Our Maritime Connection with Australia & New Zealand

All across the Pacific Ocean, both Ecuador and Australia share lots in common. Perhaps biodiversity, ancient aboriginals, unique landscapes, or even the mutual liking of INXS, Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Kylie Minogue, can be our reason for connection. However, nothing is more obvious than the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and the many marine ecosystems we share. Both nations have been keen at protecting the ocean, and not only with many reasons for it, but with a lot of conviction. In one end, there’s the Galapagos Archipelago, second-largest Marine Reserve in the planet (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), and also declared Whale & Shark Sanctuary, plus the coastal ecosystems along mainland Ecuador, and then thousands of miles away the gem of the Great Barrier Reef, and the surrounding marine platforms of both Australia and New Zealand.
Back in history, many sailors did experience these two regions, although both are quite remote. The mid-late 1800’s and even the early 1900’s played a very interesting role in the early financial aspects of the Galapagos: it attracted whalers. The islands offered not just good whaling opportunities, but also a reliable source of fresh food, the giant tortoises. A great number of these brave sailors did travel down the Pacific and made it first to Russell, New Zealand (aka, the hell hole of the Pacific), and then off to Australia. This route was rather compulsory for the majority of whalers. Despite the fact that impact was left on whales’ populations, nothing has been more destructive than human impact on the marine environment where whales live, and additional stress on whales’ numbers as hunting continues in few countries. Whales are not easy animals to track, or to understand their behaviour, or even their population recovery. Cetaceans are unique mammals of our Planet, and awareness, as well as protection of their habitat is indeed needed. Cetaceans may well be the greatest gauges for monitoring our ocean’s health, and survival of these species is certainly connected with the survival of mankind itself.
This is the background on why we decided to partner with the Australian National Maritime Museum (Sydney). Two amazing exhibitions have just been opened at the museum, and these are worth attending because of their powerful message. When you explore beautiful Darling Harbour, make sure you spend quality time at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and see the whale exhibits: Beautiful Whale by photographer Bryant Austin (April 11, 2014 through February 11, 2015), and Amazing Whales! – Evolution & Survival by the Muséum National d’Historie Naturelle in Paris (through July 2014). Exhibit attendees will have a chance to win a Six Day Galapagos expedition on board the MV Santa Cruz, and this voyage is the one that explores the western side of the islands, where most whale encounters occur. We are glad to have partnered with the Australian National Maritime Museum, and their monumental efforts in both awareness and conservation. Whales are here to stay!
Follow the Museum’s activities online at www.anmm.gov.au
Read the Museum’s Signals online magazine at www.anmm.gov.au/signals

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