Our recent trip down to the peninsula reminded me how much I miss the sea.
For over sixteen years, we lived on the southernmost tip of Western Australia.
1986 - scanned from my archives... a cardboard box :)
We were just minutes from a pristine and (well, back then) very private beach known only to the locals and but a few visitors. Where the sand was so fine and quartz white, it squeaked as you walked.
A little bay of blue, bordered by boulders on both sides. A tiny secret harbour where the light danced and shimmered in the aqua-green shallows.
2000 - having the beach to ourselves, and loving it!
Looking out over the gloriously vast, cold waters of the Southern Ocean, I would think about the myriad creatures swimming within that deep blue.
Sharks - often gorgeous Great Whites, at salmon run time – dolphins, orcas, seals, penguins, turtles, stingrays, beautiful array of fish and minute sea life, and of course… whales.
Since Albany's bloody history of whaling ended in 1978, whale numbers have grown, and they now breed and feed safely in the sheltered and protected waters off the coast, migrating between the warm northern waters and the cooler seas surrounding Antarctica. Where sadly, for too long and for so many, it became their last journey.
I have long been a supporter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. And, consider Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, a hero.
He is no pencil pushing head of an organisation behind a desk.
This huge hearted vigilante, and pirate for the seas, has perilously placed himself between whales and harpoon ships for over 30 years.
I consider myself very fortunate to have met Paul in Fremantle years ago, when I donated food supplies for their Antarctic campaign, Operation Migaloo.
He and his brave, tireless, dedicated crews defend not only the great leviathans of the seas, but all that dwell within the depths.
It is they, the creatures of the sea, who are his clients.
On April 1st 2014, the world woke to the news about the ban on whaling in the Southern Ocean. Making the “research whaling program”, which has killed thousands of whales in the spurious name of "science", illegal.
A momentous and hard won victory for Paul, his incredible conservation society and their many supporters.
Whilst wildlife organisations and governments were calling for an end to whaling, it was the Sea Shepherd who laid their lives on the line, every season, to ensure as very few whales as possible were slaughtered, and that the whalers “quota” not be met.
They fight at the front line. True soldiers for the sea.
Sea Shepherd’s public campaigns influenced the Australian government to act, which brought about the International Court of Justice final decision.
It is Sea Shepherd that I take my hat off to. And will continue to support, as they keep a keen eye on the Southern Ocean next season to ensure Japan abides by the decision.
Should they return however, the ships bearing the familiar black eco-pirate flag will be on their heels.
Now to stop whaling in the north.
One day soon, may whaling be relegated to the history books for all time.
Also, an end to the cruel slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji, senseless shark finning and culling, remove baited drumlines and longline fishing, the worldwide closure of oceanariums/sea worlds - the list of cruelty is almost endless and overwhelming.
But, time, determination and the passion of organisations like Sea Shepherd and millions of supporters will help win out in the end.
It can be done.
*I'll post Part 2 on Friday.