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见证残酷血腥捕鲸行业的南乔治亚岛

更新时间:2019/6/8 12:55:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A world isolated from life by 1,400km
见证残酷血腥捕鲸行业的南乔治亚岛

“Stay at least 200m away from the whaling station – it’s filled with asbestos and the roofs could literally blow off,” warned expedition leader Nate Small, as we stepped gingerly out of our Zodiac and into the fizzing surf at Stromness Bay, South Georgia. I picked a careful route across the grey-pebble beach, eyeing warily the growling fur seals and slumbering elephant seals, their gargantuan bodies emitting a series of burps, bellows and rumbling bass notes.

“和捕鲸站保持至少200米的距离。捕鲸站满是石棉瓦,屋顶真的可能被狂风吹掉,”旅行团的领队思莫(Nate Small)如此警告我们,此时我们正小心翼翼地走出Zodiac橡皮艇,进入惊涛骇浪嘶吼声不绝于耳的南乔治亚岛(South Georgia)斯特伦内斯湾(Stromness Bay)。上岸后我挑选了一条沿着灰黑色鹅卵石海滩比较好走的路线,小心翼翼地注视着低声咆哮的海豹和正在酣睡的海象,他们庞大的身躯不断地发出打嗝声、嘶吼声和隆隆的低音。

At the far end of the bay, set against a mountain slope and surrounded by bog land, was a cluster of dilapidated, rusty, corrugated iron buildings. Huge sections of the roofs and walls were missing, and those that remained rattled incessantly in the near gale-force wind. It looked as if a natural disaster had struck. I stopped at an ‘Asbestos – Keep Out’ sign and peered through the encroaching mist, my extremities numb from the sub-zero conditions. It was a struggle to picture the station as a thriving community, yet a century ago Stromness was part of a highly profitable – and brutal – industry that transformed South Georgia into the whaling capital of the South Atlantic.

在海湾的远端,背靠一座山坡,被沼泽地包围着的是一群年久失修、褪色起皱的铁房子。大片大片的屋顶和墙壁已经不在了,断垣废墟在近乎七级以上的大风中不断地嘎嘎作响。这里似乎被一场自然灾害洗劫过。我在一块“有石棉瓦,请勿进入”的告示处止步,只能透过越来越浓的雾气朝里望,这时我的四肢在零度低温下已失去知觉。很难想像这个已成废墟的捕鲸站曾是一个生机勃勃的社区。然而在100年前,斯特伦内斯湾曾经见证了一个盈利颇丰并且残暴无情的行业,这一行业将南乔治亚岛变成了南大西洋的捕鲸天堂。

Earlier in my trip, Seb Coulthard, expedition guide and on-board historian for Polar Latitudes, told me how Ernest Shackleton arrived in Stromness in 1916 following his epic 1,300km escape from Elephant Island, one of the South Shetland Islands that lie just north of the Antarctic Peninsula, after his ship was trapped and later crushed by pack ice. For the polar explorer, the whaling station represented civilisation, but today nature is slowly reclaiming it. Fur seals sheltered beside a blubber cooker, king penguins waddled past disintegrating warehouses and skuas (aggressive, dark-brown seabirds) washed themselves in meandering streams that once ran with the blood of tens of thousands of whales.

在我这次旅行的早些时候,我们此行的导游及极地纬度旅行社(Polar Latitudes)在船上的历史学家科尔塔德(Seb Coulthard)向我讲述了爱尔兰南极探险家沙克尔顿(Ernest Shackleton)1916年到达斯特伦内斯湾的故事。沙克尔顿到南极探险,他的船只被浮冰群所困,然后被撞碎,之后他从南极半岛北端的南设得兰群岛中的象岛(Elephant Island),横渡1,300公里的海域,历经漫长而艰辛的旅程之后,终于抵达斯特伦内斯湾获救。对于这位极地探险者来说,南乔治亚岛的捕鲸站代表着人类的文明,但如今,大自然正在慢慢地收复失地。海豹藏身于捕鲸人遗留的用鲸脂炼油的锅具旁边,国王企鹅摇摇晃晃地走过支离破碎的仓库,贼鸥(深褐色掠食性海鸟)在蜿蜒而行的溪流中洗着身子,这些溪流曾经流淌着成千上万头鲸鱼的血液。

A rugged, inhospitable land of glaciers, mountains and fjords, South Georgia is one of the most remote places on Earth. This sub-Antarctic British overseas territory in the South Atlantic is around 1,400km from its nearest inhabited neighbour, the Falkland Islands, and is only accessible by sea. Like me, the majority of the nearly 18,000 people who visit each year are on Antarctic cruises. The island spans 3,755 sq km – less than a fifth of the size of Wales – and around half is covered permanently by ice (though, as a result of climate change, its glaciers are drastically retreating).

这是一块崎岖不平的蛮荒之地,冰川、山脉、峡湾纵横交错,这就是南乔治亚,地球上一处遥不可及的孤岛绝地。这个孤岛是位于南大西洋的次南极英国海外领地,与距离最近的有人居住的邻岛福克兰群岛大约相隔1,400公里。前往南乔治亚只能坐船抵达。每年到访这里的18,000人中大部分都和我一样,是坐南极游轮到达这里。这个岛屿的面积达3,755平方公里,不及威尔士的五分之一,大约有一半土地被冰永久覆盖(不过由于气候变化,这里的冰盖正在急剧消融)。

Despite its isolation and harsh environment, South Georgia was once a vital part of the global economy. First sighted in 1675, this uninhabited island was claimed for Great Britain by James Cook in 1775. His accounts of abundant seal populations aroused the interest of sealers from the UK and the US. In little more than a century, South Georgia’s fur seals were hunted to the verge of extinction. By the early 1900s, sealing was no longer economically viable, but it was quickly replaced by an equally bloody industry.

尽管这个岛屿与世隔绝并且环境恶劣,但是南乔治亚曾经在全球经济当中占有重要一环。这个无人居住的岛屿于1675年首次被发现,在1775年英国探险家库克船长(James Cook)声称该岛屿为大英帝国所有。库克船长对岛上大量海豹种群的描述激起了英美两国捕猎海豹者的兴趣。在不过100年的时间内,南乔治亚的海豹就因猎杀而濒临灭绝。到20世纪初,捕猎海豹从经济上来说已经无利可图,但这一行业却迅速被一个同样血腥的行业取而代之。

The day after my visit to Stromness, my ship sailed south through 75-knot winds to King Edward Cove. Scattered with shipwrecks and mini icebergs, backed by forbidding mountains and obscured by drizzle, this sweeping bay was the location of South Georgia’s first whaling station, Grytviken. Today it is the site of the island’s main settlement, home to the majority of the 15 to 30 people, mostly scientists and government officials, who live on South Georgia at any one time.

就在我到访斯特伦内斯湾的第二天,我的船只就在75节大风中向南航行到了爱德华王湾(King Edward Cove)。这个深广的海湾内散布着遇难船只的残骸和漂浮的小冰山,海湾背靠令人望而却步的山脉,在蒙蒙细雨中若隐若现。这个海湾曾经是南乔治亚第一个捕鲸站古利德维肯(Grytviken)的所在地。如今此海湾是岛上的人类主要聚居点,为15至30岛民中大部分人的家,这些人主要是科学家和政府官员,他们一年四季都在此工作生活。

After paying my respects to Shackleton, who is buried in Grytviken’s small cemetery, I was taken around the decaying whaling station by Finlay Raffle, a curator at the site’s museum. We walked through an industrial landscape of squat towers, warehouses, power plants, mazes of inter-connected pipes, and huge blubber and bone cookers, everything thickly covered with rust. Along the shoreline, ships and boats in varying stages of collapse were pushed up at odd angles by the tide. Chunks of whale bone carpeted the muddy ground.

在我凭吊了沙克尔顿(他葬在古利德维肯的一个小型墓地里)之后,这里的博物馆馆长来福(Finlay Raffle)带我来到日益衰败的捕鲸站转了转。我们穿过一片工业场所,看到低矮的塔楼、仓库、发电站、纵横交错的管道迷宫、巨大的鲸脂及鲸骨熬炼锅具,所有的东西都覆盖上了厚厚的铁锈。沿着海岸线,破败程度各不相同的船只被潮水冲上岸,与海岸线形成了奇奇怪怪的角度。大块大块的鲸骨铺在泥泞不堪的地面上。

In 1902, Norwegian polar explorer Carl Anton Larsen stopped in South Georgia and chanced upon a beautiful natural harbour. After the discovery of several sealers’ try-pots – used to render oil from blubber – the area was named Grytviken (‘Pot Cove’ in Norwegian). “They moored not far off from where your ship is today,” Raffle said. “The only difference was when they looked out over the water they saw hundreds of whales in this bay alone.” With the northern hemisphere whaling industry in decline due to the decimation of whale populations, Larsen spotted a business opportunity. He returned to Grytviken in November 1904 and set up a whaling station, which swiftly prospered. By 1912, there were six other whaling stations on South Georgia, including Stromness.

1902年,挪威的极地探险者拉森(Carl Anton Larsen)在南乔治亚停留期间偶然发现了一处美丽的天然港口。就在发现几位捕猎海豹者的熬油锅(即 try-pot,从鲸脂中熬炼出油的大型锅具)之后,这一地区就被命名为古利德维肯(挪威语中的“锅湾”)。来福说:“他们当时停泊的地方离你们今天船泊位置不远,唯一的不同在于,他们往外望向这片海域时,仅在这一个湾内就看到了好几百头鲸鱼。”由于北半球的捕鲸业因鲸鱼种群的大量死亡而日渐式微,拉森看到了一个商机。他在1904年11月回到古利德维肯,设立了一个捕鲸站,这个捕鲸站迅速繁荣起来。到1912年,南乔治亚已增加了六个捕鲸站,包括斯特伦内斯湾在内。

Narrowly dodging a pair of fur seals, who blended in remarkably well with the rusty machinery, we approached an old whale-catcher. With its steam-powered engine, reinforced hull and mighty harpoon gun, the whaling ship Petrel could capture as many as 14 whales on a single trip. Back at Grytviken, the animals would be winched onto a slipway, the ‘flensing plan’. “It was very slippery with all the blood and oil, so the men wore boots with nails in them to grip properly” Raffle said. “They had a flensing knife – a long, almost hockey stick with a sharp, curved blade, which they used to cut the blubber away.” The whole process took 20 minutes per whale.

我们侥幸避开了一对与生锈的机器融合得几乎浑然天成的海豹,来到一艘老旧的捕鲸船面前。这艘配备有蒸汽发动机、加固船体以及强力鱼叉枪炮的“海燕”号(Petrel)捕鲸船能够在一次航行中捕获多达14头鲸鱼。回到古利德维肯之后,这些动物将会被吊起到船台上,这就是“剥皮计划”。来福说:“鲸鱼的血和油都会把这里弄得非常湿滑,所以捕鲸者穿的靴子底都会钉上钉子,这样才站得稳。他们用一把剥皮刀,一根长长的、像曲棍球那样的棍子,棍子上有锋利的弧形刀片,他们用这个来将鲸脂切下来。”如此处理完每一头鲸需要20分钟。

Initially the whalers were only interested in the blubber, but later regulations forced them to use the whole of the carcass, Raffle explained, pointing out gory rotating blades and a 24-tonne blubber cooker. Although the meat and bone-meal were sold as animal feed and fertiliser, whale oil was the real prize. “The best oils went into food products like margarine and ice cream,” he said. “The second grade went into soap and cosmetics, and the worst was used in industrial processes.” Whale oil also provided glycerol, used in the manufacture of explosives, and high-quality lubricants for rifles, chronometers and other military equipment. As a result, demand soared during World War One and Two.

来福指着沾满血迹的旋转刀片和24吨重的鲸脂熬油锅解释说,捕鲸者起初只对鲸脂感兴趣,但后来的规章制度迫使他们使用整个鲸鱼身体。尽管肉和骨粉可以当做动物饲料和肥料卖掉,但鲸油才是价值连城之物。他说:“最好的鲸油会用于食物产品中,比如说人造黄油和冰淇淋,第二等的鲸油会进入肥皂和化妆品中,最差的则用于工业生产。”鲸油还提供甘油,用于制造炸药以及高品质的步枪、精密计时钟表和其他军用装备的润滑油。结果,对鲸鱼油的需求在两次世界大战中激增。

There were 450 men at Grytviken in its heyday, working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, in temperatures that could plunge below -10C. Larsen was keen to look after their spiritual needs, building an impressive neo-Gothic church. But, said Raffle said, the pastor “was the least employed man on the station”. The cinema, windswept football pitch and ski jump – now just a few bits of broken timber protruding from a hillside – proved rather more popular. The community store, or ‘slop chest’, also provided distractions. “Tobacco was the most popular item but the men also bought lots of cologne,” Raffle said. “Larsen didn’t allow alcohol, so they drank cologne instead. They also had illicit stills, and even got boot polish, squeezed it through bread, and drank the drippings, which apparently also had alcohol. Anything to pass the time.”

在古利德维肯鼎盛时期,这里曾有450人在气温可跌至-10C的环境中每周工作7天,每天12小时轮班倒。拉森热衷于关心他们的精神需求,因此修建了一座壮观的新哥特式教堂。但正如来福所说,牧师“是这个捕鲸站最不需要的受雇者”。实际上,电影院、大风吹袭的足球场和跳台滑雪助滑道(如今只剩下几块残存的木材从山坡上伸出来)更受欢迎。社区商店,或者叫做“小卖部”,同样为人们提供娱乐消遣。来福说:“烟草是最受欢迎的东西,但男人们也买了很多古龙水。拉森不允许捕鲸工人饮酒,所以他们改喝古龙水。他们还有违禁的酒精蒸馏器,甚至还弄来靴子擦亮剂,他们用面包挤压,再把挤出来一滴滴的东西喝掉,显然这里面也有酒精。任何东西都可以用来打发时间。”

Raffle left me at the former manager’s house, a simple, white-washed building that has been turned into the site’s museum. The displays inside contain some stark figures: 175,250 whales were processed on South Georgia between 1904 and 1965, when the industry collapsed due to over-hunting and developments in the petrochemicals industry. If you consider the Antarctic region as a whole and include the many ‘factory ships’ that processed whales on board, almost 1.5 million whales were killed between 1904 and 1978, when hunting of the species eventually ended.

来福把我留在前经理的房子里,这是一幢简单的白漆房屋,现已变成这里的博物馆。里面的陈列包括一些赤裸裸的严酷数字:1904至1965年间,17万5,250头鲸鱼在南乔治亚被处理;这一时期,捕鲸业由于过度捕猎和石油产品的发展最终崩溃。如果你把南极地区看成一个整体,并把许多在船上处理鲸鱼的“工厂船”也算进去,那么在南极地区差不多有150万头鲸鱼在1904至1978年间被捕杀,而对这一物种的猎杀也终于画上了句号。

Whale populations haven’t recovered. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) says blue whale numbers in the southern hemisphere have fallen from as many as 200,000 to the ‘low thousands’; fin whales have undergone a similar decline. There are an estimated 60,000 humpbacks in the southern hemisphere, but this is also far lower than the pre-whaling era. In September 2018, IWC plans for a South Atlantic whaling sanctuary were rejected by pro-whaling countries. Japan later announced it will resume commercial whaling for the first time in three decades, prompting global outrage.

鲸鱼数量至今仍未恢复到人类大量捕杀之前的水平。国际捕鲸委员会(IWC)表示,南半球的蓝鲸数量从高达20万只下降到了今天的“区区几千”之数;长须鲸数量的下降也相似。人们估计南半球的座头鲸数目现为60,000,但这一数字同样远远低于捕鲸时代以前。在2018年9月,IWC计划设立一个南大西洋捕鲸禁区,但赞成捕鲸的国家拒绝该计划。随后,日本过了30年首次宣布将重启商业捕鲸,引来全球公愤。

The plight of the whales is undeniably bleak, but in other respects, South Georgia has become an improbable model of conservation. One of the world’s largest marine reserves, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area, was created here in 2012 to protect more than one million sq km of the surrounding waters, while seal numbers have bounced back: the island now has 98% of the world’s Antarctic fur seals and roughly 50% of its elephant seals.

毋庸置疑的是,鲸鱼的现状令人沮丧,但在其他方面,令人难以置信的是,南乔治亚已成为一个海洋生态保护典范。南乔治亚和南桑威奇群岛(South Sandwich Islands)海洋保护区是世界上最大的海洋保护区之一,于2012年设立,目的是要保护100多万平方公里的周边海域。此外,此海域的海豹数量也已反弹回升:如今岛上拥有全球98%的南极海豹和约50%的海象。

South Georgia also has 30 million breeding pairs of seabirds. During my visit, I spent a morning at St Andrews Bay in the company of 400,000 king penguins – one of four penguin species found on the island – and an afternoon on Prion Island, an important breeding site for wandering albatrosses. Last year, South Georgia was declared rodent-free after a pioneering eradication programme, which the authorities hope will allow birds like the endemic South Georgia pipit and South Georgia pintail to flourish.

南乔治亚还有3,000万对海鸟在此繁殖后代。在我到访期间,我在圣安德鲁斯湾(St Andrews Bay)40万只国王企鹅(该岛发现的四个企鹅物种之一)的陪伴下度过了一个早晨,并在普里昂岛(Prion Island)四处漫游的信天翁的一个重要繁殖地度过了一个下午。在去年当局宣布一项开创性的灭鼠计划后,南乔治亚岛现在已无啮齿动物。当局希望消灭鼠类将使这个海岛特有的南乔治亚鹨和南乔治亚针尾鸭这样的海鸟能重获生机。

Despite the profusion of wildlife, it was the island’s whaling heritage that remained foremost in my mind as I sailed out of Grytviken. “When you walk about these stations all you see are these rusting boilers, blubber cookers and bone saws,” Coulthard said. “It’s a bittersweet irony in that it was a terrible, brutal industry, yet nature took its sweet revenge by reclaiming it. It’s a reminder that nature doesn’t need human beings; we need nature.”

尽管岛上有众多的野生动植物,而当船驰出古利德维肯海湾时,在我心中分量最重的却还是要数该岛的捕鲸遗产。科尔塔德说:“当你在这些捕鲸站周围走动的时候,你所看到的全是这些生锈的锅炉、炼鲸脂的锅具和骨头锯子。这是一种苦中带甜的讽刺,因为这是一个可怕而又残暴的行业,然而大自然通过让这里回归自然本真的方式来了一记温柔的报复。这提醒着我们,大自然不需要人类;而我们却需要大自然。”

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