On Wednesday 23rd September 1857, the good people of a seaside town awoke to find “the carcase of a whale 42 feet long” on their beach. The sleepy resort town, priding itself on its royal connections, its well kept beach and the manicured riviera-style gardens and lawns was now home to a leviathan. The Illustrated London news reported that it was towed along the beach “and is now on show there, astonishing those who go to see it by its vast proportions”.
What species of whale it was is lost to history but it’s one of many moments in time where the ocean has delivered up a message; a message that infiltrated our human sense of comfort with its bulk, sheer looming presence and, no doubt, its smell. As a race, what messages are we sending back?
In October of 2012, something else will wash up on the seafront of Brighton: WhaleFest. This blog, with the help of writers, artists, photographers, poets, scientists and film makers will be exploring this and other questions. Check back soon or visit the Planet Whale site to follow the team on facebook or twitter as they prepare for this event, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the global whaling moratorium.