In a week characterised by one disaster after the next: from missing airliners over the Indian Ocean, to mud slides in Washington state, I guess we should be grateful that there has been little or no maritime news as it would undoubtedly not have been good.
However, once again a story featuring the amazing creatures of our oceans has made the news this week. Scientists in the US have tracked a group of Cuvier’s beaked whales as they dived to incredible depths off the Californian coast. The tagged whales dived to depths of up to 2 992 metres, spending two hours and 17 minutes under-water before surfacing for air.
These dives represent both the longest and deepest dives ever recorded for any marine mammal.
Greg Schorr of Cascadia Reseach Collective in Olympia, Washington, says: “Many creatures live at the depths these whales dive to. However, there is a major difference between these whales and other creatures living deep in the ocean – the fundamental requirement to breathe air at the surface. Taking a breath at the surface and holding it while diving to pressures over 250 times that at the surface is an astounding feat.”
The whales were tracked using satellite-linked tags attached to the dorsal fins.
There is still much to be learned from the ocean that we so readily take for granted and abuse.
Other than that – there has been the usual to-and-fro between the minister of fisheries and her detractors in the press and via social media.