Operation No Compromise
Crew Blog

December 16, 2010

Ingredients to Fuel Our Mission

Laura Dakin
Chief Cook, Steve Irwin

Laura DakinWe left Hobart town on December 2nd for our campaign to shut down the illegal Japanese whaling fleet. This year in the galley I am working with three awesome ladies. Vera from Hungary runs Sea Shepherd Hungary and is the most dedicated, hard working crewmember I’ve ever met, Luz from Sweden joined the Steve Irwin six months ago in Barcelona and has been cooking up a yummy storm ever since, and Rafaela from Italy also joined the Steve Irwin in Barcelona and is teaching us all a thing or two about wonderful authentic Italian cooking. Between the four of us, we are catering for 45 international crewmembers for 90 or more days at sea onboard the Steve Irwin.

The last few days in Hobart before heading down to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary were a manic frenzy. Once we leave port there is no turning back, so we must be sure we have all the necessary provisions. Many of the hard working crew, myself included, and the onshore volunteers were receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of food, and then having to find a place to store it all and tie it down. We have to be prepared to hit rough weather the day we leave port or else everything that can fly, will. Just for a start imagine tying down 50 cabbages, 600 kg of potatoes, 500 kg of onions, and 30 pumpkins...not to mention 450L of soymilk. On top of that we have to prepare, serve and clean up three meals a day, plus snacks!

Food, food, and more food is my whole existence for right now. When I am not thinking about food I am dreaming about it, when I am not dreaming about it, I am preparing it, eating it, or cleaning it all up. For days leading up to campaign I worry about if we have enough food, what if we run out of flour, or even worse, what if we run out of coffee?

Luckily by now, we have settled into our ship life routine. The days have been pretty mellow and the weather very pleasant. The crew are all super chilled out and the vibe on the ship is nice and relaxed. We have such a strong and competent galley crew we’re happily rolling along from breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner, a game or two of poker or some popcorn and a movie in the evenings. One night this past week we actually had dinner ready to serve and all our cleaning done half-hour before dinner was due to start! Since we had a little extra time on our hands, we have been able to make more time-consuming dishes including gnocchi tossed in sage and margarine made by Vera and a Mexican burrito feast (a crew fave!) with 80 hand-rolled flour tortillas made by Luz!  Now I am off to bed, way too tired to sit through Back to the Future III with the rest of the crew...but never too tired for a late night bowl of popcorn.


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