Thursday, February 25, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Wednesday, February 24, 2010)

A whale rescue is just part of the day for the crew and passengers of a ferry, Hobiyee is set to get underway this weekend and the SPCA has plans to remain open for the remainder of 2010, some of the items of note for Wednesday's news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
LOCALS RESCUE BABY WHALE NEAR SMITH ISLAND-- A north coast whale rescue  is the subject of the Daily News' front page efforts for Wednesday, as George T. Baker recounts the work of Captain Dean Robinson and Taylor Ryan along with a number  of passengers aboard the regular Kitkatla to  Prince Rupert ferry run.

A review of the weekend of extra curricular activities associated with the All Native Basketball Tournament as the Daily  detailed the crowds for post game celebrations as they took to the streets of the city post bar closure time, festivities that for the most part the Daily reports caused few problems for the 20 plus officers on patrol during the overnight period over the weekend. In addition to the display of basketball skill and cultural activities the tournament is expected to have injected close to 4 million dollars into the local economy.

A preview of Hobiyee, the Nisga'a celebration of the New Year which is taking place in Prince Rupert this weekend, the two day festival will be centered mostly at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.

The sports section played a little catch up with the weekend events of the high school basketball season, with a review of the PRSS Junior Boys oh so close quest for the zones banner and the successful championship season for the PRSS Junior Girls. There was a review of the end of the high school wrestling season as well and Patrick Witwicki shared his thoughts on the recently completed All Native Basketball Tournament.

( Archive for Daily News Articles for February 24, 2010 )

The Northern View
BC SPCA committed to keeping Prince Rupert shelter open through 2010--
Despite drastically decreasing financials, the BC SPCA has offered reassurance that for the remainder of 2010 at least the local animal shelter will remain open, the shelter's fate came up for discussion in the community in the wake of a funding shortfall and recently announced reductions in grant totals from the city of Prince Rupert (see story here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Suicidal Woman Rescued by Traffic Services Officer -- The timely intervention of a Terrace based RCMP officer has resulted in the rescue of a suicidal woman in the Hazeltons (see article here)

CBC Radio British Columbia, Daybreak North
Kermode Cam-- The CBC discovers more about the Kermode cam set up Harreson and Stephanie Waymen, who hope to observe the behavior of a rare Kermode bear, as it prepares to leave the slumber of its winter den (listen to interview here)

The full list of current Daybreak North Interviews can be found here.

Daily News, front page, headline story
Locals rescue baby whale near Smith Island
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

They didn’t trust what they were seeing at first.

Captain Dean Robinson and Taylor Ryan are fairly seasoned seamen, but even they had never come across such a pitiful sight on the ocean – a baby humpback whale dragging a crab float rope around its fluke.

Although the two men had always suspected there would come a day when they’d encounter a whale in some sort of distress, they were still skeptical as they approached the whale, thinking it was simply a wayward crab float that had somehow wandered eastbound from Hecate Strait.

Except that these crab floats were moving fairly fast and as Ryan said, “crab floats aren’t supposed to move at all. That’s the whole point of crab floats. The only time they are moving is when they are filled with crabs or something.”

“Well, we could see in fact that it was a whale when we approached because it was spouting out water,” recounted Ryan.

Robinson and Ryan came across the entangled whale near the west coast of Smith Island on a normal ferry run from Kitkatla to Prince Rupert last week. The whale was struggling mightily to free itself, but as Robinson got a closer look he said he could tell that the baby was losing the fight.

Realizing that they could be the whale’s last hope, and realizing he hadn’t much time to spare, Robinson pulled the rope carefully off of the fluke. Ryan and passenger William Stewart, one of 20 passengers making their way from Kitkatla to Rupert that day, helped him by pulling back rope and gathering in the floats.

Forty years ago, humpback whales were placed on the endangered species list across the globe after governments feared the mammal had been hunted to near extinction.

Hunting whales in Canada is illegal, but whales are still facing obstacles out on the water - including large ocean vessels and fishing tools such as nets, traps and rope.

Last year, local tour guide Doug Davis brought a dead baby humpback into harbour after he found it floating by Lucy Island.

The skeletal remains will be donated to the Northwest Community College campus in Prince Rupert. How this one got caught in the crab float isn’t known. But Ryan wasn’t surprised, reflecting back on it.

“Yeah, it has probably happened more than once with a crab float in Hecate Strait, but we’ve never seen it before,” said Robinson.

Luckily, this baby did not meet the same fate as the last one. Although the young whale was alone and not with its pod, Ryan said that once it was freed, the whale moved away slowly and then gradually picked up speed.

“When we were working to free it, it just sort of laid there calm, like it knew we were there to help,” said Ryan on Sunday as he fished for bass by the Metlakatla ferry dock.

No comments: