Friday, February 27, 2009

Sea of Cortez - Production Adventure 3

Good friend Captain Greg Grivetto of Horizon Charters is on another eco adventure and this time in the company of the BBC as they film their much acclaimed series, “Last Chance to See”. Biologist, naturalist, writer - Mark Carwardine and esteemed actor Stephen Fry host this series and will be aboard as we search for blue, sperm and humpback whales.

For the next two weeks he'll be sending us his "notes from the field":

The M/V Horizon surf board, a true long board by all accounts. We're surfing our way south on a consistently blustery sea. The weather report for today was a bit better than what we are encountering but all in all not too bad as the sun is out, the weather is warming and yesterday afternoon I installed a pumping stereo amplifier for our onboard stereo system. We've got the XM satellite radio fired up on the boat and are rocking out as we finish up our ship board projects.

As I write we are at 25.41 degrees north and 113.17 degrees west or 88 nautical miles north of Bahia Magdalena and 465 miles south of San Diego. This also places us 60 miles offshore, or for those of you that have been to San Clemente Island, the same distance you travel when making the crossing from San Diego to San Clemente.

As the day progressed Mother Nature's attitude improved, the ocean warmed and the sea came to life! We happened upon 3 humpback whales today just north of Bahia Magdalena. The first was an energetic youngster that made itself know by repeatedly breaching, spyhopping and nosing out. The first breach was classic humpback, straight up, 2/3's of it's body out of the water, then twist and extend the pectoral flippers for added flare before flopping and making a big ol' splash!

We spotted the other two at a distance as we were taking a look at Bajo Thetis, an underwater seamount a few miles north of Bahia Magdalena. We're contemplating venturing to this seamount on future Baja dive expeditions and spent some time with the sounder on metering back and forth across the top of the bank getting a feel for it's layout. The water was a bit chilly today, 65 degrees, but there was an amazing amount of life on the bank with baitfish, presumably mackerel, filling the water column and bullet tuna feeding on other small delectables.

As the sun dipped below the horizon we were adjacent to Bahia Santa Maria, just north of Bahia Magdalena. Late tomorrow morning we will be rounding Land's End, Cabo San Lucas as we enter the Sea of Cortez. I'm excited about visiting Gorda Banks north of Cabo. This is the time of year when humpbacks are found there which means we might need to spend a few extra minutes taking in the sites.


Captain Greg

Sea Shepherd - Your Money, Farley Mowat

We have been active critics of Sea Shepherd for the past year. What prompted our sudden reversal from donors and supporters to critics, was the realization that Sea Shepherd was wasting our money by Wagging the Conservation Dog.

When you support an eco org you expect results. Your money stands in your stead to effect change, and Sea Shepherd skillfully plays the "results card" when courting donors. From self generated arrest warrants for the entire Japanese whaling fleet, to quotes on websites and in public interviews, Sea Shepherd claims they will protect and save wildlife.

SSCS are well practiced at the trigger wording for well meaning eco donors.

The ugly fact is for the past 31 years Sea Shepherd has failed to stop whaling, the Canadian seal hunt, and shark kills. While other eco orgs have moved wildlife agendas forward and gained legitimacy with world opinion, Sea Shepherd has all but painted itself into a radical corner with fewer governments supporting them and fewer ports to call on.

Sea Shepherds trail of titanic financial missteps and its headlong rush to irrelevance is the direct result of insular 1970's eco thinking, poor judgment, and poor use of new media where the public backlash is immediate and unforgiving.

Case in point Sea Shepherds other "eco enforcement vessel" the Farley Mowat. You do not hear about this multi million dollar debacle because Sea Shepherd has all but abandoned this vessel in Canada, after once again being absolutely ineffective with the ongoing Canadian seal hunt.

The financial loss of this vessel to Sea Shepherds donors is staggering. Currently the Canadian government is demanding well over 3 million dollars in fines from Sea Shepherd and this week put the entire vessel up for auction. Two crew members will be back in Canadian courts in April running up untold and unmentioned legal bills.

These are your dollars being wasted for an unchanging 1970's eco policy and an agenda that went nowhere once more in 2008. Seals are being killed again this season.

As we started to look into Sea Shepherd one other revelation came forth. Sea Shepherd is good at one thing, media and grabbing attention. This is what initially attracted us and many others. Unfortunately the blow back for Wagging the Conservation Dog is literally sucking all the air out of the room.

Legitimate eco orgs are finding it increasingly difficult to get equal media time and financial donations on pressing issues like whaling, sharks and seals. Your financial contribution to Sea Shepherd not only fails to effect change - but damages the global eco movement as well.

Great discussion on this topic here