Crew Blog

Read field reports and other news from the frontlines of the campaign.

 

Miracles Happen

by Corey Dahlquist

Corey Dahlquist. Photo: Carolina A CastroToday is a Sea day – we are almost complete with our transit from the Vaquita refuge near San Felipe, Baja, Mexico to San Diego, California.  It’s cloudy, windy, and a bit bumpy.  I imagine that everything I am feeling is like unto what thousands of Sailors felt before me and that thousands more will feel after.

Operation Milagro is the most unprecedented success for Sea Shepherd as well as in global conservation history. As our mission comes to a close I am overwhelmed with all of the accomplishments that I share with this extraordinary crew – from the Captain to the media to the newest deckhand.  Everyone contributed immeasurably to the partnership with the Mexican government, the Mexican Navy, the local community, and to removing 42 illegal nets and 16 illegal long-lines from the Vaquita refuge and the gillnet exclusion zone in the Sea of Cortez.  We destroyed over 100 net and long-line anchors, collected and destroyed over 2000 long-line hooks, and created 10 variants of our signature “Phantom Ray” net and long-line catcher three of which we presented to the Mexican Navy to carry on operations during our brief departure.  Most importantly, the sea life saved from those nets, lines, and hooks may be measured in numbers but can never be measured in their continuing contribution to the earth and the marine ecosystem.

Read more: Miracles Happen

Not to be forgotten…

by Roy Sasano

Roy Sasano. Photo: Carolina A CastroAs the Farley Mowat wraps up this phase of Operation Milagro, I've been reflecting upon the events we've shared over the past 5 months. You've seen death and destruction.You've also seen life and hope. You know the main stories and characters through the lens of a producer's imagination, both in our web content and on TV.

There are many important things that you might not know, however – credit deserved but not given, stories untold but not forgotten. Here are my top 5:

Read more: Not to be forgotten…

Conservation with Teeth

By Sean Olson

Sean Olsen. Photo: Carolina A CastroI had no idea what to expect when I made the decision to work with Sea Shepherd. Some people said that they were pirates, some called them eco-terrorists, and others dismissed them as “dirty hippies.”  Looking back, I suppose that all of those groups sounded good to me, so I caught a plane to Mexico to save a porpoise on the brink of extinction, and maybe, something else.

On my first day here we freed a humpback whale that was caught in a fishing net, two weeks later we pulled up a similar net that had trapped and killed both a white shark, and a bottlenose dolphin. In the few weeks between, we removed a dozen illegal nets, several long lines, and resuscitated quite a few dying animals.  

Read more: Conservation with Teeth

The Sea of Cortez

by Bastien Boudoire

Batien Boudoire"The Sea of Cortez"  where is that? When I first got the chance to crew on Operation Milagro 1 as Captain Oona's first mate, I didn't even know where the Sea of Cortez was located. And like most  people, I didn't know what a Vaquita Marina was. As I learned more about it, I was shocked by the numbers: approximately 150 Vaquita Marina alive in 2007 and approximately 90 in 2014.

Between the ongoing fishing activities generated by the consumers demand for seafood and the fact that the Colorado River is no longer flowing, we are still the biggest threat for the Vaquita Marina. Even though the Vaquita Marina is not the direct target of the poachers, it is killed as by-catch in gillnets.

Recently, with the help of the Mexican Navy, the Sea Shepherd crew retrieved an illegal totoaba gillnet that was approximately 500 meters long. After the action, in the very early morning, I fully realized what we had done.  An intense feeling of pleasure and justice ran through me.

We also found two other gillnets and one longline, all of which were illegal gear.  What an awesome thing to know that no more animals will die as a result of this illegal fishing gear! That is the best reward for all of us!

Read more: The Sea of Cortez

Diving for Sea Shepherd

By Jean Paul

En Español

Jean Paul holding Ocean Reef mask. Photo: Carolina A CastroJean Paul holding Ocean Reef mask.
Photo: Carolina A Castro
My name is Jean Paul but my friends know me as JP, and from now on you are welcome to call me that. I am a Computer Engineer from Chile but I spent part of my childhood on San Cristóbal Island on the Galápagos Islands, always close to the sea. I learned to love the sea and the animals from my mum. I remember one day when we were living on the South of Chile, she rescued a fox -- she spent days teaching him how to hunt and how to eat eggs while he was recovering his health, and when he was ready she freed him.

I am an underwater lover. I discovered my passion for the subaquatic world when I joined the Firemen as a Volunteer. The unit I was part of has a group specialized in Subaquatic Rescue called GRESA (Grupo de Rescate Subacuatico) as well as a Non-traditional Rescue Unit, also known as vertical rescue. I learned how to dive while I was volunteering with them. After my first experiences as a diver I got my certification as a Recreational diver and from then on, I was training until becoming a Dive Instructor and a Tec Diver, with several PADI and RAID certificates. I spent my last years as a diver enjoying the company of bull-sharks and hammerhead-sharks in different parts of the world. I have even been diving in Antarctica waters helping in some scientific research; we were taking samples of ice, water and animal’s skins to investigate the environmental impact and climate change.

Read more: Diving for Sea Shepherd

Schrödinger’s Buoy

by Adam Conniss

Adam ConnissThe day is almost over and I do not know if I should be enjoying myself as much as I am. I am on the foredeck of my ship the “Farley Mowat” and working around me are my friends and fellow crew. We have reached a natural break in our rhythmic task. People swap roles and fresh hands take over from weary ones. We are all sweating and a beaker of water is passed around, knives are sharpened. I feel high and elated, it is exactly a year ago today that I joined these ships and I am proud of myself and my crew. This is the work we all signed up to do; dirty, grim hard work but don't I feel happy, don't I feel alive.

The day started so well.

Read more: Schrödinger’s Buoy

Joining the RV Martin Sheen

By Mar Casariego

en español

Mar CasariegoI heard about Sea Shepherd a few years ago, and even then, the idea of protecting the oceans sounded great to me, but it looked too risky and extreme for me. Even though I love adventure, traveling and nature and I have always dreamed about helping the environment I was not sure at all, that my quiet and shy character fitted with this black flag and rough behavior.

The Sea has been always present on my life; I was born by the sea side, surrounded by the salty wind of the sea. My father was a lighthouse-keeper and my home was a sailors guide, my first memories are with my brother looking at the sea from our lighthouse’s terrace just trying to figured out where the boats were going to, I remember spending my summers on the rocks observing the crabs, sea urchins and octopus hiding in the cracks of the rocks. I started to sail before I can remember and since then I fell in love with the sea. That’s why the idea of taking care of the oceans and those who live in them, besides of sounding so beautiful, makes so much sense to me. I could not live without the sea.

Read more: Joining the RV Martin Sheen

My First Time Sailing

by Conrad Carr

Conrad CarrThis was my first time actually sailing. I've lived for weeks at a time out on catamarans in Indonesia hunting swell, but that was a different story. I was just eating, sleeping, and surfing all day. Out here I feel like an actual sailor, a bad sailor, but a sailor with a cause.

December 12th 2015, I flew in to San Felipe in the smallest "commercial" plane in the world over desert and huge white mountains, not white with snow, but sand. We landed at an "airport" that was literally one quarter mile long air strip road. If you were to see this airport you would think it was some farmer's barn out in the middle of the desert by the sea. A 24-year-old amigo named Sabino picked me up in a taxi and told me something about "playas bonitas." Sabino took me to the beach where I jumped on a dingy with JP and Carolina and headed for the boat. I got my shoes all wet. We motored up to the Martin Sheen, a massive "pirate" ship, gold and elegant. I climbed aboard and felt like young Jack Dawson, when he first got on the Titanic, young, wild and free. I met the crew, learned the safety precautions, and got my watch hours of 12 am to 3 am and 12 pm to 3 pm, where I am to scan the horizon for enemy boats by night and vaquita porpoises by day. After dinner I went out on the deck and watched the stars. I've never seen the sky so vast, so open, so beautiful. The Big Dipper was right above the ocean. The Milky Way was clear as day. There were a million stars in the sky as we sailed across somewhat bumpy seas.

Read more: My First Time Sailing

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Milagro III

Sea Shepherd Works with Legal Fishermen to Protect the Vaquita
Operation Heavy Metal is a Sea Shepherd effort to address the materials from illegal fishing gear we retrieved during #OpMilagro. We have been working with legal local fisherman from ABC Pesca to upcycle the lead weights we find on illegal nets and t...
Operation Milagro IV: Sea Shepherd’s Most Successful Vaquita Defense Campaign
Operation Milagro IV has come to an end, but Sea Shepherd will be back in the vaquita refuge soon. This has been one of the most effective Sea Shepherd campaigns to date. We removed more fishing gear than all previous #OpMilagro campaigns combined. T...
Miracles happen: Sea Shepherd Crew saves a Smalltail Shark
Milagro means Miracle in Spanish. Sea Shepherd named Operation Milagro this way because a Miracle was needed to save the vaquita porpoise. It has been 4 years and there is still hope. Sea Shepherd will not give up. Over the past 4 years we have se...
Thank you Mexican Navy
Today is Mexican Navy Day! We thank these brave man and women for their service and for protecting the vaquita porpoise. Learn more about our partnership at www.seashepherd.org/milagro Hoy es el Día de la Marina Nacional en México. Sea Shepherd ag...
STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP WITH MEXICO BRINGS RENEWED HOPE FOR VAQUITA
Mexican Government Enforcement Officers start joint operations on board Sea Shepherd vessels, bolstering chances for survival of endangered vaquita porpoise and addressing security concerns in the region. Read more at: https://goo.gl/UK4cM6
OPERATION MILAGRO IV - By-catch
The crew of Sea Shepherd's Sharpie finds a shark delivering babies on a net. This is the gruesome result of by-catch. Join the fight to protect the oceans at: www.seashepherd.org
OPERATION MILAGRO IV - Retrieving illegal nets and saving lives.
Milestone for The M/V Farley Mowat May 10th 2018 150 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 596 Entangled Animals TOTAL COUNT FOR #OpMIlagro IV is currently: 364 Pieces of Illegal Fishing Gear 1701 Entangled Animals 747 LIVES SAVED On the evening of May 10...
Sea Shepherd Saves Leatherback Turtle on Earth Day 2018
Sea Shepherd crew saves the life of an adult leatherback turtle entangled in illegal gillnet in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico - a Federally Protected and UNESCO listed Area Read more at: https://goo.gl/Z976Hz Support us at: https://goo.gl/CK7N...
SHOTS FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S M/V SHARPIE
On the night of April 10th, 2018, SHOTS WERE FIRED AT SEA SHEPHERD'S The M/V Sharpie Operation Milagro IV 31 27.31 N 114 45.63 W At 7:46 pm on the night of April 10th, while retrieving an illegal gillnet approximately 8 nautical miles off the Baja...
SEA SHEPHERD SAVES 25 CRITICALLY ENDANGERED TOTOABAS IN THE HEIGHT OF SPAWNING SEASON
Conservationists intercept and remove illegal gillnet minutes before recovery by poachers, saving entire school of totoaba bass from black market trade. Read the full article at: https://goo.gl/DJYxj6 Help us protect the oceans: https://goo.gl/YyLcv...
Sea Shepherd Improves Techniques to Save the Vaquita Porpoise.
Sea Shepherd is always improving techniques to better protect our oceans! Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/Milagro Donate at: https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
Three Ships, One Mission: To Save a Species.
Sea Shepherd has 3 vessels in the Sea of Cortez to protect the #VaquitaMarina porpoise. This is the first time in the history of #OpMilagro that we have 3 vessels in the area dedicated to removing nets. Removing the illegal gillnets is the reason wh...
Nets
How many destructive nets will it take to understand that If the Oceans Die, We Die. Support #OpMilagro at: https://goo.gl/1XLQD4 Learn more about Operation Milagro at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro
Every Single Life Matters.
We fight for life, for biodiversity, #ForTheOceans Every single life matters. Because in the end "If the Oceans Die, We die" Captain Paul Watson. To learn more about Operation Milagro please visit: www.seashepherd.org/milagro To support us: https://...
To Save A Species
Poachers threaten our crew and shot at our drone one more time. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THE VAQUITA. Join us by supporting our mission at https://goo.gl/2sAS9r
We Are Together
TO ALL PARENTS, CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES: Sea Shepherd has 32 extraordinary people in the waters of the Gulf of California, Mexico. The crew members on board The M/V Farley Mowat and The M/V John Paul DeJoria have one mission: To save the smallest, r...
EXTINCTION IS FOREVER - The Totoaba Fight
The totoaba bass is a critically endangered species. Totoabas share their waters with the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Both face this dire situation because of the illegal trade of totoaba swim bladders. Due to ...
SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING
#BREAKING SEA SHEPHERD FREES ENDANGERED TOTOABA FOLLOWING SECOND DRONE SHOOTING Despite gunshots being fired at its drone again,Sea Shepherd, together with the Mexican Navy, drove poachers off the protected vaquita refuge and saved the life of an end...
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS
SEA SHEPHERD NIGHT DRONE SHOT DOWN BY POACHERS Tension rises in the fight to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. On Chrismas eve, the crew of the M/V Jean Paul Dejoria was surprised by gunfire. Read the article: https://goo.gl/ULQ...
Operation Milagro IV: The Science Behind the Campaign
In the past four years, Sea Shepherd has removed thousands of illegal gillnets during our Operation Milagro campaign in Mexico's Sea of Cortez. These nets contain hundreds of animals, some dead, some alive. The video above shows a list of species our...
Operation Milagro IV: A Vaquita Defense Campaign
This campaign launch video illustrates the issues surrounding the vaquita rescue efforts. Sea Shepherd is continuing its relentless commitment to stop the imminent extinction of the endangered vaquita porpoise by is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of Ca...
Op. Milagro III: Sam Simon Campaign Summary
The history of the Sam Simon, and the facts and figures surrounding the work this ship has done during Operation Milagro III in the Gulf of California from December 2016 to May 2016.
Operation Milagro III: The Endangered Vaquita Porpoise
ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! Sea Shepherd is making a valiant effort to save the CRITICALLY ENDANGERED Vaquita Porpoise from EXTINCTION. There are fewer than 30 left on Earth. We have to do everything we can to stop the use of illegal gillnets!! Please joi...