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Higher Calling

Andrew Perry
Quartermaster, Steve Irwin

Andrew PerrySo we're off and out of Storm Bay heading for Antarctica once again.  We have just finished a three-day/two-night refuel and restock in Hobart, Tasmania.  The stopover was an important and valuable one.

We arrived at a time when Hobart is at its nautical best.  Yachts participating in the world famous Sydney to Hobart race were coming in (as were those of the lesser-know Melbourne to Hobart and Launceston to Hobart), the French icebreaker which is based in Hobart, L'Astrolabe, arrived just ahead of us, and in the next berth.  And a huge cruise liner was also in town.  The waterfront of Hobart's CBD was alive with ships, sailboats, seafarers, locals and tourists.  And most crew got to spend a little time enjoying this atmosphere, unwinding, and preparing for their next leg of campaign; I myself got to spend a day and two nights with my beautiful wife.

And Hobart once again opened its door and its hearts to us.  Thanks to some very kind and accommodating supporters we were able to restock and rebuild.  Much of what we needed was donated or sold at discount prices, with many individuals and businesses donating their time and expertise also.  And thanks to such support from local IT businesses and professionals we now go back to sea with a much-improved wireless room, bridge and communications infrastructure, which is of particular importance and comfort considering where we go and what we do.

But as enjoyable as Hobart and its hospitality was in all its festive summertime glory, its the Antarctic cold and remoteness that calls us now, each one of us more than willing to forgo NYE in Hobart to make way to the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the whales that inhabit them.  For in our minds the whole time, even whilst enjoying a beer, a relax and the company of friends, loved ones or just each other in convivial surrounds, were the whales and the savagely inhumane and illegal fates that would otherwise go unimpeded and undocumented were we not there.  And right now, we are not there.  So with all eagerness and readiness we resume our campaign for the whales, and for the brutal fragility of the Antarctic biosphere.

I was asked a few days ago by an Animal Planet cameraman if I had a message for the Japanese Whalers.  My answer concluded with the assertion that we will not be stopped in our quest to financially sink their operations, and that we WILL ultimately succeed in our objectives.  And I am sure of this because where as they are down there merely doing a job, we are down there on a much higher calling and commitment... and passion will always trump a pay-cheque!

Antarctica:  here we come.  Whalers: watch out!



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