Operation Musashi Crew Blog


Welcome to the Operation Musashi crew blog. Please check back often for blogs written by members of the Sea Shepherd crew, directly from the Steve Irwin in the southern oceans.

blog_Paul_Watson_blog_01_70 Captain Watson's Blog is available to members of My Sea Shepherd

Married in Antarctica!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Andy (Leading Deckhand)

Molly and I were married by Captain Watson, on Scott Island, Antarctica on February 12th.  It was the first wedding ceremony ever held on Scott Island, and we were quite possibly only the ninth and tenth people to have ever even set foot on this craggy island as it is inaccessible from the water due to its high-cliff coastline.  So, our wedding vehicle for the day was a two-seater Bell Helicopter. The island is tiny, rugged, volcanic looking and snow covered.  At one end there's a huge arch, off to one side about a co ... Read More

Medical Implications of Physical Attacks on the Sea Shepherd Crew by the Japanese Whalers

Friday, February 13, 2009

Report by Dr. David Ship's Medical Officer - Steve Irwin

During the engagements between the Sea Shepherd crew and the Japanese whaling fleet I witnessed first hand the attacks on our crew by three methods. Water Cannons: Long range, high powered water hoses with enough pressure to break bones and cause severe soft tissue injury were aimed at individual crewmembers both in the small boats and onboard the Steve Irwin. One crewmember, a cameraman was hit in the face violently knocking him backwards off his seat and onto the deck of the small boat. He sustained a bleeding abrasion to the inne ... Read More

Loss of the Whales

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

David, (3rd Engineer)

While the whale war happens outside, the engineer's job is to sit in the engine room during a confrontation.  We have to keep a close eye on the gauges and engines whilst the rest of the crew is on deck and the bridge watching the action.  If there is a collision, we have the added fear of a possible hull breach where icy cold water from the Ross Sea could shower down on us in the engine room. I know I wasn't alone in losing sleep over this last week.  We started the month with finding the fleet and confronting them o ... Read More

Confronting the whalers

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Steve (Photographer)

It has been an incredible week. We've done all we can to save the whales. Even though everyone on board the ship wants to stay in the Ross Sea to keep the whalers from their murderous work - we must head home. It was just 8 days ago that we had our first serious engagement with the Nisshin Maru which began when we spotted her at 67 degrees south/ 165 degrees west. The Harpoon ships Yushin Maru No. 1 and No. 3 were with the 'mother ship.'  The Japanese fleet ran from us and made way into the ice, we fell directly behind the Niss ... Read More

Blocking whaling operations

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Emily (Quartermaster)

At 6:30 in the morning, I fall out of my bunk to the zigzagging motion of our ship and loud sirens coming from outside. I run to the bridge and see high-pressured water-cannons spray the entire portside of the ship, with our crew and my friends outside getting wiped by the water. We pass the 'mother ship' of the Japanese whaling fleet by on our port. Crew on our eco-ship sends stink cans to contaminate the whaler's decks. I find out from an officer that a whale has been killed under our watch. It's now being chopped up and packaged o ... Read More

Confrontation from the Delta

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Molly (Deckhand)

What a crazy day! Five days since we first encountered the Nisshin Maru and I've been excitedly tallying the whales saved on my calendar each day since then.  Today it is 60 (on average 12 a day) and what a fitting start to our second small boat attack (on this leg).  It started with a 6 AM wake up call and the deckies dutifully donned their wetsuits and mustang suits.  It is so eerie waking up, suiting up and walking out into Antarctic summer day to be greeted by the menacing Nisshin factory ship, fleeing, just off ou ... Read More

Being an Activist in Antarctica…

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nicola Paris (Galley Assistant)

South of 70 degrees.  Where there is no god- if that's your thing. Its 1:40 AM on the 5th of February and I can't sleep.  I am looking out the porthole at a muted grey seascape, in a state of constant twilight. Yesterday morning I was woken up at 5 AM by someone letting me know that two of the whaling fleet's harpoon ships were suddenly flanking us as we were pacing with the Nisshin Maru - the whaling fleet's factory processing ship.  We had a long running battle the day beforehand and everyone was catching up on sle ... Read More

All for the Whales

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

By Dave Nickarz (3rd Engineer)

We are now in our fourth day of chasing the Nisshin Maru-the factory whaling ship that has no business being in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.  We're all pretty glad they're running from us because that means no whales can be killed.  The engineers have some more work to do with the increased speed of the chase, and we have to deal with the increased air pollution as well. This is all worth the price if fewer whales are killed this season.  During my shift in the engine room I make the time to take brief visits to the ... Read More

Chasing the Nisshin Maru

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

By Andy (Leading Deckhand)

1000 hours on February 1st, 2009, excitement erupts through the mess because we've found the fleet.  The Nisshin Maru is about ten nautical miles, and visible, off our port bow.  With it are two harpoon vessels; the Yushin Maru No.1 and Yushin Maru No.2. The high-speed inflatable small boats were readied for deployment, but as we came out of the calm sea from the ice-flow we were in, conditions turned bad and the small-boats action was aborted. One harpoon vessel with the Nisshin Maru started to fall back as we pursued th ... Read More

Confronting the Nisshin Maru

Monday, February 09, 2009

By Nicola (4th cook)

Saturday 6th February Everything changed today. I was woken up around 5am by the sound of the LRAD sonic weapon intruding into my dreams.  I opened my porthole to see what was happening only to see the Nisshin Maru's high powered water cannon blasting our ship from a range of only 10-15 meters. I later found out that one of the kill ships had approached the Nisshin at a very fast rate and unloaded a whale they had caught.  It's the first time that a whale has been killed with Sea Shepherd in the vicinity; and it shows th ... Read More

Getting Closer

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Nicola (4th Cook)

It was quiet on the ship last night - people are trying to catch up on sleep and preparing for action.  We are amongst the ice and I saw the first iceberg of this trip to the Antarctic yesterday. It seems surreal to be unexcited by icebergs.  Yes, they are stunning; some of them are like ancient frosted glaciers with caves carved out by constant water pressure, the type of locale you could imagine the White Witch from Narnia feeling comfortable in. Icebergs I will continue to be in awe of but after being amongst the heavy i ... Read More

Battle for the Whales

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Emily (Quartermaster)

There is a steady silence on the bridge. Crew fills the room but no words are uttered. We stand poised staring at the horizon with one goal in mind. We are ready to pounce. We are ready for battle. Few have embarked on such a battle - the battle for the whales, the battle for planet earth. Even fewer would embark on such a battle with the 'radicals' of Sea Shepherd that risk their lives for marine wildlife. On January 29th, we have a crew meeting on the Sea Shepherd ship, the M/Y Steve Irwin, and the officers notify us that they bel ... Read More

Reading Harpoon while Saving Whales

Thursday, January 29, 2009

David Nickarz (3rd Engineer)

It's now 56 days into our mission to stop the pirate whaling of the Japanese government in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.  We left Hobart about 8 days ago now, after a short break to refuel and re-provision. We have now returned to the whale sanctuary.  This refuge had been established by several nations in the early 1990's as a place whales could live and feed, unmolested by humanity.  Whalers ignored the establishment of this sanctuary and continued their commercial slaughter under the lie of scientific whaling.&nbs ... Read More

Leg Two Begins

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Andy (Leading Deckhand)

On Wednesday, January 21st at 1630 hours, the lines were off and leg two of Operation Musashi began. But it was not long until we went to anchor for a couple of hours off the Hobart suburb of Lower Sandy Bay.  With so much work to do in port, such as: modifications to our rigid-inflatable boats (RIBs), repairs and modification to the ship's running gear and associated equipment, the taking on board of fuel and oil, restocking of food and water, etc... We haven't had enough time and opportunity to ensure that everything was secur ... Read More

Quartermaster’s Blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

By Steve Roest (Quartermaster)

We'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 ca ... Read More

Blog from the Engine Room

Monday, January 26, 2009

By David (Engineer)

We are underway the second time this season to find and stop the criminal whaling fleet from Japan.  This is my third Antarctic whaling campaign with the Sea Shepherds and I hope it will be my last.  Putting up with the rough seas and time away from loved ones takes its toll on us volunteers. We can't just walk off the ship and go to the nearest pub for a beer, or to the nearest park for a dose of terrestrial wilderness.  We are stuck in this noisy metal box for the next several weeks.  Of course, it's nothing co ... Read More

Blog from the Galley

Monday, January 26, 2009

by Nicola (2nd Cook)

We are on our way back down to Antarctica.  It feels good to be on the move again, and to be traveling away from the mania of port and reprovisioning. The people of Tasmania were very generous, and we received some lovely seasonal produce... we are happy to be currently drowning in stonefruit.  Thousands of dollars in food donations later, we are well stocked with fresh provisions for the second leg. What does it take to feed 41 people vegan food for 60 days? 350 kilos of potatoes, 150 kilos of onions, 40 kilos of tofu.. ... Read More

Indonesia Sends Whalers Packing

Friday, January 16, 2009

by Jeff (Quartermaster) Australian Director

Today, the Indonesian forestry authorities, CITES authorities, and the local government officials have demanded PT PAL dismiss the Yushin Maru No. 2 from Surabaya harbor without repair. The harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No.2 had to leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to repair a damaged propeller it sustained while illegally whaling within Australian territorial waters in late December 2008. The ship has been sitting in port in Surabaya waiting for repairs since the 5th January 2009. Under the EPBC Act, Australian law prohibits  ... Read More

Last Roll for the Shepherds

Monday, January 12, 2009

by Jeff (Quartermaster) Australian Director

Tuesday 6th January: With fuel running short, the first leg of Operation Musashi to shut down the whaling fleet is coming to a close as we return to port to refuel. We had been right in the thick of an area where we thought the fleet would be, inside a cove of ice opposite the Ross Sea Ice shelf. The campaign so far had been plagued with adverse conditions of fog, ice and gale force winds hindering our search of the fleet and today was no different. At 0630 the fog had somewhat lifted and with a visibility of at best 5 miles, a dec ... Read More

Confronting the Kaiko Maru in the Fog

Monday, December 29, 2008

by Jeff (Quartermaster) Australian Director

Arriving back at the bridge after dinner, I noticed something on the radar that warranted first mate Peter Brown's attention. There was a long trail coming off of an object in a direction not in unison with the ice bergs. Acquiring the target we had its speed, course and heading and a call was made to Captain Paul Watson to plan the potential attack. As the target moved in, it appeared as though it was going to pass within a mile between us and an ice berg in the thick fog. With visibility severely restricted, a vessel less than a  ... Read More

Blog from Andy - High Seas Encounters

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Andy (Leading Seaman, Deck Crew)

SOMEWHERE OFF ANTARCTICA 0800 HOURS I awoke to stormy, choppy conditions; I can feel in my cabin that the Steve Irwin is pitching and rolling more than she has the last few days ­ though not nearly as much as she did steaming here from Hobart. I get up for breakfast.  There is sleet squalling horizontally across our decks, which are covered in ice and snow.  The conditions on deck are very slippery, so the deck crew resigns itself to rostered indoor duties for the day. 1000 HOURS News sweeps across the ship that a  ... Read More

Confronting the Yushin Maru No. 2

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

by Jeff (Quartermaster) Australian Director

The pursuit of the elusive Japanese whaling fleet has led Sea Shepherd off the Adelie Coast of Antarctica, deep within the pristine, icy waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. A vessel was spotted on the radar at 10:00 hours with a bearing of 330°, traveling at 12.7 knots and a range of 8.9 miles. The crew was put on red alert as we made preparations for possible confrontation with the whaling fleet. The question of which vessel had been discovered was quickly answered, when out of the fog off the Steve Irwin's port side ... Read More

From the 8-12 watch on the Bridge of the Steve Irwin

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

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 t ... Read More


The whales are counting on us for protection . . .
We are counting on you to keep us fighting for them.



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