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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quartermaster's Blog

By Steve Roest (Quartermaster)

blog_090127_StephenWe're now 6 days out from Hobart and searching for the Japanese whaling fleet.  We have over a million square miles to search in, but hopes are high that the Captain will lead us to the slaughter ships.  On this second leg, I will be working as a quartermaster on the bridge from 00.00-04.00, as one of the campaign photographers, as an assistant to the communications officer, and just in case I'm not busy enough, I'm also the assistant to the ship's doctor.

The roaring forties and furious fifties have actually been quite calm this time, unlike the force 10 storms we experienced on the first leg of the campaign. Everyone is prepared and there is a sense of acute anticipation as we head towards the ice.  My bridge watch is with Pedro [2nd Mate], a veteran campaigner for Sea Shepherd and Jane (an experienced quartermaster). On watch, my  quartermaster's role includes monitoring radar for ships (i.e. whaling vessels) and scan the horizon for icebergs, including dangerous 'growlers ' (lumps of ice too small to be picked up on radar but easily large enough to damage the ship).   The bridge is the nerve centre and command post for all ships operations. Here the mood of the ship is felt most acutely and that mood is confident and determined.

As a campaign photographer, I've learnt the frustrations of faulty computers. A days worth of work lost in the cyberspace crash zone and cameras lost with flooding on the deck. But I will get to be in the thick of actions as they happen, whether it be photographing a harpoon ship from our Delta fast boat (aka zodiac) or with a little luck, a ship-to-ship action with the Nisshin Maru.

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