great animals

But, being a person with a short concentration span (sometimes) something else caught my eye. Rubber ducks and divers! So I started clicking away.

I would like to think that they were recreational divers, but something about their modus operadii said they were not. Perlemoen (abalone) poachers - the scourge of our coastline!

This suspicion was confirmed when a family of whale watchers parked in front of us drove off.

I looked up to see a rather tough looking character, dressed in a wet suit watching me. In fact he never took his eyes off me. At the same time another fellow was diligently carrying oxygen tanks up from the beach to his car. All this time the two rubber ducks were circling around the many divers in the rock pools off shore.

When a third diver arrived I suggested that it was time to leave. These are not the most amenable people and are prone to resort to violence at a whim.
Just do a Google search for “perlemoen poachers” and see what I mean.

What a contrast. The whales on the one hand the product of international conservation efforts and poachers on the other, a group of unscrupulous people intent on the ruthless
plundering the coast and creating another ecological problem.

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