Crew Blog

Read field reports and other news from the frontlines of the campaign.

 

Miracles Happen

by Corey Dahlquist

Corey Dahlquist. Photo: Carolina A CastroToday is a Sea day – we are almost complete with our transit from the Vaquita refuge near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico to San Diego, California.  It’s cloudy, windy, and a bit bumpy.  I imagine that everything I am feeling is like unto what thousands of Sailors felt before me and that thousands more will feel after.

Operation Milagro is the most unprecedented success for Sea Shepherd as well as in global conservation history. As our mission comes to a close I am overwhelmed with all of the accomplishments that I share with this extraordinary crew – from the Captain to the media to the newest deckhand.  Everyone contributed immeasurably to the partnership with the Mexican government, the Mexican Navy, the local community, and to removing 42 illegal nets and 16 illegal long-lines from the Vaquita refuge and the gillnet exclusion zone in the Sea of Cortez.  We destroyed over 100 net and long-line anchors, collected and destroyed over 2000 long-line hooks, and created 10 variants of our signature “Phantom Ray” net and long-line catcher three of which we presented to the Mexican Navy to carry on operations during our brief departure.  Most importantly, the sea life saved from those nets, lines, and hooks may be measured in numbers but can never be measured in their continuing contribution to the earth and the marine ecosystem.

Read more: Miracles Happen

Not to be forgotten…

by Roy Sasano

Roy Sasano. Photo: Carolina A CastroAs the Farley Mowat wraps up this phase of Operation Milagro, I've been reflecting upon the events we've shared over the past 5 months. You've seen death and destruction.You've also seen life and hope. You know the main stories and characters through the lens of a producer's imagination, both in our web content and on TV.

There are many important things that you might not know, however – credit deserved but not given, stories untold but not forgotten. Here are my top 5:

Read more: Not to be forgotten…

Conservation with Teeth

By Sean Olson

Sean Olsen. Photo: Carolina A CastroI had no idea what to expect when I made the decision to work with Sea Shepherd. Some people said that they were pirates, some called them eco-terrorists, and others dismissed them as “dirty hippies.”  Looking back, I suppose that all of those groups sounded good to me, so I caught a plane to Mexico to save a porpoise on the brink of extinction, and maybe, something else.

On my first day here we freed a humpback whale that was caught in a fishing net, two weeks later we pulled up a similar net that had trapped and killed both a white shark, and a bottlenose dolphin. In the few weeks between, we removed a dozen illegal nets, several long lines, and resuscitated quite a few dying animals.  

Read more: Conservation with Teeth

The Sea of Cortez

by Bastien Boudoire

Batien Boudoire"The Sea of Cortez"  where is that? When I first got the chance to crew on Operation Milagro 1 as Captain Oona's first mate, I didn't even know where the Sea of Cortez was located. And like most  people, I didn't know what a Vaquita Marina was. As I learned more about it, I was shocked by the numbers: approximately 150 Vaquita Marina alive in 2007 and approximately 90 in 2014.

Between the ongoing fishing activities generated by the consumers demand for seafood and the fact that the Colorado River is no longer flowing, we are still the biggest threat for the Vaquita Marina. Even though the Vaquita Marina is not the direct target of the poachers, it is killed as by-catch in gillnets.

Recently, with the help of the Mexican Navy, the Sea Shepherd crew retrieved an illegal totoaba gillnet that was approximately 500 meters long. After the action, in the very early morning, I fully realized what we had done.  An intense feeling of pleasure and justice ran through me.

We also found two other gillnets and one longline, all of which were illegal gear.  What an awesome thing to know that no more animals will die as a result of this illegal fishing gear! That is the best reward for all of us!

Read more: The Sea of Cortez

Diving for Sea Shepherd

By Jean Paul

En Español

Jean Paul holding Ocean Reef mask. Photo: Carolina A CastroJean Paul holding Ocean Reef mask.
Photo: Carolina A Castro
My name is Jean Paul but my friends know me as JP, and from now on you are welcome to call me that. I am a Computer Engineer from Chile but I spent part of my childhood on San Cristóbal Island on the Galápagos Islands, always close to the sea. I learned to love the sea and the animals from my mum. I remember one day when we were living on the South of Chile, she rescued a fox -- she spent days teaching him how to hunt and how to eat eggs while he was recovering his health, and when he was ready she freed him.

I am an underwater lover. I discovered my passion for the subaquatic world when I joined the Firemen as a Volunteer. The unit I was part of has a group specialized in Subaquatic Rescue called GRESA (Grupo de Rescate Subacuatico) as well as a Non-traditional Rescue Unit, also known as vertical rescue. I learned how to dive while I was volunteering with them. After my first experiences as a diver I got my certification as a Recreational diver and from then on, I was training until becoming a Dive Instructor and a Tec Diver, with several PADI and RAID certificates. I spent my last years as a diver enjoying the company of bull-sharks and hammerhead-sharks in different parts of the world. I have even been diving in Antarctica waters helping in some scientific research; we were taking samples of ice, water and animal’s skins to investigate the environmental impact and climate change.

Read more: Diving for Sea Shepherd

Schrödinger’s Buoy

by Adam Conniss

Adam ConnissThe day is almost over and I do not know if I should be enjoying myself as much as I am. I am on the foredeck of my ship the “Farley Mowat” and working around me are my friends and fellow crew. We have reached a natural break in our rhythmic task. People swap roles and fresh hands take over from weary ones. We are all sweating and a beaker of water is passed around, knives are sharpened. I feel high and elated, it is exactly a year ago today that I joined these ships and I am proud of myself and my crew. This is the work we all signed up to do; dirty, grim hard work but don't I feel happy, don't I feel alive.

The day started so well.

Read more: Schrödinger’s Buoy

Joining the RV Martin Sheen

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.

Read more: Joining the RV Martin Sheen

My First Time Sailing

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.

Read more: My First Time Sailing

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Milagro III

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: www.seashepherd.org/milagro2
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://...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
This week the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The Farley Mowat and The Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass net from the critically endangered vaquita marina's habitat Watch all episodes at: http://www.seashepherd....
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Actor Gregg Lowe crews with Sea Shepherd to help us protect the vaquita. The M/V Farley Mowat lights up the vaquita refuge and deters poacher from laying deadly nets in the vaquita marina's habitat. Watch all episodes at: http://seashepherd.org/milag...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 09 - Justice for the Vaquita.
The M/V Farley Mowat​ and the RV Martin Sheen​ patrol the #vaquita refuge searching for illegal nets and poachers. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society​ assists the Mexican Navy arrest a poacher in the habitat of the most endangered cetacean in th...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 08 - Return of the Farley Mowat
The new M/V Farley Mowat continues the direct action approach set by the original vessel. Joining the R/V Martin Sheen on Operation Milagro II, the M/V Farley Mowat is immediately effective by confiscating an illegal gillnet in the endangered vaquita...
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 07 - Anti-Poaching Campaigns
The crew of the R/V Martin Sheen describes their previous campaign doing Legitimate Whale Research and speaks to the crew of the M/V Steve Irwin before their departure for Operation Ice Fish II. Read the article on Legitimate Whale Research at: http:...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 06 - Permission Granted
Captain Oona Layolle meets with Mexican Authorities and is granted permission to remove gillnets from the Vaquita's Refuge. www.seashepherd.org/milagro
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 05 - Gillnet Damage
Join the crew of the R/V Martin Sheen as they witness the damage a gillnet can cause to marine wildlife while patrolling the endangered vaquita's refuge in Mexico.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 04 - Night Patrol
Join Sea Shepherd's crew on board the R/V Martin Sheen during a night patrol inside the vaquita's refuge. www.seashepherd.org/milagro
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 03 - Sailing with Dolphins
The crew of Sea Shepherd's research sailing vessel, the R/V Martin Sheen, sails in search of the smallest cetacean in the world, the endangered vaquita marina porpoise.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 02 - The Patrol
As Operation Milagro II, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Fall 2015 Vaquita Porpoise Defense Campaign, begins, the crew of the R/V Martin Sheen starts patrolling the vaquita's habitat. www.seashepherd.org/milagro