What Itís Like to Watch a Harpooned Whale Die Right Before Your Eyes
A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Captain Paul Watson, as published on Earth/Food/Life a project of the Independent Media Institute
October 2021

The whale did not fall upon us. He wavered and towered motionless above us. I looked up past the daggered six-inch teeth and into the eye the size of my fist, an eye that reflected back intelligence and spoke wordlessly of compassion and communicated to me the understanding that this was a being that could discriminate and understood what we had tried to do. The mammoth body slowly slid back into the sea.

Whale fluke
Whale of a tail: A sperm whaleís fluke breaches the waterís surface off the coast of Canterbury, New Zealand. Sperm whales have a worldwide range, with females giving birth every four to twenty years and caring for their young for more than ten years. (Photo credit: Bernard Spragg/Flickr)

Author Paul Watson [Sea Shepherd Conservation Society] has no problem with critics calling him and his marine-life-defending colleagues piratesóitís far better than helplessly standing by and doing nothing in the face of the violence against animals they have witnessed.

The following excerpt is from Death of a Whale, by Captain Paul Watson (GroundSwell Books, 2021). This web adaptation was produced by GroundSwell Books in partnership with Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

In 1975, Robert Hunter and I were the first people to physically block a harpoonerís line of fire when we intercepted a Soviet whaling fleet and placed our bodies between the killers and eight fleeing, frightened sperm whales. We were in a small inflatable boat, speeding before the plunging steel prow of a Russian kill boat. As the whales fled for their lives before us, we could smell the fear in their misty exhalations. We thought we could make a difference with our Gandhi-inspired seagoing stand. Surely these men behind the harpoons would not risk killing a human being to satisfy their lust for whale oil and meat. We were wrong.

The whalers demonstrated their contempt for our nonviolent protests by firing an explosive harpoon over our heads. The harpoon line slashed into the water and we narrowly escaped death. One of the whales was not so lucky. With a dull thud followed by a muffled explosion, the entrails of a female whale were torn and ripped apart by hot steel shrapnel.

The large bull sperm whale in the midst of the pod abruptly rose and dove. Experts had told us that a bull whale in this situation would attack us. We were a smaller target than the whaling ship. Anxiously, we held our breath in anticipation of sixty tons of irate muscle and blood torpedoing from the depths below our frail craft.

The ocean erupted behind us. We turned toward the Soviet ship to see a living juggernaut hurl itself at the Russian bow. The harpooner was ready. He pulled the trigger and sent a second explosive missile into the massive head of the whale. A pitiful scream rang in my ears, a fountain of blood geysered into the air, and the deep blue of the ocean was rapidly befouled with dark red blood. The whale thrashed and convulsed violently.

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Read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE (PDF) 

 

Death of a Whale
Learn more about the book here: Death of a Whale By Captain Paul Watson


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