Sea Shepherd

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.”

Transparent Voyage

A large crowd of well-wishers gathered on Byron Bay’s Main Beach this morning to show their support for five daring environmental campaigners who have begun a 36 day voyage by sea to Sydney to highlight the plight of migrating humpback whales and to draw awareness to coastal pollution issues.

Dubbed “Transparentsea”, the odyssey is an initiative of professional surfer Dave Rastovich, an environmental crusader who is joined on his quest by Californian surfer and artist Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), Musician Will Conner (AUS), Photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS) and Surfrider Foundation’s Kristy Theissling (Coolangatta, QLD, AUS).

Paddling single-seat “trimaran” sea kayaks, the participants will use only the wind and the waves to assist them on their journey, as they trace the migration paths of the whales destined for the Southern Ocean.

During their frequent stops along the East Coast, the team will also engage local communities to assist in beach clean-ups, as well as highlighting and recording other areas of environmental concern including the effects of the commercial fishing industry on marine mammals and fish stocks; run-off issues to do with agricultural, domestic and industrial human activities; and the state of rivers and estuaries.

“It’s a great honour to be here from California representing such a great cause and the organisation Surfers for Cetaceans,” said Del Moro.

“I’m just stoked to see Australians have such an incredible support for environmental issues, especially water and ocean related issues and the fight against whaling and dolphin hunts. In the States we have a lot of people who are really fired up, but here it seems like whole communities are coming out. Everyone’s really given us their support; it feels like a lot of people are really backing it (Transparentsea). It excites me to think we’ll be at sea with these amazing creatures, it’s going to be life changing,” he added.

A fresh northerly wind and swell provided the paddlers with the perfect start, and by the end of day one, they hope to have reached Evans Head, some 60 kilometers south, before a planned rendezvous with Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd and his ship, the “Steve Irwin” in the vicinity of Yamba this weekend.

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Surfboards in the Sand

On Saturday, September 19, Surf City USA celebrates Huntington Beach’s Centennial with a tribute to the city’s surf heritage and coastal environment with the much-anticipated “Surfboards in the Sand.”

Thousands of surfers, and lovers of surf culture, will gather with their surfboards on Huntington City Beach adjacent the famed HB Pier to be a part of the world’s largest surf photo commemorating 50 years of professional surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Produced by the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau, “Surfboards in the Sand” encourages surf enthusiasts to demonstrate their devotion to protecting the ocean environment while celebrating California’s classic beach lifestyle.

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