We have been struggling to follow the Japanese whaling fleet through heavy weather and extremely difficult ice conditions.
"The Japanese whaling fleet fled after contact with the Steve Irwin on December 20th," said Captain Paul Watson. "We caught them in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters. We followed them for three days for three hundred miles until heavy ice blocked our progress. Once we navigate our way out of these conditions we will continue our search."
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has fuel and provisions to enable it to continue for another month in pursuit of the Japanese whalers.
"This is not an easy job in these conditions," said Laura Dakin of Canberra, Australia, the Chief cook and veteran of past Antarctic campaigns. "We are doing our best with the resources we have and we have them on the run."
The Sea Shepherd crew are hopeful they can re-locate the Japanese fleet by Christmas Day.
"I can't think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than saving these gentle giants from an agonizing death from Japanese harpoons," said Captain Paul Watson.
The Steve Irwin lost contact with the fleet when the ship's helicopter the Kookaburra was unable to fly due to dense fog and frequent snowstorms.
And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast high, came floating by,
As green as emerald,
And through the drifts, the snowy clifts Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken-
The ice was all between
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Sea Shepherd came through mist and snow
As all around grew cold
As massive icebergs drifted by
Cobalt blue and pearl white
Probing treacherous deadly rifts
For those cold hearted fiends
The question is not if but when
The ice is not between.
- From the Steve Irwin (Dec 23rd, 2008)
The M/V Steve Irwin navigates between two large tabletop icebergs in Antarctica.
Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society