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Operation Waltzing Matilda Crew Blog

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

January Galley Update- 3rd Leg

Nicola Paris
Galley, Steve Irwin

We have not been able to write as we were trying not to disclose our location; and tip the whaling fleet off to our whereabouts – so we carefully entered the waters off Kerguelen Island for our rendezvous with our sister ship, then quietly made our way back to Australia, unable to advise of our location until a day before we hit shore. Here is a brief rundown on the last few weeks...

Kerguelen Island

It is our first sight of land in weeks; and the mountain looms out of the fog bank as if we were about to visit an island inhabited by fantastical creatures...or at least crazy scientists.

In fact, it is used as a French military base and research station and we are here to meet with our second ship, the Bob Barker... to take on the crew of the Ady Gil and leave them with provisions.  It has been decided it will be our ship that will return the crew to Australia, in order to also carry out repairs to the helicopter.

As the fog starts to lift and we slowly enter the protected bay of the island the call goes out on the ship that there are dolphins on the bow. We are privileged with an escort of Commerson’s dolphins... stunning black and white creatures...a handful of them join us, then are joined by crowds of others, rushing in playfully, taking turns at rolling onto their sides to look at us.

Getting to finally meet Bob

It is quiet as the Bob Barker finally heads towards us...each of us looming at each other out of the mist, black clad, pirate sister ships getting acquainted with one another. Each of the crews squinting to see who they recognize, sizing each other’s ships up.

We have a massive load of food to send over to their galley and have all been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to check out our surprise new vessel.

The experience doesn’t disappoint! Getting to see old friends from previous campaigns, and explore the steep rabbit warren companionways of our new sister ship.  We part what seems like only a few hours later having worked through the night to transfer all that is required, and say goodbye, leaving them to chase the fleet, hopefully having lost their spy ship tail as we head towards Fremantle.

Fremantle Stop over

I had the lovely luxury of our re-fuelling stop being my hometown, which meant amongst the frenzy of taking on enough produce and other food for our next leg I managed to see friends and family in the evenings, which was great.  A proud hometown visit, with the Sea Shepherd Jolly Roger pirate flag fluttering over the Fremantle local government buildings. What a welcome home!

Saturday January 30th

We are off again, provisions on board, thanks to our amazing, and unflappable friend John Mercer who, with just a couple of days notice, has again collated four pallets of fresh produce from himself and others at the Canningvale markets. We also received Envirocare products, 100’s of kilo’s of Manildra flour and food donations from Fremantle Mayor and other Greens, as well as wonderful support from all at the WA Sea Shepherd chapter: thanks everyone!

Straight into big weather and the new recruits are shaky on their feet- the eternal cabin shuffle sees me with new photographer, Anna, from Poland joining me.  She is folding herself into the bunk; and not looking the best.

It's hard to describe the challenges of life onboard. Many people fear sea sickness, in fact get themselves into a state, in the anticipation of being sick and not able to function, which sometimes ends up in them being sick and unable to function.  I don't know if my internal decision to just not get sick has anything to do with it, but I am lucky not to be afflicted with sea sickness- on this ship anyway.  But the thing I was not expecting, and didn't get warned about, was the tiredness.  Some people sleep easily at sea, others don't.  I'm one of the ones who don't.  Some crawl around the ship puking like the little kid in the Exorcist, whereas I just do zombie walking dead impersonations, alternating with cracking up in hysterical over tired laughter.

Sunday January 31st

Salad sandwiches – oven roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh bread and a bunch of other stuff.

Leftover coffee got turned into coffee cake.

Simeon, one of our camera crew, was galley guest in the afternoon and made some yummy fruit bread.  He has recovered from his injured ribs. He rejoins us, as well as Pete from the Ady Gil crew.

This third leg I will be helping launch the boats again, and have asked to learn more about deck work, so I am half deck, half galley. I will be able to be flexible in the galley; and make cakes, pastries and other food that can be prepped and frozen for use during action days and join the deck team to learn more about the small boats and practical seafaring skills.

Monday 1st February

Lunch: Potato salad; pasta... I made Brazil nut butter cookies... enough for today, and a rainy day...

In the afternoon, rolling with the deck department, learning knots, and getting suited up in our cold weather gear.

Tuesday 2nd February

Big waves = big bags under the eyes.

Mediterranean vegetables, foccaccia, beetroot dip for dinner… my contribution today: several chocolate cakes and some feta-style marinated tofu.  The rest of the day was spent with the deck department: talking through boat launches, the all-important correct gloves required for boat operations and first aid training.

 

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