Friday, January 13, 2012

Whale Follow-up
By Michael

Mexico is just different. Every supermarket I've been to
sells this stuff: Jarabe de Maiz pasteurado para Bebe.
This translates to: pasteurized corn syrup for babies.
On the back are instructions for adding it to the
bottle, adding it to porridge, using it to make fruit
appetizing, or dabbing it on the pacifier.
In my first post about the whale incident, I wrote:

[immediately following our failed attempt to free the whale] We made a call to the fleet. One of the three boats in the anchorage answered, as well as a vessel in distant San Blas who heard our call and who had recently helped cut the net away from a mother whale and its calf. Wendaway didn’t have any additional advice, but did strongly advise against going in the water next time. It sounded like their whale was tangled such that the lines could all be cut from the dinghy, and they had two adults in the dinghy, a real advantage. I felt better about the difficult decision we made.
Turns out that Mark aboard Wendaway was underway with two crew when they spotted a mother and calf, tangled together, the day before we spotted our tangled whale. Mark was apprehensive about putting his boat and crew at risk to try and save the whales, but his crew, Frank and Mary, were determined to try and do something. They came up with a plan and some rules of engagement and went forward. There are three interesting posts about this encounter on Wendaway’s blog:

·         A detailed account of the rescue, written by Frank, who cut the whales free from a dinghy over a two-hour period.

·         A clear account of the incident from Mark’s perspective (owner and captain of Wendaway).

·         A postscript by Mark that includes information about his own subsequent investigation into drift netting, Mexican law, and crew safety.
And below is a fascinating video that Wendaway put together about their encounter. After seeing how matter-of-factly the fishermen behave in this video, my conclusion is that these entanglements are not uncommon.

On the back of a whale: a rescue from Mark Schneider on Vimeo.

And finally, the following video by experts who discuss whale rescue responses. In short, Del Viento and The Rose broke all the rules in our save, but all’s well that ends well.


Frances watches her big sister sew, in the cockpit, at sunrise--the last sunrise of our
three-day passage across the Sea, from Isla Isabel to Ensenada de los Muertos.


  1. If you're interested in what you can do to help, here's a website that details it for you:

    S/V Kintala


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