The true story behind
The story of the two Gray Whales rescued from the ice in Alsaka in 1988 has profound significance for the birth of The Oceania Project.
International rescue mission of
two Gray Whales
found nearly frozen in the ice off Barrow, Alaska
in October 1988.
In July 1988 we had completed our involvement in an Australian Bicentennial Project - The Re-enactment of the Voyage of the First Fleet - and decided to spent three months travelling the world meeting people who had become involved with whales and dolphins.
In September 1988 we were visiting Tenerife in the Canary Island meeting with friends. One day we were in a small cafe at the waterfront when we noticed images of Gray Whales on the television. The voices were in spanish but the images conveyed something beyond words and we watched in amazement over the next few weeks as the rescue mission of the Gray Whales unfolded and caught the attention of the world.
To Trish and I, it seemed the event was a confirmation of our intent to dedicate our energies to the care and conservation of whales and dolphins. For us the timing of the rescue was uncanny and we felt there was more to this event than was being told in the media.
In December 1988 we arrived on the northwest coast of the USA and travelled to the San Juan Islands to meet Jim Nollman of Inter Species Communication. It transpired that Jim had been asked to participate in the rescue mission so we obtained a first hand account of, and fascinating insights into, the rescue mission.
On our return to Australia and Byron Bay in early 1989 we met three wonderful American women, who have become eternal friends, two from Maui, Starheart & Lili Townsend, and one from Taos, Martha Woodbury, an artist.
It turned out the three of them shared our love and concern for whales and dolphins. In the course of sharing stories and experiences Martha told us an extraordinary story of a man, we now know to be Beau Ives, who had been moved to conduct a ritual with Crystals on the ice in the far reaches of northern Alaska. The place Beau was attracted to turned out to be the exact spot where later the two Gray Whales became trapped.
It wasn't till August 1988 that we found ourselves in Hervey Bay undertaking the first Expedition to the Humpback Whales aboard a beautiful one hundred year old sailing vessel 'Anna Kristina' (how we got there is another story). Several weeks into the Expedition a women joined for a week. Her name is Elizabeth Crennen, now another eternal friend, she was quiet and constantly meditating alone at various places aboard the ship. One morning she came to me and asked if Trish and I would mind if she placed crystals around the vessel as part of a healing ritual. She also showed us a huge and beautiful piece of Chrysoprase crystalline quartz, which she said had been obtained from a mine which ran into and under Hervey Bay. She asked if it would be possible to leave this in the bay for the whales.
Remembering Martha's story about Beau Ives and the Gray Whales we said yes and suggested it be done quietly and with reverence and ritual, Eizabeth agreed. The next day we went of from the ship in a small zodiac, there were five of us aboard. We stopped in the middle of Hervey Bay and began a simple ritual, Elizabeth asked if I might say a few words before we left the Crystal at the bottom of Hervey Bay. I remember talking about the need for healing between the Cetacean Nation and the Nation of all Humanity for acts done 'without the connected consciousness of all life' and formed a prayer that the presence, of this gift of Crystal, may serve as a symbol that Hervey Bay become a meeting place between Humans and Cetacea where a process of healing and reunion will occur.
In our first colour magazine 'Sounds of Oceania' in 1990, Trish wrote a story called 'Communion with Whales' which talked about Cyrstals and included the following quote:
"We recently heard about an american who flew in his own corporate jet to Alaska and with the help of indigenous people dropped a large Crystal in a remote area. He was 'told' that this Crystal would play an important part in the process of bringing peace between the U.S.S.R and the U.S.A. some weeks later two Gray Whales became trapped in the ice at precisely that location. Their fate caught the attention of the world and you know the rest!!!"
On the 11th April 1999 - ten years after hearing Martha's story and the year of our 10th Whale & Dolphin Expedition to Hervey Bay - we received an email from Beau Ives alerting us to an 'unknown but true story' behind the rescue of the Gray Whales.
Throughout the last ten years there have been many times Trish and I have been faced with pressures that lead us to question our committment to the whales, at those time the images of those Gray Whales flood into our minds and we recall Beau Ives story......it has been a sustaining focus! Thank you Beau!