Whale Magazine :
LAST SONG OF THE WHALES
by Don "Four
Praise for the Novel
"The Ocean's Plastic Plague is doubling every decade with no end in sight. As a result, her creatures are suffering and dying in droves. Four Arrows offers the profound insight that only by
realizing our true partnership with the most charismatic of sea creatures will a distracted humanity find the courage it needs to stop in its tracks to retool and redirect its destructive productivity." Captain Charles Moore Algalita Marine Research Foundation
"It is easy to suspend what we think to be true when Don 'Four Arrows' Jacobs speaks to us so convincingly about both the universal intelligence of our planet and the terrible state of our life support system. Thanks to Four Arrows for offering us another way and another reason to "Live Like We Love The Ocean." Tim Dykman Co-Director Ocean Revolution
An excerpt from Last Song of the Whales, a novel about Brant, an environmental science professor, who is abducted by humpback whales and taken on a trans-oceanic odyssey which reveals to him the suffering of the whales and the frightening condition of the seas.
Chapter 16. The Decision
The next few days at sea allowed Brant to somewhat recover from his injuries and exhaustion. He had been thinking about the yellow antenna on Bluto’s companion. He knew it must be a GPS device for tracking the whale. Brant tried to imagine the scientists who were following the whale knowing it was part of a group that included a man being pulled on a raft by a whale! He laughed to himself and realized it was the first time he had done so since being on the boat with his wife and friends. His laughter turned to tears as he realized they must believe him dead.
Brant was untying Boy each time they stopped. He trusted that Boy would not leave him and knew this allowed him the freedom to play during the group’s rest times. Indeed, before and after each nap, Boy would roll, dive and breach. Today he jumped completely out of the water when Brant released the towline. He landed so close to the raft that the splash from his 40-foot long body almost filled it. Brant was exhausted trying to bail out the water. Then he noticed that five whales had joined in a circle less than 100 feet from him. They were making high-pitched noises and diving down. Brant saw a circle of bubbles coming straight up from where each whale dove. The bubbles apparently trapped hundreds of herring. Several seconds later the five whales surfaced with their giant mouths wide open and their flexible lower jaws puffed out. The precise moves of the whales amazed Brant. How such large creatures could do that without running into each other and with all getting a fair share of the food was remarkable. The whales repeated the maneuver. The first time they all ate fish. The second time all but the calf surfaced with closed mouths. Brant finally realized that they were not feeding but rather were teaching the calf this particular technique for catching fish.
The calf learned her lesson well, apparently. After the others bubble-netted the fish again, she took a mouthful and, expelling the sea water through her baleen filters, she slowly approached the raft. Reaching it, she opened her lower jaw under the raft and then flicked at least 100 herring into the boat. She nodded and rolled joyfully. Fish were jumping all over Brant as he tried to grab individual ones to eat. He thanked the calf and named her Charity. Brant felt he had captured enough rainwater in his jugs to digest the protein so he ate fish whole until his shrunken stomach was stuffed. He threw many overboard but kept enough for later. The whales seemed pleased, waited for him to finish eating and then continued on their journey. Boy positioned himself alongside the raft so Brant could grab the line and retie it. After Brant secured the tow rope, his SART started beeping. Radar was nearby. Brant switched it to transponder mode. In a few minutes a ship came into view and was bearing down on his position fast. His heart soared with the prospect of being rescued. What a story he would have to tell his wife and the world. He got on his knees and began waving.
The ship was large, maybe 200-feet long, and steel gray above the copper-red hull. It had a huge foredeck, perhaps 20 feet above the main deck. It
was connected to an access platform for the crew by a white metal bridge. In the center and at the bow sat what looked like a cannon. Three men
stood beside it, one scouting and ready to
operate the cannon. Below them, on both sides of the bow, the ship’s
name was painted in black letters, both in Japanese characters and
in English. Brant soon could read the name “Yushin Maru.” Brant
realized it was a whaling ship. He could not imagine, however, that
they would not be diverted by his plight. Maybe once aboard he could
explain that the whales were, well, his friends. As soon as
the thought came to him he understood how ridiculous it would sound
even if there was someone who spoke English. Nonetheless, all he
could think about was that he was going to be rescued!
He continued waving and yelling while Boy pulled him closer to the ship. Then he saw the men turn the cannon toward him. Brant realized he was putting Boy in harm’s way. He released the line from the raft and shouted for Boy to dive. When the line was released, however, Boy simply stopped. First he looked at Brant then at the ship and then back at Brant. Brant screamed again for him to dive. To Brant’s great relief Boy disappeared. Brant waved and yelled again at the ship. It could lower a line to him within minutes and he would be safe. Upon Boy’s disappearance, however, the whaler turned sharply to the north. The captain apparently saw Bluto.
Brant could not believe the captain of a ship at sea would leave
a man in a raft to chase a whale. Brant didn’t know that just
yesterday this ship had a run-in with the Sea Shepherd’s 24-meter,
high-tech, anti-whaling trimaran. The Sea Shepherd, an activist
organization that had been committed to thwarting whaling operations
on the open sea, had several ships and boats but the trimaran was
its newest. Its new stealth boat was painted so it couldn’t be
recognized by radar and the previous day it had attempted to wrap a
rope around the whaler’s propeller. It almost succeeded but a second
Japanese escort boat managed to fend off the trimaran. The Japanese
must have thought Brant was one of the activist crew members who had
remained to “guard” this group of whales.