By Mar Casariego

en español

Mar CasariegoI heard about Sea Shepherd a few years ago, and even then, the idea of protecting the oceans sounded great to me, but it looked too risky and extreme for me. Even though I love adventure, traveling and nature and I have always dreamed about helping the environment I was not sure at all, that my quiet and shy character fitted with this black flag and rough behavior.

The Sea has been always present on my life; I was born by the sea side, surrounded by the salty wind of the sea. My father was a lighthouse-keeper and my home was a sailors guide, my first memories are with my brother looking at the sea from our lighthouse’s terrace just trying to figured out where the boats were going to, I remember spending my summers on the rocks observing the crabs, sea urchins and octopus hiding in the cracks of the rocks. I started to sail before I can remember and since then I fell in love with the sea. That’s why the idea of taking care of the oceans and those who live in them, besides of sounding so beautiful, makes so much sense to me. I could not live without the sea.

Despite my long-term relationship with the ocean I have never been in a boat for more than 7 hours, that is why this adventure will be, at least, incomparable and I hope that won’t be overwhelming to me.

My adventure as a Sea Shepherd starts in Barcelona, I finished my University degree last July and September arrived too soon without any concrete project on the horizon. I can not stand being at home without doing anything for a long time and, as every year, I needed to start traveling again.  Without thinking too much what I was about to do, and sincerely believing that my chances to have the opportunity to be a Sea Shepherd crew member were really low, I filled the volunteer application and I sent all the documents by post. A bit more than a month later they offered me the opportunity to help at Operation Milagro III campaign onboard the RV Martin Sheen

I couldn’t believe my luck while I was reading the e-mail where they asked me if I was interested on being a crewmember of the RV Martin Sheen. I was sitting on a café in la Barceloneta (the former fishing neighborhood of Barcelona) and I was so, so exited about the news that the only English word that came into my mind to answer the e-mail was YES, I wanted to reply with more sophisticated language but I couldn’t find the words. I finally managed to write a decent answer and less than three weeks later I was flying over the Atlantic Ocean towards Tijuana (Mexico). From there I have to reach San Felipe to find the RV Martin Sheen and the crew. San Felipe is a small village on Baja California desert which is located a few miles away of the vaquita’s refuge. I only learned about this beautiful and endangered marine mammal a few weeks ago, and now I am willing to work on its protection.

Mar Casariego

Mar Casariego

Mar Casariego

Mar Casariego


Mar CasariegoOí hablar de Sea Shepherd hace algunos años y la idea ya entonces me gustó, pero me pareció demasiado arriesgada, demasiado extrema para mi. Aunque me encanta la aventura, los viajes y la naturaleza y aunque siempre he soñado con ayudar a proteger la naturaleza no estaba segura que mi actitud tranquila y callada encajaran con la bandera pirata, las camisetas negras y la pose dura.

El mar siempre ha sido una constante en mi vida, nací al borde del mar, rodeada por la brisa salada. Mi padre era farero y mi casa un guía para navegantes, mis primeros recuerdos son mirando el mar junto a mi hermano, en la terraza de nuestro faro intentando averiguar a donde se dirigían los barcos, recuerdo los veranos en las rocas observando a los cangrejos, erizos y pulpos que huían entre las rendijas. Empecé a navegar antes de lo que puedo recordar y desde entonces me enamoré del mar. Por todo ello, la idea de cuidar de los océanos y de los que los habitan, además de bonita, me parece esencial, yo no podría vivir sin el mar y lo mínimo que puedo hacer es protegerlo.

A pesar de mi larga relación con el mar, nunca he pasado más de 7h sin pisar tierra firme así que esta aventura será, sin duda, incomparable y espero que no se me quede demasiado grande.

Mi aventura empieza en Barcelona, terminé mis estudios en la Universidad en Julio y Setiembre llegó demasiado rápido sin que los proyectos acabaran de concretarse. Como no soporto estar sin hacer nada en casa y, la necesidad de volver a viajar empezaba a ser acuciante, sin pensarlo demasiado, y sinceramente creyendo que mis opciones de embarcarme eran escasas, rellené la solicitud y mandé la documentación por correo para presentarme como voluntaria en Sea Sheperd. En poco más de un mes me ofrecían la oportunidad de participar en la Operation Milagro III a bordo del RV Martin Sheen.

No podía creer mi suerte mientras leía el e-mail en el que me preguntaban si estaba dispuesta a participar en la campaña. Estaba en una cafetería de la Barceloneta (el antiguo barrio pesquero de la ciudad de Barcelona), y me puse tan nerviosa que la única palabra en inglés que me venía a la mente era YES, quería contestar algo más sofisticado pero no encontraba las palabras. Conseguí redactar un e-mail más o menos decente y en menos de 3 semanas sobrevolaba el Océano Atlántico rumbo a Tijuana (México). Desde allí debo viajar hasta el desierto de Baja California para encontrarme con el RV Martin Sheen en San Felipe, un pequeño pueblo costero que queda a pocas millas del refugio de la vaquita marina. Hasta hace unas pocas semanas desconocía la existencia de este bonito y pequeño mamífero marino que se encuentra en extremo peligro de extinción, y ahora estoy deseando empezar a trabajar para su protección.


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Milagro III

Operation Milagro IV: A Vaquita Defense Campaign
This campaign launch video illustrates the issues surrounding the vaquita rescue efforts. Sea Shepherd is continuing its relentless commitment to stop the imminent extinction of the endangered vaquita porpoise by is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of Ca...
Op. Milagro III: Sam Simon Campaign Summary
The history of the Sam Simon, and the facts and figures surrounding the work this ship has done during Operation Milagro III in the Gulf of California from December 2016 to May 2016.
Operation Milagro III: The Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! Sea Shepherd is making a valiant effort to save the CRITICALLY ENDANGERED Vaquita Porpoise from EXTINCTION. There are fewer than 30 left on Earth. We have to do everything we can to stop the use of illegal gillnets!! Please joi...
Operation Milagro III: Illegal Gillnets
This is a typical day for the Sea Shepherd crew on Operation Milagro III. The Gulf of California is one of the world’s hotspots for marine biodiversity, We will continue our work retrieving illegal nets, giving the unique inhabitants like the near-...
Operation Milagro III: Dead Dolphin Caught in Illegal Gillnet
Illegal gillnets do not discriminate! They are silent death traps that kill all sorts of sea life. Help our efforts to save marine life in the Gulf of California where the The MV Sam Simon and The M/V Farley Mowat are currently patrolling for Operati...
Operation Milagro III: M/V Sam Simon’s Thunder & Viking boats
The Thunder and Viking are two RHIBS (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats) on the Sam Simon ship. The agility and speed at which these boats can be launched allows these boats to play a primary role, detecting and retrieving illegal nets in the Gulf of Cal...
Operation Milagro III: Ray Day
On the 17th of April the crew of M/V Farley Mowat retrieved an illegal net with 22 cownose rays entangled inside. Twenty one of the rays were released alive. Unfortunately, one was dead. Every life counts, and every net out of the waters is a success...
Operation Milagro III: A busy 24 hrs
During the 11th and 12th of March, the Milagro III fleet witnessed a stampede of poachers in the Gulf of California. The Farley Mowat and Sam Simon drone pilots were hot in their case, and in some instances, met with fierce resistance from the poache...
Operation Milagro III: Using Drones to Nab Poachers
On Operation Milagro III, drones have proven to be one of the most valuable assets we have battling poaching in the Gulf of California. Many thanks to our donor, Clarence Stanback, whose generosity has enabled us to create a drone program at Sea Shep...
Op. Milagro III: The Totoaba Bass
The endangered totoaba has a long history in the Gulf of California. Watch this Sea Shepherd video to learn more about this fish and why its swim bladder is targeted by poachers.
Operation Milagro III: Wildlife of the Gulf of California
The stunning biodiversity of life in the Gulf of California is what keeps us going and what are here to protect. Poachers may try to do everything in their power to get us to leave. But we are here for our clients and we are not going anywhere. Suppo...
Operation Milagro III: Facing Death
During a single patrol in Mexico’s Gulf of California, the crew of the M/V Farley Mowat encountered two dead whales, 24 dead dolphins, a dead sea lion, and countless dead birds. The near-extinct vaquita and the endangered totoaba is not the only vi...
Op. Milagro III: Dolphin and Whale Day in the Gulf of California
While in the gulf of California we see a variety of marine wildlife coexisting with one another. Sights like this one give us hope that this ecosystem still has the potential to remain wild and beautiful as long as we stay vigilant in protecting it.
Op. Milagro III: 66 Dead Totoaba in One Gill-net
On March 14th, the Farley Mowat crew discovered a gill-net approximately 250 metres in length, with 66 endangered totoaba fish. After hours of work, they managed to untangle the catch and hand it to authorities. Sea Shepherd was also granted a glimps...
Op. Milagro III: The MV Sam Simon & the Dolphin Megapod
On February 25, 2017, while patrolling the waters of the Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III, the M/V Sam Simon sailed through a megapod of dolphins with numbers estimated to be more than 1000 individuals. The elation and joy of this sight c...
M/V SAM SIMON: Operation Milagro III in the Gulf of California
The M/V Sam Simon has embarked on its inaugural mission to save the near-extinct vaquita, the endangered totoaba and other sea life in the Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III (2016-2017). Learn about the history and abilities of ...
Operation Milagro III: Unprecedented Amount of Illegal Nets Pulled in a 48-Hour Period
Over 1000 Animals Saved - Sea Shepherd’s M/V Farley Mowat and M/V Sam Simon pulled a record number of illegal gillnets – 18 -- in Mexico’s Gulf of California during a 48 hour period, saving and releasing over 1000 marine animals including Hamme...
Op. Milagro III: Biodiversity in the Gulf of California
Once called the World’s Aquarium by Jacques Cousteau, the Gulf of California has always had a high level of endemism. Today, fishing is the main cause of the destruction of its ecosystem. Featuring Sea Shepherd crew and Dr. Roy Houston, professor...
Op. Milagro III: Sea Shepherd Rescues Fisherman in the Gulf of California (with subtitles)
On the night of the 25th, The Farley Mowat came across fishermen in a small panga boat. When approached by The Farley, the fishermen fled at high speed. Some distance from the fishing boat, The Farley crew noticed a large splash as fishing boat come ...
Op. Milagro III: Sea Shepherd vs Poachers in the Gulf of California
Six fishing boats engaged in illegal activities were spotted by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, ending in their arrest by the Mexican Navy.
Op. Milagro III: Ghost Nets Go; Vaquitas Stay
Sea Shepherd and the M/V Farley Mowat break down how illegal underwater nets in the Sea of Cortez are snagged, pulled, cut and bundled. Footage also includes freeing and releasing live animals from the nets and cataloging those who unfortunately did ...
Sam Simon arrives in Mexico for Operation Milagro III
The Sam Simon has arrived in Mexico to join the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society-led campaign, Operation Milagro III. A partnership between Sea Shepherd and the Mexican authorities, Operation Milagro III intercepts, intervenes and interrupts any ill...
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III to save the near extinct vaquita marina porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The M/V Farley Mowat is back on active duty with the M/V Sam S...