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September 9, 2018

The Visit

BY: Jorge Blanco


© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell


With Swedish waters behind us, we set-off for the second part of expedition in Finland. Our welcome here couldn’t have been any better: just a few miles after crossing the “border”, we arrived in an Marine Protected Area (MAP) for seals. Anchoring isn’t allowed within a MAP, so we anchored northeast of the zone and, within a few minutes, had our first visit…

A gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) approached to the boat. Innately curious, gray seals can’t help but get close to anything new in their environment. None-the-less, this seal stopped short and watched us from a distance, within the MAP, as if it knew that an imaginary line protects seals from the strange creatures that walk upright and need air tanks to breathe underwater.

Because that´s how we humans are: we need someone to create a MPA, we need for someone to tells us (and repeat it thousands of times) that it’s bad to destroy the environment, and we need that they give us 1000 reasons why we need to protect it—as if the simple fact of coexisting in the same environment wasn’t enough.

God willing the day will arrive when we won’t need protected areas because we learned to respect and take care of our beautiful planet, that, aside from being all that we “have”, I think is starting to get sick and tired of us.