December 23, 2008
From the 8-12 watch on the Bridge of the Steve Irwin
by Jane (Quartermaster) 8-12 Bridge Team
Finally, after 5 months of preparation to include painting, grinding, chipping, and the on load of equipment, the Steve Irwin has set sail! We left Brisbane, Australia, with Daryl Hannah, a super addition to the bridge's 12-4 watch team, excited for adventure and action. Within 2 hours or so we realized our propellers had a layer of barnacles preventing us from making best speed, a speed that is critical to catching the whaling fleet. It was then decided that Luke, Chris, Josh and Arne would dive and clean the propeller and hull of the ship.
After a couple days at sea, just long enough for the crew to start feeling their sea legs, we arrived at Newcastle for fuel and food. Despite a police escort to ensure we didn't act up, Newcastle was a very welcoming town. The townspeople were full of hospitality asking questions and even opening a $500 tab for the crew at one of the waterfront bars. It was a great 24 hour stop.
We departed Newcastle, leaving behind Daryl Hannah, and soon after arrived in Hobart, Tasmania, a pro-conservation city, to top off our fuel tanks. The media was plentiful and very favorable and was keen on getting Sea Shepherd's conservation message out. Sadly we left behind Kim and Rob, but gained Emily and Doug.
At the moment we are headed to the Ross Sea to fight the great fight for the whales! Our path is taking us along the outskirts of a storm the size of Australia. It would take too long to avoid it, so we are heading south through the 4-8 meter seas and 40 knot winds. The weather is taking its toll on some of the crew members, who are hunkered down in their beds, while others suited up in mustang suits to experience the ocean spray and seas on the bow. Regardless, when meal time comes around, everyone comes into the mess to have Laura and her crew's awesome cooking. Talk ranges from favorite songs to tactics we are going to use this year on the whaling fleet, but it is apparent that everyone's focus is on saving whales and stopping the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Just a few more days until we start seeing icebergs!
The whales are counting on us for protection . . .
We are counting on you to keep us fighting for them.