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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Came in Black

Andrew Perry
Quartermaster, Steve Irwin

A few days ago Christmas came early for the Steve Irwin. And it came in black.  And fast.  At last the Ady Gil was with us in the Southern Ocean.  It's an ominous sight: sleek, black, and almost insect looking - a super-fast stealth trimaran.  Stealthy, because not only does it have speed, but it also has radar resistance.  Only within two miles of our ship could we detect it on our radars.  Which makes it the perfect vessel for reconnaissance.

That's just part of its operational value. It also brings us morale.  Two vessels mean two areas of ocean that can be covered.  It also means support and back up to both vessels.  It means that this year we on the Steve Irwin aren't alone down here in our quest to oppose and obstruct the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.  Last year, having been abandoned in what tenuous solidarity there once was from Greenpeace and the Australian government, it felt very lonely down here.  This is a vast and wild space.  And all the vaster and wilder when you're alone and outnumbered eight-to-one.

Yes, its arrival was a welcomed and joyous site to behold for us.  But for illegal whale poachers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, no doubt it will be a foreboding and sobering sight when fate in the form of the Ady Gil catches up with them - for we in the Steve Irwin will not be far behind.  To quote Agent Smith from The Matrix, “that is the sound of inevitability!”