Definitely a (very) early contender for my book of the year, Leviathan by Philip Hoare, a strange and beautiful history of whaling, with a strong emphasis on the construction of Moby Dick by Melville. It was nice reading again about places like Boston, Concord and New England, which I saw for the first time last year, but the overall impression of this book is an immense sadness at what humans can do to nature.

Watching for whales

Received some nice news this week in that my new poem Watching was commended in the The Inverawe Outdoors Poetry Competition for 2007, a competition for nature poetry.

I wrote the poem about a whale watching experience a year or so ago when local radio was announcing lots of sightings of a whale in Port Phillip Bay off Mornington. I found myself, with a group of like minded strangers, standing on a hill in the cold, scanning the grey water for signs of other life. Needless to say we didn’t see a thing and after about an hour we all started drifting back to our cars.

The picture above is what we all hoped to see, but didn’t! It’s a sperm whale diving from FLICKR I’ll post the poem sometime too.

Just back from a week away surfing …

Just back from a week away surfing and doing a bit of writing down the West Coast; the sight of a large whale close offshore the highlight of the week for me. It was just beyond the breakers and we were driving back from Apollo Bay and saw a few people standing by the side of the road looking out to sea, so we pulled over and sure enough there it was; spouting and big enough for the waves to break along its back I thought! It spouted air a few times and we watched it for a while then drove on. Just as we were driving into Lorne we looked out and saw over a hundred dolphins in three big groups all heading somewhere in excitement it seemed to me! Next day, surfing near Fairhaven we saw another whale, this time further out. It was pretty amazing; driving along and seeing a whale.

Whale Spotting in Australia