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Monday, January 28, 2013

Introducing The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project Field Season 2013: Video

We have an exciting new video on the fun side of being a marine biologist up on our Facebook page. Click here The Unorthodox Whale....Its a really fun video put together by Rachel Sullivan-Lord that will hopefully have you sucked in and waiting for more!

I am trying to figure out how to upload it here (given limited bandwidth) but until such time I hope you will be able to view it at the project's official facebook page!! If you have trouble - leave me a note.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to bring all the excitement to your home!! Come join us on this incredible adventure to protect the world's largest mammal!

All work is conducted under permits from the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka. We thank them for their support and interest in our research and greater conservation goals.


Beware of photo thieves!

Recognise the photo?

This is just a quick blog post to express my dismay at finding my photo plastered on a poster for whale-watching in Mirissa at the place I had lunch today. You can only imagine my shock when I saw it - ESPECIALLY considering it is (a) the opening photo of my blog and (b) on my blog I had carefully watermarked my name on the bottom right. Please note how they have cropped it out. It compels me to start placing my watermark right over the middle of any photograph I post thereby losing some aesthetic appeal but at least preventing misuse of this nature. It is pretty sad that people do not realise that taking other people's photos amounts to stealing....but what else do they think it is? The saddest part is that it is not just small time operators that do this, I recently found a friend's photograph being used by one of the big hotel companies in the country...and of course my friend didn't even know it. 

I am not into recommending whale-watch companies because in all fairness I have not used all the millions that run out of Mirissa BUT I would ask you and your friends to pay careful attention to the name of this company and judge for yourself if they deserve your money.

Thank you for passing by. Please share this story -- More happy stories to come!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dazzling in the deep: A TED Fellows conversation

"We asked three TED Fellows who work in the briny depths — whale researcher Asha de Vos, coral reef biologist Kristen Marhaver and artist Colleen Flanigan — to discuss how science and art are working in tandem to help the world fully appreciate our vanishing marine life."

For the full conversation click here: http://blog.ted.com/2013/01/11/dazzling-in-the-deep-a-fellows-friday-conversation-with-asha-de-vos-kristen-marhaver-and-colleen-flanigan/#more-67207

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Notes from the field: Another life list +1

While every day on the water is very special to me, some days stick out in my memory more than others. Today happened to be just one such day. We were cruising around, taking photographs of the whales for identification purposes, trying to fiddle with our acoustic equipment and suddenly Salva shouts, “what is that?” We turn around quick and there IT was….. A small black stumpy log that was puffing occasionally but otherwise, not doing much. Thankfully Salva started clicking, which is why I have a photo to share with you all. I cannot stress how important it is document unusual sightings in as many ways possible – photographs, behaviour and other notes – this kind of information is what allows us to determine what it is we are seeing. Good thing the team worked rapid fire because before we knew it, that creature had descended into the depths. We all agreed that it was a dolphin of some sort but it was something I hadn’t seen before. Once back at the house, we downloaded the photos and flipped through the pages of our field guide book and based on its behaviour we found it….a dwarf sperm whale! How ridiculously exciting for me!! A new species to add to my life list and such a elusive one at that!

Moments like this remind me of how mysterious the ocean can be and how many secrets we are yet to uncover…it reminds me how lucky we are to live in an age when we can still see these magnificent creatures despite humanity’s cruelty.... It reminds me how very lucky and blessed I am to do what I do and do what I love....thank you for letting me share my adventures with you!

For a more in depth description on this species visit the American Cetacean Society website http://acsonline.org/fact-sheets/pygmy-sperm-whale/  

Making Tony style lemonade

I've always loved Tony Wu's work. I guess its obvious given all the posts and reposts I've done about his photography. Yesterday's photograph is however quite different. When he sent this to me I looked at it and fell in love all over again! It was not crystal clear, there were stars in the water and the image looked more like a painting than a photograph. In my mind, the low vis conditions that we are experiencing off our coast added a further dimension to the image. As it turns out, the image is growing on Tony....he is getting used to it and learning to appreciate the challenge posed to him by mother nature. To me, thats an awesome attitude and the reason he excels at what he does!!

Here is Tony's take on this image and his first day on the water thus far....http://www.tonywublog.com/20130125/blue-whale-balaenoptera-musculus-diving.html#axzz2J2koHHrj

Monday, January 21, 2013

Notes from a future ocean hero

Anaaha convinced her parents to fly out to Sri Lanka from Bangalore to see the blue whales in our waters. Anaaha is just 8 years old. I had the privilege of speaking to her by phone very briefly and was struck by how much she already knew and how curious her mind was. My favourite question - how do you know that that red stuff is the whale's poo?

All credit goes to Anaaha's parents. One day she will appreciate the support they extended to her to achieve her dreams. Enjoy her thoughts on her day on the water off Mirissa.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

All my bags are packed....

Happy new year! I m all set to go but it seems the weather Gods aren't cooperating again :( We have been experiencing inordinate amounts of rain - very unusual for this time of year - and of course Australia is dealing with a ridiculous scale breaking heat wave. Seems like the two places I split my time between are going through a rough spell.

Well, I am all packed and ready to flee south and spend some time on the water. I just hope the weather Gods allow me to do so....in true Asha style, I remain wildly positive.