- 04 October 2009 | Environment
A mid-ocean rendezvous between the participants of the Transparentsea environmental awareness initiative and the crew of the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin took place offshore from the Northern NSW town of Yamba on the weekend.
The Transparentsea paddlers, who are making their way to Sydney from Byron Bay over a 36-day period to draw attention to the plight of the humpback whales and coastal pollution issues, battled fierce southerly winds and rising swells to greet the boat’s crew as they sat anchored about two kilometers out from the entrance to the Clarence River.
The trimaran sea kayaks being used by the paddlers were dwarfed by the size of the Steve Irwin that will dock in Sydney until October 12th, before leaving for Perth and then the Southern Ocean to officially commence its whale fighting campaign in December.
Irwin Captain Alex Cornelissen and his crew had hot cups of tea waiting for campaigners Chris Del Moro (San Diego, USA), Will Conner (Byron Bay, AUS), Surfrider Foundation GM Kristy Theissling (Coolangatta, AUS) and Dave Rastovich (Brunswick Heads, AUS) who each hauled themselves from the rough sea up a rope ladder to climb aboard.
Captain Cornelissen was appreciative of the efforts of the Transparentsea team who share the vision of the Sea Shepherd Organisation and hinted at what lay in store for the Japanese whale ‘researchers’ come December.
“If we get the opportunity to meet up with a Sea Shepherd crew member who is doing a lot of great stuff then of course, we’re not going to let that pass,” said Captain Cornelissen, referring to Rastovich’s participation in the Galapagos Islands in 2007.
“Our preparation is good. We’ve been working for about six months, dry docking and getting the ship ready for campaign. We’ve still got to install a couple surprises for the Japanese, but we have some things planned. Some will be funny, others will be very effective, you’ll see.”
Rastovich, who is a renowned professional ‘free-surfer’, spoke on behalf of the surfing community and the intentions of the Transparentsea voyage.
“It’s only a small act, but I know all the surfers I’ve met around the world during my travels in the last year have all been supportive of what we’re doing and particularly of Sea Shepherd’s front line activism,” said Rastovich.
“So to catch up with them today on their way to the next Southern Ocean campaign and give them even just a little moral support and to let them know our surfing community is behind them is a really important acknowledgment.”