Thursday, 3 April 2014

Leviathan Love ~ Part 1

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 :)

A wild and gloriously rugged coastline, with an uninterrupted horizon of cobalt and indigo blue that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Next stop would be Antarctica.

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.


  1. I too am a big supporter. And very, very happy about this decision. And less happy about our current guvermint's fears that it might jeopardise trade. There are things (rather a lot of them in my eyes) which are more important than money.
    Love your images. It has been way too long since I have been to the sea.

    1. Very happy to know you're a Sea Shepherd supporter too, EC.
      The current govt are milksops. I have wished that Bob Brown was PM.
      And yes, I so agree. There are more important things than money.
      Money can't buy back a broken eco-system once it is damaged and gone.
      Governments are so self serving and bloody short sighted.

    2. Agh, it's the only language they can speak, innit? The economy, the economy, the economy. If they keep going on like that, I'll start thinking they have no other vision for anything other than money!


    3. They do have no other vision but myopia.

  2. I also love the sea and would miss it terribly if forced to live inland. That corner of W.A. is wonderful and remote - just frsh air, seabirds and nothing for thousands of miles. When I lived in Adelaide, the next stop was also Antarctica, which reminded us every winter by sending the infamous "Southerly buster" to slam into the suburban beaches. Bbbbrrrr.....

    The whales are fantastic. I've only seen them in Victor Harbor, breaching off The Bluff. I think they were the Southern Right Whale - so majestic. Except that they snore all night! I was most surprised by that :-)

    I hope that our initial euphoria over the UN decision is well placed. I know that Norway quibbles over a paragraph in another ban, so it says that the 1986 IWC global moratorium does not apply to them! And having watched various countries of Europe eel their way out of similar EU directives using the old chestnut of "culturally significant" practices, I fear that the Japanese will bring in spin doctors to alter their program to fit the new guidelines and continue as before. Time will tell.

    Meanwhile I join you in saluting the fantastic work of The Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace to keep the pressure on and in the public eye.

    1. I remember those cold southerly winds well. And, when the currents from the west coast collided with those from the south, the storms were something to behold.

      Water is an excellent conductor for sound, and whales have used it to their advantage well. Their calls can be heard across oceans. Incredible and hauntingly beautiful.

      These countries have clever spin doctors working for them, I agree. How tradition can be cited these days seems ludicrous. Especially as the boats and weapons used today are nothing like the "traditional" ones of old. The whales don't stand a chance at all.

      But, every win, however large or small, hopefully spurs on those who care, to lead the way and pass the baton on to the next generation - the ones who'll suffer the most if they don't continue the fight.
      We hold our breath and live in hope.

  3. heart so full can hardly speak.
    i cannot believe I've not heard of captain paul watson. greenpeace yes. but the sea shepherd no. and now i cannot wait to find out MORE AND MORE
    and to support him and them in their wonderful courageous work. and to have met him! in person. that's my idea of a true hero. worth meeting.
    and if we keep the whales' story alive by sharing it like this on our blogs... well. surely somehow someday it will make a difference.
    i just read today of the increase in garbage in the oceans. now there's one the size of an entire continent. OMG. and it's mostly plastic bags that only partially disintegrate and turn into a plastic "soup" and the sea turtles and marine life are dying from ingesting it.
    what are we doing to this planet? and people laugh and scorn and act like it's merely a political thing. WELL. it is not.
    the pictures are wonderful.
    as are

    1. Little wren. Campaigner for the orcas and the beautiful deep blue dwellers.
      Please, click on the link to Paul's bio in my post (highlighted text) and read about this brave man that takes no BS from any human when it comes to what, and who, he fights for.
      And, if you copy,paste this link it'll take you to the US website.
      You'll be happy to read what they fight for, orcas included. Particularly one called Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium.

      The garbage in the ocean is beyond horrific. I hate those plastic shopping bags.

  4. I have a vivid and very upsetting memory of going to sea world when I was about four years old. A lifelong lover of animals, I was so excited to go. I got there and would not stop crying and would have nothing to do with it. My mother references that memory often, she says what a revelation it was to her that a four year old could see it was wrong and she couldn't. She had been conditioned and desensitized and I had not.

    1. Your empathy was very evident at such a young age, Stephen Andrew.
      I imagine your mother was sad to see your distress, but, also very proud to see the kindness in you.

      I wonder if you tapped into a deep sadness in that place and you felt it was wrong.
      Adults can learn so much from young children not yet tainted by the influences of school and the world around them.
      Your experience was a fine example.

  5. Thank you for this post. I was not aware of Sea Shepherd and I will be reading the links that you have provided.
    I've only been to the ocean a few times, in my twenties. Sometimes I wish I had the resources to move and live close.
    I'm so glad to read about the ban on whaling.
    I agree what has been said about people being conditioned to accepting the way we've treated animals, living beings, in the past.
    I focus a lot of my energy on cats, dogs, horses and pigs.
    I'm also trying to become more informed on the food that we eat.
    And the amount of waste that I contribute to the earth.
    There is so much to fight against that sometimes it just seems too much...thank god for people like Captain Paul Watson.

    1. Dear Cynthia, it can feel overwhelming, I agree.
      Years ago, I was heavily into animal activism and would campaign a lot.
      I found myself becoming very misanthropic - too much so. I wasn't in balance anymore.
      I had to pull back a little and work on what I felt most passionate about and try to find balance again.
      It's so hard, in a world that uses and abuses the sentient creatures of this world - on land, in the water and the sky - to keep positive.
      But, we must try as much as possible... for our own sanity.

      We can't all fight for everything, or we'd burn out. People will find what they're most passionate about and work for those causes. That's important. Chipping away, little by little. With persistence.

      If we burn out trying to chase our (vestigial) tails and help all causes, we'll be of no use to any of them.
      Keep your energy focussed on where, and for who, you feel you make the biggest difference.
      You do such good work for the animals you work with. And you're making a difference - it all helps.
      Be informed and aware. Research is education. Knowledge is good.
      And, so is an empathetic heart like yours xx

  6. Very informative and moving post, Vicki. Many small voices together can make one big shout HEY STOP THAT! And those out in the field---on the front lines---need our support in whatever way we can contribute. It can start with a simple act of awareness of what we do in our daily lives have such huge impact---good or bad---on wildlife and the environment. Live simply, give generously and love completely.


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