My first Marine Mammal Monday post won’t be an intense & educational one. The main reason being that no bugger’s following me as yet so there’s not much point writing a long-winded (& educational) article if nobody’s going to see it. Also, it’s getting towards the festive season and I don’t want to bring people down with my first proper blog post. It’s bad enough when I get up in the morning to open my twitter feed & read how many more dolphins have been slaughtered in Taiji without bringing people down with my funk.
Therefore this post will be a little about my foray into the marine mammal world.
Growing up there was only one career choice for me & that was biologist. However, I could have wandered down any number of speciality paths. I could have been a palaeontologist… dinosaurs are awesome & I had a good few books on them. I could have been an entomologist… many an hour was spent routing in the foliage catching insects & bugs. Or I could have been an exobiologist… I could spend hours imagining weird & amazing life forms.
No interest in the marine yet.
Then, in my teens, I started to become more aware of environmental issues & the treatment of animals by people. Even before my teens I started cutting out meat. When I was still a young girl at primary school we used to walk past a field of lambs and every day I would call out to them “baaaaaa” & the little lambs would call “baaaaaa” back & come running. Then one day the field was empty. I asked my mum where the lambs could have gone & my mother (being her bluntly honest self) told me they had probably gone off to be slaughtered for food. I never ate lamb again. I became a full-fledged veggie by age 12 (I dabbled in veganism when I was at uni but chocolate got the better of me).
I learnt about the evils of vivisection, farm animal transport & the tropical animal trade. I also learnt about the grind in the Faeroe Islands. Watching, what I soon found out to be, highly intelligent & social animals being brutally butchered in the name of tradition, whilst the sea turned red with blood, had a profound effect on me. I started to learn more about their cetacean cousins, discovered more about dolphin intelligence & listened to cassettes (for any youngsters reading this think of cassettes as old fashioned, physical, mp3’s) of eerie humpback whale song.
The passion was born. I wanted to study dolphins & whales!
At first I wasn’t sure how to go about it. My initial plan was to study veterinary medicine & go via that route. My career councillor was not exactly a font of all knowledge. Quite by chance I read an interview, in a teenage magazine, with a young lad off Baywatch (I think that’s right… it was a LONG time ago). In it he said how much he liked marine life & wanted to be a marine biologist.
Bingo!! I had a profession to follow.
So now after several years at university I have a degree in marine biology & coastal ecology & a MSc in marine mammal science &… I’m unemployed.
Before moving to Amsterdam I was lucky enough to spend the last three years as a volunteer photo ID officer at the CBMWC. I got to know many of the dolphins by sight, followed their friendships & was over-joyed when familiar animals had new calves. If anybody’s interested a zip file of the photo ID catalogue can be downloaded here. Be warned, it’s a big file!
Being in Amsterdam I miss the marine biologist part of my life. Despite being in a country built on water, surrounded by water & has water running through it (&, more often than not, falling on it) there doesn’t seem to be much call for marine biologists. I send my CV to universities… & nothing. I sign up to job agencies… & nothing. I check university job listings… & nothing. Needless to say this is very frustrating & without educational challenges my mind (my ability to concentrate & my intelligence) is suffering. I’m in danger of becoming a slob-on-a-couch & I do not want that to happen. Hopefully the New Year will see my luck changing.
Okay, so I wasn’t going to write a long article but I find when I start typing it’s hard to stop. this was cathartic… in a way of sorts.
One more thing… As I said yesterday, I have finally broken myself of my Cityville addiction. This has left me more time to read. I like a good read & treated myself to a Kindle. Best thing ever! Anyhow, I finally finished reading my Discworld novel (see below). Why’s this important? Because now I’m reading The Voice of the Dolphins by Hardy Jones. This paragraph just got marine mammal related. Hopefully I’ll have finished it by next Marine Mammal Monday & can give my opinion of it. There we go. I have a topic ready for next week 😀
From the true beginning of the universe to the end of “humanity”. The Science of Discworld takes us through this journey in 2 ways. First is via our own beginnings… from the big bang, the creation of atoms, the creation of worlds, the evolution of life & the evolution of intelligence. The second is comparing this through a parallel narrative set in the Unseen University where the wizards are studying a newly-formed universe in a ball. This is to help our own mind-boggling science seem a little easier to comprehend.
I enjoyed the wizard’s story part of the book. The early physics parts made me remember why I quit A-level physics (my brain tended to steam quite a bit). as soon as we hit biology & evolution I was in my element.
A good way to get to know & understand the formation of EVERYTHING.
Shame about the crabs!
Writing again Wednesday. Tuesday’s my useless job-searching day.