We raise the Jolly Roger flag when we start battles or chases
This is the fourth blog post in the series documenting the February to March 2008 leg of the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling Antarctic campaign. Previous posts in the series are here. The following post was an email I sent two weeks into the voyage. The next update will come Monday, July 14th.
From: Steve Irwin Vessel
Sent on: 3/2/08 10:18:33 +0000
Yesterday, that Japanese military ship (the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68) came within a mile of our tail, so we turned and attacked them head on again, and they flinched and turned to avoid us. Perhaps in hindsight it was dangerous, but at the time the other officer on the bridge and I were both American so we love to do cowboy crap like that. It worked out for the best anyway, since then the Fukuyoshi kept its distance. And since it stayed so far away from us, we managed to shake it off our tail completely using a tactic the Millennium Falcon used to evade the Star Destroyer fleet in The Empire Strikes Back, which I haven’t gotten tired of telling everyone on the bridge. They’ve been quoting Star Wars and Star Trek ever since, which I’m very proud of.
We gun it towards the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68, and they swerve to avoid us.
Everyone, including the grizzled manly first officer and captain (they’ve been doing these rough seafaring campaigns for 25+ years now), say they’ve never spoken more about scifi shows and Star Trek in their entire lives until I stepped aboard their ship. I suppose I have that effect on people. The first officer calls me Sulu now. This morning, one of my friends on the deck crew, Lawrence, a police officer, starting changing the lyrics of the song he was singing to include “gigabytes” as I passed by. I was proud of that.
But I haven’t told you the most exciting news yet. Today, we took on the whaling fleet! It’s the first day in a few days that the weather’s been calm enough for them to start whaling again, so it was important that we catch them today before they could harpoon any whales. Last night, our brilliant quartermaster, Jeff, plotted a course to intercept the fleet, and we started the morning by chasing three harpoon ships out of an area filled with whales. And, for the past nine hours or so, we’ve been chasing the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru! That’s especially exciting because, if we catch that ship, it’s game over for whaling. And as long as we keep it on the run like we are now, none of the harpoon boats can whale.
We’ve been chasing the Nisshin Maru via radar through ice fields and bad weather (I’ve been getting lots of radar practice), and now we’re chasing them through good, calm weather due north. They’re running away at full speed, and they’re not yet close enough for us to see with the naked eye, but we’re slowly catching up.
We chase the Nisshin Maru factory ship through ice berg fields. We can’t see it yet but we’re catching up.
We’ll probably catch them in about 12 hours. Gotta get back to the radar again (been pulling off some insane overtime at the bridge), but I’ll update you again soon!