by Conrad Carr

Conrad CarrThis was my first time actually sailing. I've lived for weeks at a time out on catamarans in Indonesia hunting swell, but that was a different story. I was just eating, sleeping, and surfing all day. Out here I feel like an actual sailor, a bad sailor, but a sailor with a cause.

December 12th 2015, I flew in to San Felipe in the smallest "commercial" plane in the world over desert and huge white mountains, not white with snow, but sand. We landed at an "airport" that was literally one quarter mile long air strip road. If you were to see this airport you would think it was some farmer's barn out in the middle of the desert by the sea. A 24-year-old amigo named Sabino picked me up in a taxi and told me something about "playas bonitas." Sabino took me to the beach where I jumped on a dingy with JP and Carolina and headed for the boat. I got my shoes all wet. We motored up to the Martin Sheen, a massive "pirate" ship, gold and elegant. I climbed aboard and felt like young Jack Dawson, when he first got on the Titanic, young, wild and free. I met the crew, learned the safety precautions, and got my watch hours of 12 am to 3 am and 12 pm to 3 pm, where I am to scan the horizon for enemy boats by night and vaquita porpoises by day. After dinner I went out on the deck and watched the stars. I've never seen the sky so vast, so open, so beautiful. The Big Dipper was right above the ocean. The Milky Way was clear as day. There were a million stars in the sky as we sailed across somewhat bumpy seas.

All the people aboard the Martin Sheen are pretty legendary. I've been on here for a few days and it feels like a lifetime, not because I don't like it but because usually there's no internet and I'm on watch looking for vaquita hours and hours a day.  It gives me time to think and just stop and pause, take a look at my life. These guys consecrate their lives to the well being of the ocean. It's pretty amazing. I'm happy to do my small part. I got selected by just being in the right place at the right time. My best friend's mom Pam just joined the Sea Shepherd board and she thought I would be a perfect match. My love for the ocean, experience on the water, and years of surfing seemed a good start for being a Sea Shepherd.

Conrad Carr surfingI grew up in Malibu. I started surfing when I was 12, and I never looked back. I loved surfing more than anyone else. I surfed all day every day for years. Even if there were no waves, I would go out and sit and wait for waves. I was devoted, a true soul surfer, not to say I didn't love competing and having sponsors; that all came with it. I rode for Quiksilver for 6 years, surfed in contests up and down the California coast every weekend, and got to travel the world. South Africa and Indonesia were my two favorite places. Since I started surfing, my love for waves and for the ocean in general has grown. I would see dolphins almost every day, and the more I saw them, the more I fell in love with them. The way they would jump, and surf, and ride waves, and maybe even make love, were such expressions of life and beauty; I wanted to be close to them, befriend them, and swim with them. Every time they came near, I would paddle out, ditch my surfboard, swim down and make dolphin noises. I remember feeling a special connection with the dolphin.

This was just one experience with marine life and surfing that has helped fuel my love for the ocean and its inhabitants. I hope I can do my part to help the aqua life, and I definitely am looking up to everyone on board as my example. These Sea Shepherd sailors are true heroes. I watch them tirelessly strive to save the vaquita dolphins. It's hard to directly save a vaquita, but indirectly they all do so much to ensure their survival. It's a fighting case, almost a long shot for the 100 remaining vaquita, but with faith and diligence of heart-felt people like Captain Oona, I believe these dolphins will see a new dawn, and we'll see them in a happier lighter light, abundantly swimming through the Sea of Cortez and maybe beyond.

Conrad Carr

Conrad Carr surfing

Conrad Carr flag

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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...