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

Op Milagro V Episode 9 - NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's V...
57 Dead Sharks In One Gillnet Found by Sea Shepherd
The MV White Holly finds 57 dead sharks, along with dozens of other species in the Upper Gulf Of California while on Operation Milagro V. Help save a species: https://goo.gl/wJqxyh
Op Milagro V Episode 8 - GHOSTBUSTERS
Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's V...
Op Milagro V Episode 6 - RIDE OR DIE
Op Milagro V Episode 6 - RIDE OR DIE Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered m...
Op Milagro V Episode 7 - TOP GUN
Op Milagro V Episode 7 - TOP GUN Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most Endangered marin...
Sea Shepherd's White Holly joins the fight to save the vaquita porpoise
The M/V White Holly has arrived in the Upper Gulf of California. The M/V Farley Mowat and The M/V Sharpie celebrated the arrival of the White Holly by performing a water salute! Three Sea Shepherd ships fighting to protect the most endangered marin...
Op Milagro V Episode 5 - "WHALE WARS"
Op Milagro V Episode 5 - "WHALE WARS" Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered m...
Op Milagro V Episode 4 - TWO SHIPS ONE TEAM
Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's V...
Op Milagro V Episode 3 - RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES
Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's V...
Op Milagro V Episode 2 - WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD
Watch the new episode of Operation Milagro's web-series. Share it with your friends and stay tuned every Wednesday morning for new episodes. #OpMilagro is Sea Shepherd's campaign to protect the most Endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's V...
Op Milagro V Episode 1 - HOUSE OF THE VAQUITA
We are happy to announce that the #OpMilagro Vlog (Web-series) is back! Join the Sea Shepherd crew and watch our work to save the most endangered marine mammal in the world - Mexico's vaquita porpoise. Watch all episodes at http://tinyurl.com/y2bjs4...
SEA SHEPHERD DISCOVERS DEAD VAQUITA CAUGHT IN GILLNET
On March 12th, 2019 Sea Shepherd ship The M/V Farley Mowat crew discovered a dead vaquita trapped in a totoaba gillnet. Recently, scientists revealed there are at most 22 vaquitas left in the Sea of Cortez. This is a devastating discovery, but Sea S...
IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF LIFE, DEATH, AND EXTINCTION.
IT REALLY IS A MATTER OF LIFE, DEATH, AND EXTINCTION. We must not and we cannot allow the poachers to intimidate and threaten us. We have secured some defensive gear but we still need more. We are halfway there. Please help us achieve our goal of ke...
FULL VIDEO - SEA SHEPHERD ATTACKED BY POACHERS Jan 31, 2019
FULL VIDEO - On January 31st, 2019, Sea Shepherd’s MV Farley Mowat was attacked by poachers while patrolling the Vaquita Refuge for Operation Milagro. For English subtitles click on CC, on the bottom right. Posing as fishermen, these criminals la...
SEA SHEPHERD SHIP’S WINDOWS SMASHED AND HULL SET ON FIRE BY POACHERS
Hope shattered for vaquita survival as Sea Shepherd ship violently attacked by poachers in the Gulf of California, suffering damage from projectiles and Molotov cocktails while protecting world’s most endangered marine mammal: the vaquita porpoise....
SEA SHEPHERD Crew Update on Attack in Vaquita Refuge
SEA SHEPHERD CREW UPDATE ON ATTACK IN VAQUITA REFUGE Help us bring a second vessel to Op Milagro and give hope for the survival of a species. DONATE NOW at: https://goo.gl/1B931Z
SEA SHEPHERD SHIP ATTACKED INSIDE VAQUITA REFUGE
Sea Shepherd Vessel M/V Farley Mowat was conducting maritime patrols inside the Vaquita Refuge in the Upper Gulf of California, and had recovered three illegal gillnets that morning, when at 1:00 PM the crew noticed approximately 35 skiffs operating ...
Op Milagro V - Saving the First Totoaba of the Season and More...
Saving the First Totoaba of the Season and More... Take a look at some busy days on The M/V Farley Mowat The Sea Shepherd crew has been working day and night to protect the vaquita refuge from poachers. This season is already starting to shape up l...
Op Milagro V - Sea Shepherd Finds First Totoaba Nets of the Season
Operation Milagro V started a few months ago and Sea Shepherd has been removing Ghost Nets and other kinds of illegal fishing gear from vaquita refuge. On the night of 10th of December while patrolling the vaquita refuge, the crew of Sea Shepherd's...
Op Milagro V - Update Video 2
Take a look at the life of the crew onboard The M/V Farley Mowat and Sea Shepherd's work to protect the vaquita porpoise. Support our mission at: https://goo.gl/wJqxyh
#OpMilagro V Video Update
#OpMilagro V Video Update. Check out the life aboard The M/V Farley Mowat. This is a compilation from the early days of campaign. Enjoy. Support our mission to save the most endangered marine mammal in the world at: https://goo.gl/rWY1cM
SEA SHEPHERD JOINS SEARCH AND RECOVERY OF MEXICAN NAVY HELICOPTER
During the late afternoon of Saturday, October 20th, 2018, a Mexican Navy helicopter crashed into the ocean while engaged in anti-poaching patrols over the Vaquita Refuge in the Upper Gulf of California (a.k.a. Sea of Cortez). The reason for the cras...
Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro V Launch
#BREAKING #OpMilagro V started! Sea Shepherd Initiates Early Patrols to Safeguard Survival of Critically Endangered Vaquita Porpoise Sea Shepherd vessel The M/V Farley Mowat has arrived in the Upper Gulf of California to start Operation Milagro earl...
Sea Shepherd Recycled Dive Weights
Sea Shepherd recycled Branded Dive Weights are AVAILABLE NOW at: https://shop.paulwatson.com They were made from illegal fishing nets captured in the Sea of Cortez. Limited amount available so get them while you can in 2lb, 3lb and 4lb. This ensure...