UnNews:Pilot whales stripped of rating
22 May 2011
GLASGOW, Scotland: Today, the Scottish division of the Maritime Skills Association issued a press release to the effect that as of now, a group of cetaceans operating in the Western Isles may not describe themselves as 'pilots' and may no longer offer their services in any professional maritime role.
The release goes on to say that [piloting is] the art of safely guiding a vessel through restricted waterways such as inlets, harbours and lochs. It requires a very high standard of navigational skills, plus an intimate knowledge of the local coastline topology, and an awareness of the hazards likely to be encountered. We are keen to ensure that only those with the necessary standard of seamanship should lay claim to being a maritime pilot. Therefore, these whales need to change their name to something else.
Several suggestions were put forward, but in the interests of politeness we do not reprint them here.
Meanwhile, Loch Carnan coastguard skipper Rodel Harris commented. "The total and utter hopelessness of their navigational skills beggars belief. They couldn't even find their way across an average-sized ornamental duckpond." He then added, "Pilots, my foot. Their behaviour is more typical of that class of leisure sailor who ventures out into conditions he or she doesn't understand, gets into difficulty, and has to call rescue services."
Meanwhile a whale spokesperson emitted a series of trills and whistles which roughly translate as "Well, I was just following the one in front.I assumed he knew where he was going."
- BBC "Whales at risk of beaching on South Uist leave loch". BBC News, May 21, 2011