|Monday, February 22, 2010|
Sweet Valentines Day
Although no one bothered sending me roses on the pirate ship or even an email, it was a very sweet valentines day. In the days since, all the action days seem blurred into one… but we had a very successful day. The boat launch was as smooth as it has ever been, and our actions very successful.
We exchanged Valentines Day presents with the crew of the Bob… both crews seem to be happily wed in a mutual appreciation society. We sent them brownies and a signed photo card; and received love heart cakes in return. Aaaawwww. We love the Bob.
5am was pitch black on deck, no moon, cloud cover- an advantage in the element of surprise needed for our crazy plan, but somewhat problematic for using the crane to lift a jet ski into the freezing southern ocean. Hell, lets do it anyway.
After a briefing the night before we awoke for a meeting at 4:30am. Pete Bethune was in the middle of last minute preparations, readying himself to attempt to board the Shonan Maru and place the Captain under citizen’s arrest for sinking his ship, the Ady Gil.
As I groped my way up onto the bow of the pitching ship, slipping and sliding, near the edge of the ship to feed the bow line through the cleats in the pitch black, I had one of those surreal moments: ‘am I really doing this?’ and ‘am I really part of this crazy plan?’ Then the moment of sanity passed and I went back down to assist with the launch, and the crazy plan worked.
After ducking back into the galley to get breakfast happening the morning was spent laughing hysterically at the footage of the person on the bridge of the Shonan who came out and shooed Pete away whilst looking around be-fuddled about how on earth this strange bald dude just ended up on their ship.
A bunch of volunteers had launched a high risk operation in the middle of the night, winched a jet ski by crane off the deck in the pitch black, gotten through the security spikes and netting on the whaling fleets ‘security’ ship, recovered the jet ski back onto the ship, sat down and had breakfast and a cup of tea and heard how the operation went, then sent the helicopter up to actually get footage of Pete entering the wheelhouse after hiding on their deck for over an hour. And these guys are the trained security vessel?
Still no whales killed and an increasingly stinky and spotty Nisshin Maru. We are well into our second week of tracking the slaughterhouse, and I’m sure they are getting a bit cranky with us by now.
A big day.
We stopped the Nisshin Maru in its tracks. Literally. For half an hour the massive slaughterhouse was still amidst the dead calm of the morning. We had deployed a stern line to keep them away from us, and then as we crossed in front of them, fearful of being entangled they came to a dead stop. We spent some time circling the factory ship and in the stillness between us and them, an amazing sight: whales. Breaking through the glassy surface of the early day, they showed up to remind us again, why we are here.
We had started the day at 530am and we only just finished up for the day at 10pm or so.
Once the ship started to move again we took advantage of the clear conditions and targeted their engine ventilation systems with our water cannon – hoping to slow them down, or at least douse them with some salt water. It was our best effort yet; six or seven passes, the last couple being within very close range brought steam pouring out of the Nisshin’s ventilation shafts. We stayed up in position for quite some time…long enough to start feeling the cold, and stop feeling my hands… all three of us were soaked through, as the workers on the Nisshin Maru started targeting us directly with their water cannons as we came closer. Once again, showing that, whilst we go out of our way to avoid injuring people; they go out of their way to injure us. Brian had his visor blasted away by the sheer force of the water and my head was also knocked back, bruising my chin.
The Nisshin was subject to a very smelly and colorful afternoon. They have come out with a spot of measles…red dots appearing all over them; and they smell kind of sick. Our boat team has absolutely nailed the art of darting in under and around their water cannons, launching stink bomb attacks directly up the slipway. An amazing and successful and tiring day.
Very rough weather. Although good for robot dancing on slippery galley floors, it is not so good for many other activities. Even just sitting in chairs is dangerous lest you get thrown across the room. It is all the more frustrating when it hits suddenly; we had been enjoying a calm patch, and most of us woke up early morning to be thrown around our bunks, various detritus of cabins rattling around.
Storm outlook: 70 knot winds, 6 or 7 meter swells and very simple beans and rice.
Sunday 21st February
Galley tip number 17: When you wake up tired at 6am don’t mistake the container of icing sugar for baking powder as it makes for quite lame scones.
Made more hot sauce today, this time not making the same mistakes: I wore plastic gloves whilst prepping the chilies in front of a cheesy TV series. The last time I couldn’t sleep because my hands were burning so badly from the last batch I made. We will be swapping some crew and provisions with the Bob tomorrow… so I might have to send them some hot sauce. So hot right now.