We have lived most of our lives in the ocean and found some of our deepest inspirations beneath the waves. When the crew from the Sea Shepherd vessel MV Steve Irwin got in contact to come aboard, we could not say no.
Still buzzing from the show the night before at The Northcote Social Club, we arrived to see Chloe and Jesse looking like two tiny ants along side the mammoth 60m long ship. As we moved closer it turned out they were real people, giving some of the warmest hugs and laughed about who was responsible for these sore legs from last night - the dancers or the band?
We walked up the wooden plank aboard the ship and gathered around the stern. Being run through the day-to-day motions of what life out at sea is like for the crew, we tried to fathom the scale of their next campaign out on the ocean. Aboard such a beast, I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth something this size stayed afloat let alone supported the weight of all the equipment (including a helicopter hanger donated by none other than the Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Winding our way through this nautical labyrinth, we ducked and weaved towards the ships messdeck. We were instantly amazed at the vibe that swung around the dining room. Welcomed with accents from all corners of the earth, we felt privileged and truly grateful to share such an amazing meal. Like the sons and daughters of King Neptune himself, the crew swam in the sea of laughter and comradery over a delicious vegan spread. The walls were lined with past memories of triumph and defeat and like a swallow is to the sailor, each represented a different story of hope. With every disaster came a long list of improvements and every victory standing proud as a true symbol of strength.
We dove deep in conversation over our dairy free ice-cream and fished for some insights into what it took to be a part of such tails of the ocean. You could see Chloe’s experience through her eyes and feel the passion in her voice. “The adrenalin that kicks in when the time comes to rise is phenomenal. When your faced with such intense times you have to be in the moment, you have to be brave”. When it came to gauging the gravity of these expeditions, she took us ever so close to the fire that burns bright among the Sea Shepherd crew.
We found ourselves at the bridge of this truly massive ship. My hands fell gently on the timber helm and I pushed myself back into the warm leather seat. I filled the bridge with a hearty team and transformed the shanty-ship yard of Williamstown, VIC into a terrifying 60ft wave Antarctic storm. Trying to truly comprehend the fear that would be running through my veins, I began to scrape the surface of understanding what these volunteers give to stand up for something they believe in.
As our time steered toward the end, we found ourselves called out for a fire drill with the entire crew being called to assemble on the dock. With everyone standing tall in a 30 strong semi-circle, I came to my realisation of this experience. I’ve steered my ship towards music my whole life, our passion leading us to some life changing moments and through some turbulent seas. I’ve swum in beautiful oceans of sound from Broome to Amsterdam. But never have I come across such selfless devotion and tenacity towards protecting our ocean.
We are eternally grateful to the Sea Shepherd crew for the opportunity to gain an insight into their core values and what it really means to fight for something you believe in. Full power to you, our beloved Sea Shepherds!