RIMPAC's Sounds in the Ocean
Every two years, navies from around the world arrive in Hawaii’s oceans to conduct military maneuvers called RIMPAC. The sounds made are those of 54 naval vessels from 22 nations and the tests they run.
It's been a while since my last post, because of delivery problems, so thanks for hanging in there with me. It was about how sounds made by humans affect whales, especially those that use echolocation to feed and navigate. Potential danger to whales’ hearing and the risk of strandings, like those that followed RIMPAC 2004, is of concern to most whale experts.
So far there is 1 report of a stranded pilot whale on July 27th, yet to be investigated.
War of the Whales
A detailed story of how military sounds are affecting whales is now available in the well-reviewed War of the Whales by Joshua Horwitz. He tells the novel-like story of two men’s efforts to link a major whale stranding to Navy sonar use.
I loved the inspiration of how individuals can make a difference. Ken Balcomb’s survey of whales in the Bahamas provided critical observations and facts about whale life. Joel Reynold of the National Resources Defense Counsel used legal savvy to increase the transparency and accountability of the Navy’s actions.
For me, the book is pretty balanced and not out to make the Navy the bad guy. The depth of background includes how the Navy, since World War II, has also been the source of most of what we know about whales. A book well worth your time for summer reading.