The M/V Farley Mowat Crew

Oona Layolle   -  Captain

Captain Oona LayolleI have taken part in several campaigns with Sea Shepherd since 2011 and I am currently the Director of Ship Operations at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Captain and Campaign Leader for Operation Milagro to save the vaquita marina, the most endangered porpoise on this planet, facing the very real threat of extinction.

I grew up travelling the world with my seafaring family onboard various sailing boats, and living on different Pacific Islands. During my travels, I witnessed so many underwater places and island paradises turning into dead zones in such a short lapse of time. I always wanted to fight against the destruction of the planet caused by human behavior. There is a big lack of education and logic in the way we are treating our world. Without nature, there is no life. I want to be part of the movement that is fighting for us and for the respect of our Earth; I want to inspire others to take care of this planet by helping to change our behaviors by fighting against those who are destroying it.

While I was looking for a ship on which to work during the Mediterranean summer season of 2011, I crossed paths with the Brigitte Bardot crew in France. I jumped on this perfect opportunity to finally use my skills and experience to do something that makes a difference. They needed someone to navigate the ship, and I had all the qualifications and experience to be that person. I was supposed to go work with Sea Shepherd for two months, and it has now been five great years. Sea Shepherd has been the perfect organization for me, because the sea is the place where I grew up and where I can best use my skills and knowledge to fight for life and to serve our planet.

Corey Dahlquist - Deckhand, Medical Officer

Corey Dahlquist“I am extremely honored to be a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a crewman aboard the Farley Mowat.” “We have an exceptionally talented crew and team who I love working with everyday.” “Direct action to protect marine wildlife is essential for everyone's future; these campaigns are worthwhile and I'm happy to note that everyone, no matter where you are in the world, can help us accomplish these missions.”

Previous to joining Sea Shepherd and Operation Milagro III, Corey was a 23 year servicemember and veteran with the United States Army retiring in 2014. He was born and raised in Blackfoot, Idaho, and currently resides in Boise, Idaho. Corey possesses as Masters of Science degree in Environmental Management. His family includes his parents (Dave & Rhonda), his brother and sister in law (Terus & Trish), and his neice and nephew (Kylie & Easton). Corey also has a cat named Kitten Pie.

Fernando Schnitzer - Zodiac Operator, Deckhand

Fernado SchnitzerMy name is Fernando, I am from Puerto Rico. I am a high school history teacher. I am very passionate about creating positive chance in the world, be it through teaching, community organizing or volunteering with direct action organizations such as Sea Shepherd.

I love working with Sea Shepherd because it is a great learning opportunity and at the same time it gives me the chance to give back to the earth, from which our species has taken so much away, through strategies and tactics which I agree with. I think that direct action is the best way to go if you want to get actual results. I have always wanted to volunteer for Sea Shepherd ever since I first heard about them in college. I like that Sea Shepherd is not a protest organization and it actually goes out and stops the thrashing and obliteration of endangered ocean animals and does not depend on anyone else to do it for them. It is a great example of how people should come together and create solutions for a lot of our worlds problems.

Other than learning useful skills like welding, using the radar and seamanship skills, I have grown as a person from living on this ship and sharing this experience with the rest of the crew.

I hope to take this experience and all that I have learned back home to Puerto Rico and use them to keep making a difference in the world.

Jose Isaza

Jose IsazaI was born In Bogotá Colombia and I’ve lived there all my life, far from the sea. I’ve always had a passion for ships, boats, pirates and adventure stories, but traveled to the coast just a handful of times and never got to sail to the open sea.

Both my parents are veterinarians so I grew up surrounded by animals, always being taught to be kind and mindful of them and their habitats. Hearing about horrible crimes against nature back in Colombia, like deforestation of the rain forest, or the trade in wild birds or tortoise hatchlings for pets always made me sick, but there are two events that I witnessed as a child that marked me forever…

As a 7 year old I spent a vacation in the rainforest with my Uncle, He purchased a 2´ catfish from some indigenous fisherman. I watched that catfish drown in the bottom of my Uncle´s small wooden boat after being struck a viscous blow from a machete that was supposed to kill it. I had tearfully begged my Uncle for it to be spared but he paid good money for that fish. That catfish had a solid boney head and I could see him slowly moving his mouth and whiskers for a very long time. I cried all the way back to my Uncle´s, and I didn´t talk to him for many days after that. Perhaps for him this is just another funny story about my childhood, but it is a very painful memory for me.

When I was 9 years old, on a family vacation to the Pacific coast of Colombia. I watched as a local fisherman chopped live baitfish that he had just caught, chopping them into hook sized pieces. Every single fish was killed slowly, by cutting off its tail then being sliced inch by inch toward it´ s still breathing head. The images of those fish being chopped down haunted my dreams and daily thoughts for months after that.

These two most shocking and sad memories of my childhood are the basis of my strong sympathy for fish, they are so strong and resilient and we are exploiting them at every turn with more and more advanced ways to kill them in their thousands of millions.

If I could travel back in time and tell my childish self, that in a matter of years he would be on the open sea on a bad ass, mean ex-military ship, flying a jolly roger, on a mission to chase poachers and retrieve illegal nets to save fish and other marine life from an agonizing and painful death, he would get so excited that he would pee his pants.

Katja Walther - Deckhand, Crane operator and Media

Katja WhalterVolunteering as a deck hand alongside the incredibly passionate and inspirational crew here on the Farley Mowat has reignited my interest in NGO’s, enforced the importance of direct action, broadened my horizons, and cultivated my love for the oceans. I could never have imagined being part of such a dedicated and motivational team of change makers.

When I first stumbled across Sea Shepherd ten years ago I was immediately inspired by the organization’s ability to bridge the gap between what was politically possible and what was environmentally necessary. Since then it has been my dream to volunteer for Sea Shepherd and support the organization in any way possible.

I have been involved in conservation action since childhood when my parents began attending community efforts to dispute unsustainable resource development in our area. Little did they know the impact this would have on their young daughter who soon became a little too interested in direct action, attending protests and involved herself in environmental and animal rights groups. After years of working with conservation organizations, participating in ecosystem preservation projects and involving myself in the animal rights movement, I became resolved to put the dialogue I had surrounded myself with into action. I began studying NGO’s and Not For Profits and upon completing my Associate of Arts in Global Stewardship, I found myself engaged in many grassroots efforts to build a healthier, sustainable future. Sea Shepherd continued to influence and inspire my actions, and it was enlightening to see that as the need for urgent conservation action on the world stage continued to be diluted into non-binding political jargon, Sea Shepherd remained dedicated to achieving lasting and valuable change.

Being part of an organization that, in the face massive unprecedented threats to the natural world, ensures that the value of nature is reflected in its actions is truly a life changing experience. The many volunteers and supporters of Sea Shepherd will always be my heroes – Thank you!

Mark Crowder - Engineer, Diver

Mark Crowder“I've been teaching Marine Conservation and Ecological Monitoring for the last four years and have come to understand the harm humans have been doing to the life in the ocean, and the ocean its self for many years. Up until now the work and teaching I've been doing has been on a small scale. Two or three students at a time working on a few bits of coral, or an artificial reef or a small section of a reef. Work that is hugely important for the survial of our reefs. But quite often hours if not years of work can be wiped out by a stray anchor. Now I would like to take some direct action on hopefully a wider scale to protect the ocean and the life that lives there. So it is truly an honor to be serving here on the Farley Mowat working for Sea Shepherd.

Previous to joining Sea Shepherd I had been backpacking around the world and living on and off in the Gulf of Thailand following my lifetime passion of Scuba diving. Teaching people how to dive and as much about the ocean and the life there as I can.

Paloma de Castilla - First Mate

Paloma de CastillaMy name is Paloma de Castilla. I am 43 years old and I am from Spain.

When I was a child my hero was a French Marine Biologist called Jack Cousteau. Instead of watching cartoons as every child, I watched his TV documentaries every week. I learned so much about sea life and I fell in love with dolphins, sharks, and whales. In the seventies we didn't have internet ,so getting information was not as easy as it is now. I was living near the countryside surrounded by animals and I loved them. Instead of hunting lizards and small birds as many of my friends did, I was fighting against people who I felt were hurting helpless animals.

Time passed and as I became a teenager I loved reading books of marine life – just looking at the pictures made me so happy. One day I realized that I wanted to study Marine Biology. My parents sent me to the U.S. to study 12th grade. It was a great experience. During spring break I decided to go to California to take the entrance exam to attend Panola College (San Diego) and major in Marine Biology. I worked really hard to attend Panola College but because of different circumstances in life I couldn’t go.

I have traveled a lot, I've studied many different things, and I've worked in many different places but I always kept this deep interest and passion for the sea and nature.

One day I decided that I wanted to work in the Maritime Industry and Yachting, but as I didn't have my certificates nor experience, I started out cleaning ships and vessels. After two seasons I realized that what I really wanted was to learn how to navigate, drive and captain a ship so that one day I could work for an Oceanographic vessel so be closer to the marine life. I spent three years studying at the Spanish Merchant Navy in the Canary Islands and working on pleasure yachts in France during the summer. My first contact with Sea Shepherd was at the Canes Boat Show in the Mediterranean Coast of France, and after that day I knew that one day I would join one of their vessels. My days at the school and my job on the yachts begun to have a new sense; I was getting knowledge and experience to make my dream become true!

After that, life pointed me in the direction to find a position as Captain on the Jairo Mora in Cape Vert last year and this year as First Officer on the Farley Mowat on the Sea of Cortez.

I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for Sea Shepherd for the great job they are doing to protect marine life all around the world and for giving me the opportunity of being part of their crew and Operation Milagro 2. Sea Shepherd is made my childhood dream true.

Roy Sasano

Roy SasanoI grew up Edmonton, Alberta, on the Canadian prairies, but spent the past four years in Victoria, British Columbia serving as a Naval Communicator in the Royal Canadian Navy.

I realised the full importance of Sea Shepherd's work about 8 years ago when I saw "Sharkwater." Now --thanks to the support of activist friends back home, and to the experience I gained in the Navy-- I am able to contribute directly by working on a Sea Shepherd vessel. 

The days have been long, and the learning curves steep, but I am thankful for the opportunity be one hundred percent committed to the oceans, the planet, and our wildlife.

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Milagro III

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.
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...
The MV Sam Simon and 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...
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...
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 ...
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.
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...
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
The Farley Mowat Sea Shepherd crew is called out to investigate a dead Brydes whale in the Gulf of California on November 5th, 2016 while patrolling the vaquita refuge. To help the Sea Shepherd crew to continue its work in the Sea of Cortez, includin...
Resumen Operación Milagro II - ESPANOL
La Operación Milagro II de Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ha llegado a su fin. Milagro es una campaña para luchar contra la extinción inminente de la vaquita marina, el mamífero marino más amenazado del mundo. Con menos de 100 vaquitas resta...
Milagro Summary - English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Milagro II has come to an end. Milagro is its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 survivin...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Watch the crew of the Farley Mowat capture footage of illegal fishing activity with a night vision drone and pull up a totoaba net in the dead of night. This is the final vlog of Operation Milagro II!
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Never before seen footage. Sea Shepherd catches critically endangered totoaba poacher in the act. The Sea Shepherd crew filmed these totoaba poachers as they were checking one of their illegal nets in the protected vaquita habitat. The vaquita porpoi...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Watch‬ the routine of our crew doing valuable work in the ‪Sea of Cortez‬. We have been very effective at removing illegal fishing gear from the ‪‎vaquita‬ porpoise's habitat. So much so, that now, most of the time we remove nets and line...
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
The Sea Shepherd crew has found 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks in the month of march of 2016. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Learn more at:
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 13 - A Really Long Day
The events of the following Vlog occurred on a single day.This was probably the most eventful day we have had on Operation Milagro II. We found a dead entangled dolphin, then a Great White Shark - that most likely bit that dolphin- entangled in the s...
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
While patrolling the waters of the upper Gulf of California the Sea Shepherd crew found a dead vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the whole world. The crew also found a Great White Shark caught in an illegal gillnet...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
This week, the crew of ‪Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The M/V Farley Mowat and The RV Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass long line from the critically endangered ‪vaquita porpoise habitat. The totoaba fish is also ...
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd crew rescued a whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico's Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO. Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endan...
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
You might know Gregg Lowe from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now watch him explain Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro and understand why we must save the #VaquitaMarina - The most endangered cetacean in the world. Help us save the vaquita at: http://...