For the crew of the Sea Shepherd flagship, The Steve Irwin, today marks the end of our 9th week at sea defending the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for Operation Relentless.
So far, this season has seen a turbulent yet successful confrontation between Sea Shepherd and the illegal whaling vessels which has been punctuated by tailing, ramming, attempts to snag our propellers and midnight assaults upon our fleet; perhaps tacit admission by the whalers of the aggressive, blood-thirsty and archaic nature of this industry.
Sea Shepherd’s direct intervention has led to a disastrous January for the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. Early interception and a persistent chase have enabled the Sea Shepherd Fleet to effectively suspend whaling operations for a large part of their season.
However, the battle offshore that has unfolded these past few months has been equaled by the onshore melee of diplomacy and the media storm involving ministers of Australia and New Zealand as a result of several maritime infringements by the whalers. The Steve Irwin’s media and production departments have been tireless in their efforts to visually communicate the events of this campaign to the world and Operation Relentless was marked early on by the release of footage showing several dead Minke Whales on the deck of the whaling fleet’s factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru.
As part of the production team, Aquatech’s donation of gear has been very instrumental in my ability to capture these events in some of the roughest conditions in the world. The Steve Irwin has sailed well beyond the “Screaming Sixties” in this campaign and on a daily basis our cameras are exposed to salt, wind and water to the “nth degree.”
In these conditions, my sensory gloves, sports shield and water housing are seeing almost daily use and have well lived up to the wear and tear of life on a boat.
The Sensory Gloves
Aquatech’s sensory gloves have been my most utilised piece of gear whilst on board because no matter which camera I’m using they are instrumental in the easy use of intricate buttons, zoom rings and rockers. On board, we are using up to 6 different cameras on any given day and the design of the sensory gloves makes interacting with these much more ergonomic.
The Sports Shield
Whilst we use an array of cameras, DSLR forms a big part of this and capturing wildlife and iceberg photographs in wet and windy conditions means the sports shield for the 70-200 is invaluable.
The Water Housing
Whilst shooting on deck or in small boats, when the conditions are the most rough, all Sea Shepherd crew wear dry suits to protect form the extreme cold and wet. Likewise, the water housing has performed the same function for my 5d mk iii. This includes being submerged in freezing Antarctic waters and protecting from driving snowstorms on deck.
Sea Shepherd would like to thank the guys at Aquatech for contributing to Operation Relentless and helping to the save the whales!
Follow and support the operation at www.seashepherd.org, all photos courtesy of Sea Shepherd.