• Captain Neil McDermott

Surrounded by Whale Geeks - Like Me, Down Under!

I had the immense pleasure of attending the World Cetacean Alliance, (WCA) - World Whale Conference in an amazing place. Hervey Bay, Australia (to us Yanks it pronounced like Harvey). This place is so whale centric in every way. I must have seen 15 sculptures of various compositions of humpback whale tails and even had the special pleasure of attending the unveiling of an aboriginal artists rendition made entirely of bamboo. Numerous shops and retail outlets also had names that are iterations of the whale theme.  

The presentations were from scientist, researchers, whale watching operators, NGO’s and governmental agencies from around the planet. The networking and being able to sponge up as much info being presented that my old brain could handle was energizing. The passion and dedication I witnessed amongst the delegates and partners helped me recognize that I needed to make a change.

The theme of the conference was, “Journey’s That Inspire Change” and, it sure did. When I signed up for the conference, I wanted to know what I could do to make a change. What could I learn? What practice(s) can I emulate? What can I take back with me to make things better? Little did I know, I was getting in the way of the most important change needed

I had one of those lightbulb illuminating moments of change. It came on out of the blue. Perhaps it was the words of the speaker at that moment that made it happen. But, suddenly on the last day of presentations I realized I needed to change the me. That my pride at being, ”THE ONLY” company in our area that partners with organizations such as the WCA and NOAA’s Whale SENSE stands in the way of being of service to the whales I love. My ego was getting in the way of not only my company’s sustainability but Sitka’s sustainability as a whale watching site. I need to help spread the message and encourage other operators in beautiful Sitka to become a part of these types of organizations.  Wish me luck, I know community organization is not this Jersey boy’s strong suit.

Here’s an amazing video glimpse of the conference:    https://youtu.be/CdUcZbBKXk8

The picture while doing my favorite pastime while in Hervey Bay… whale watching. NOTE: how much whiter the Humpbacks are down under.


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A Whale's Song Expeditions

Sitka, Alaska

"Our vessel adheres to the Alaska Humpback Whale Approach regulations and does not intentionally approach whales within 100 yards"