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Roxy Initiative ambassador Natalie Fox reports from Sea Shepherds 2012/13 Antarctic campaign

Roxy Initiative ambassador Natalie Fox reports from Sea Shepherds 2012/13 Antarctic campaign

Engaged in dolphins and whales protection through the association woman for whales, I thought the time had come for me to realize what it meant to be protecting those cetaceans in the field.

I’ve decided to join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s zero tolerance campaign in October 2012 with the intention of staying 8 weeks at most… I ended up volunteering for 5 months!

This trip in icy waters aboard the Sam Simon on a mission to protect feeding baleen whales in this fiercely contrasting habitat – where land, ice and ocean collide; snow, wind and glorious sunshine coincide - is an experience I will never forget.  

Once we reached the calmer waters close to the Antarctic continent, we were greeted by minke and humpback whales almost every day.  It was wonderful to see them in the wild where they migrate to feed in nutrient rich waters for 3-4 months every year, but also devastating, because it meant that the whalers would see them too.

Despite of the fact that we were outnumbered with smaller budgets and much smaller vessels, we endured stormy seas, confrontations in ice fields and ship to ship collisions, with all three Sea Shepherd vessels being struck by the 8000 ton floating factory Nisshin Maru.

This was Sea Shepherd’s 9th and most successful campaign to Antarctica, as we were victorious in preventing the deaths of a record amount of whales - 935 it has just been released - this is approximately just 10% of the whaling fleets annual quota and a huge loss for them economically.  

Two elements that really struck me were the fact that whales represent such an easy target for whalers and the the banner on the factory whaling ship Nisshin Maru calling us “Eco terrorists”.  If this word is broken down, and understood to mean someone who is “terrorizing ecology”… then we know who the real eco-terrorists are.

On our homecoming evening campaign director and former australian greens party leader Bob Brown invited all crew members up in front of a welcoming party audience, addressing us as the hope for the future.  And I would like to extend that message to YOU.  If you are reading this, and care about our precious marine life, then you are also the hope; you too are the future for our oceans.  Together we can change things where future generations live in harmony with the great whales, and all cetaceans are swimming free in clean, safe oceans.  And through my experience with Sea Shepherd, meeting so many passionate and dedicated people that do care, I’m positive we actually have a chance.

Natalie Fox

Thanks to Roxy & The Quiksilver Foundation for continuous support of women for whales.

For more information on these issues visit www.womenforwhales.org

To read more about her trip go to www.seashepherd.org

c.ElizaMuirhead
c.Eliza Muirhead