Operation No Compromise
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At First Glance

Sara Keltie
Deckhand, Bob Barker

Sara KeltieThe quest to find the Cetacean Death Star started for me six months ago when I packed my life into the one bag I brought with me to the Bob Barker in Hobart. It was months of de-rusting, painting, welding, and dresses being replaced by ripped jeans and dirty old Sea Shepherd shirts, grease covered faces and dry, cracked hands before we set sail in early December. From there on I thought it would be easy. All we had to do was sail into the Southern Ocean and basically bump into the whaling fleet. How hard could that be?

It was two months of searching, being stalked by harpoon vessels and tempestuous Southern Ocean weather before the day we longed for finally arrived. I will not deny that I had started to feel rather scared that perhaps we may never find the Nisshin Maru. My only reassurance came from the belief that the Captains of our fleet must surely know more than we did, they knew what they were doing and despite the obstacles that lay in our way, we had faith that they would be overcome. On February 9th my faith, and that of my fellow crew and Sea Shepherd supporters the world over, was proven to not be in vain. The speedy, fragile-looking Gojira had found the floating abattoir.

It was at 4 a.m. on February 10th when I stood on the bow of the Bob Barker and saw, for the first time, that infamous monster. It was as if a part of me did not believe such a beast could exist, that it was merely some fictitious creature, a fabled mythological entity that had been invented by some creative storyteller to strike fear into the heart of the compassionate citizens of the planet. Surely this thing did not truly exist?! Surely we do not live in a world where people travel to the furthest reaches of the planet simply to perform such act of cruelty? Surely no one could venture into this pristine and sacred segment of the earth to see the most gentle and intelligent of the planet's beings, and see her as nothing more than a meal?

My heart broke a little to see the Nisshin as she sailed ahead of us in this part of the world that we have all come to love and appreciate so much. Looking at the slipway, where the victims of this industry were engulfed for butchering, I was filled with an amazing juxtaposition of emotions; rage at knowing where that slipway lead, but also the most insurmountable joy that no more whales would be lead up there for the remainder of this so-called whaling season. We are here now, and the whales are finally safe. If the murderers make any vain attempts to slaughter a whale and drag her lifeless body onto that slipway, I can assure you they will only try it once because we will do everything in our power to ensure that they will be unable to do so. These brutes will not benefit any more from the murder of these spectacular animals.

Yes, a floating monstrosity may sail in the waters ahead of our bow, but beneath our feet is a ship that stands for everything that the Nisshin does not. The Bob Barker's crew has a passion and determination that cannot exist upon the Nisshin or any of her harpoon vessels because, unlike the whalers, we are fueled by something more than the love of the almighty dollar. We proudly stand defiant, empowered by our love for this earth, by our compassion for our co-inhabitants, by our respect for all life on earth. I can look upon the Nisshin now without fear as there is nothing they could do to us that would stop us from fighting for what we believe in. It takes looking upon her with your own eyes to truly know that once and for all. The only thing that could scare me now would be if this monstrosity were floating down here unobstructed. A whaling ship in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is a horrible, repugnant thing! But a whaling ship with a Sea Shepherd vessel at it's stern is nothing to fear, it is something to be celebrated.

 

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