The Chase Continues - Day Seven
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
On Board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin
For a week this large Japanese stern trawler the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 has been on our tail, never saying anything, just following, and relaying our position constantly to the Japanese whaling fleet.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has been able to keep on the tail of the whaling ships but we have been unable to close in because of the real time updates from the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68.
They have not been able to kill any whales however because they are continuously on the move. If they stop we can catch up with them.
Now, however, our job has become considerably easier. We have shaken our tail and the Japanese Coast Guard on the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 does not know where we are.
Thanks to a heavy storm in a sea of icebergs, we were able to shake them loose. They lost us on their radar. We lost them on our radar. I then decided to stop and drift in the fog amongst the icebergs.
Two hours later the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 came on our radar screens and we watched them pass us in the dense fog until they moved off the screen. Because we were not moving they did not see us. We were just another target amongst dozens of drifting icebergs.
We will soon be able to get underway again and this time we should be able to move towards the Japanese fleet without the Japanese Coast warning them of our approach.
The weather is getting considerably worse as we approach the end of the whaling season. If we can hold them off for a few more weeks we will be able to significantly impact their kill quota.
As darkness increases each evening it makes navigation more and more difficult for both the whalers and for us. Striking a solid piece of ice the size of a truck in the dark of night can be fatal. We need to exercise increased caution.
The crew remains in great spirits. We can now mark another week of no kills for the Japanese whalers. That makes over four solid weeks this season that the Japanese have not taken any whales.
It's hard to believe that we have been on this campaign since December 5th, 2007, almost three solid months.
It is lonely down here in these remote cold seas. It is like being on another planet, an alien planet of ice and exotic life forms and the only other ships within hundreds of miles belong to a ruthless and vicious enemy.
Adding all the days together, I have spent over two accumulated years of my life at sea chasing the whalers through ice floes, bergs and through stormy seas. The only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that we have been successful in shutting down so many whaling operations over the years. Well, that and seeing these magnificent creatures swimming majestically free as we pass them by.
Each day that we keep the whales from dying is a victory. Each day we keep the whalers spending vast amounts of money by wasting their fuel without a kill is a victory. Each day we can further expose Japan's illegal whaling activities down here in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is a victory.
We are going to win this fight. Eventually we will drive these killers from these waters so the whales can be left in peace. It's only a matter of time.
One thing for certain is that Sea Shepherd will never abandon these whales. We are here to shepherd them through the valley of the shadow of death and we will do all within our power to do so.