Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whale (media)Whores

I've got to admit that the first episode of 'Whale Wars' seems to be pretty honestly filmed.
To date, I've seen clips from the show. I finally sat down and watched the first episode of the series. If you get a chance, check it out. You think you know some F'ed up people?
As a professional, I can't say much about this that you wouldn't find on Kennebec Captain's blog. From top down, the Steve Irwin is run like a summer camp. Semi Pro. You know what I'm saying. Just... so disturbing that the people they call "senior officers" display a level of professionalism on the job that we don't tolerate with our Ordinary Seamen. I have to question what nation issued the licenses aboard that ship. The second mate has a perpetually stunned look and language that fails to inspire. The chief mate and captain both use trucker's lingo in the wheelhouse, as opposed to jargon that is specific to the operation. The captain has an air of command, at least when things are going well. When things don't go so well? Deer in the headlights, big time.

I will readily admit to having a chip on my shoulder regarding the crew. A bigger bunch of awkward articles I've never seen. I can't imagine what the place smells like. Dirty feet and Patchouli oil, I would guess. The deck gang including the bosun, have never worked at sea before. Foreign-flagged ships can do that, I guess, though the Sea Shepherd's boat is classed as a yacht to avoid a lot of safety requirements.
For my own part, I can't imagine a less-effective bunch. The big red flag came when I heard that the food aboard their boat is 100% vegan. This makes a big bell go off in my head.

...about 10 years ago, I was performing a lecture related to dissection of large bony fish. I had a live cod to warm up with, and a fresh bluefin tuna to really get into, and 2 hours to fill. The first thing I did was pull the cod out of the barrel, grab it by the tail and swing it against the table, hard, killing it instantly. Several of the women present squawked, and I got called cruel... and the truth is, killing that thing moved me not at all. On principle, I killed it instantly so it wouldn't suffer, because that's the right thing to do when one can. I asked the group if they would prefer that I cut into the fish while it was live, and let it bleed out and asphixiate at the same time. That shut 'em up.
The truth is, my time as a fisherman did harden me to killing, but even so, virtually every fisherman prefers to kill his catch fast, to avoid making a creature suffer any more than it has to. That's the humane way of dealing with our carnivore nature. We need meat to live healthy and have healthy children. Killing is part of nature, and killing quickly a mercy.

Vegans don't get that. I appreciate their viewpoint, although I would note that most of 'em have a larger carbon footprint than do the majority of folk, thus offsetting any social benefit to the lifestyle. The good thing about Veganism is that it's hard to pass down. Thus far, the data indicates that children raised on a vegan diet don't fare as well as their balanced-diet compatriots, so it's safe to assume that they won't be reproducing all that successfully.

Anyhow, I'm rambling here, but I'll end with this: There's a reason why out of 6 billion souls, there are only 35 people willing to do what the Sea Shepherd people do. Omadhauns.

While I'm here sniffing fumes and seeing pretty colors, my pal Eric is flying to Baghdad.

Eric and I have always been peas in a pod. Granted, he's 6-foot-5 and looks like a viking, and I'm a stubby 6-footer in comparison. He's also a semi-pro adventurer in his free time, and, though you'd never guess it to look at him, he's a working scientist. He's a geologist, and is going to Iraq to oversee a rebuilding project, I guess, involving drilling for new clean water supplies.
Friends and family are not surprised that he volunteered, I think. I always tried to be the voice of reason when we were high-schoolers, and keep us out of trouble. Sometimes I succeeded.

In reality, I grew up with some well-behaved people. One of the coolest things about being home is visiting the parents of my friends from way back... we've managed to keep a nice tight circle, and, now that we're adults, we can made amends for the dumb-ass shit we pulled.

Baghdad. That' one crazy-ass adventure. Makes my job look trite.


Ken E Beck said...

Enjoyed this post on the whale wars. I disagree that you won't say anything that won't be said at my blog - I think it's a sure bet your going to write lots of things I never will, that's why we read and enjoy.

With regards to whales and cod fish, I'll stick writing about RIB boats and sea painters.

I read an article about killing and eating wild elk. Most of the deforestation worldwide is caused by clearing for agriculture, soybeans is high on the list of crops that displace forest. The argument is that eating elk has a much lower impact on the environment then, say, tofu because soybeans require cleared fields and elk require natural fields and forest. I would think the same argument could be applied to whale meat. Moral issues aside how environmental friendly is whale meat?

- You won't read that at Kennebec Captain though.


Fred Fry said...

Officially, the STEVE IRWIN is classed as a "Fishing Support Vessel", registered in the Netherlands with 'SEA SHEPHERD UK' as the listed owner.

Lloyd's Register had classed the vessel but had pulled classification back in July 2007. Seems that this is not enough for the Australians to detain the vessel.

It is not classed a yacht, at least as far as the flag-state is concerned.

Anonymous said...

Whaling...whatever, that's a personal opinion that one makes. Have no doubt though, the crew and "officers" of Sea Shepard are dangerous. As a professional mariner the only reason I would ever sail with them is to save them from themselves.