Sailing the Winds of Change 2012 and Beyond on Migaloo 2
As my body slowly reabsorbs the adrenalin secreted during this mornings hairy bar crossing at my home port of Brunswick I reflect on the past 7 month marine conservation campaign journey “Sailing the Winds of Change 2012 and Beyond” on Migaloo 2. Migaloo 2 is a 45 ft fiberglass ketch bought 3 years ago by Ray Thorpe the founder of the Happy Herb Company with the plan it be used for raising awareness on marine conservation issues.
I left Brunswick in July 2012 with an aim to sail to the Solar eclipse in Cairns and do port shows actions, media, filming, live streaming, social networking and connect with marine conservation groups and whales and marine life along the way. First stop SeaWorld.
I anchored Migaloo 2 next to SeaWorld and projected “The Cove” movie about the slaughter and capture of wild dolphins in Japan onto the sails of Migaloo 2 and met with the Gold Coast Sea Shepherd group. The next day a baby humpback whale was caught in shark nets right out front on the Gold Coast. It was cut loose by SeaWorld yet died soon after. SeaWorld decline to come to the screening and refused to condemn the shark nets or other SeaWorld companies for using wild captured cetaceans. Determined to raise the issue of the indiscriminate killing of marine life in shark nets and the ill guided fear campaign on sharks I met with some Noosa crew and organized a protest/ceremony next to the shark nets at Noosa for all the deaths these nets cause.
Next was my old stomping ground of Hervey Bay where I’ve been playing with, filming and listening to, whales over the last eight years. The Kimberley mob that are defending their land and sea against a huge gas development at James Price Point in WA, which is also a whale nursery, organized a smoking ceremony to happen at the same time around the world to ask for respect and bring awareness to the issue. I invited representatives of the local Butchala people and their kids onto Migaloo 2 to do the ceremony. Elders and kids sung and played didgeridoo and did ceremony and the whales came to us and joined in, in solidarity. Some of the kids had never seen a whale before and were deeply touched.
I also invited some friends to join Migaloo 2 in Hervey Bay who played didgeridoo or toned so as to find a common language. The interaction and connection this year with the whales was absolutely astounding. One glass off sunset saw two young humpback whales circle Migaloo 2 for almost an hour rolling belly up, spy hoping to look at us, eye to eye and I’m sure one repeated back to me “I love you” through his blow hole. We were virtually speechless for days after that encounter and the video of this interspecies communication went viral on Face book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ4isra5cXE&list=UUImlX1nCSnKGw6Uj1_U8riQ&index=10Ours was not the only amazing encounters to happen. People where left with jaws open holding their heart all over Hervey Bay. A group of Japanese people who where invited by local musician Kevin James, to come and experience the whales were equally blown away and I trust will bring the new awareness of the magnificence of whales back to Japan to contribute to the change in consciousness which is occurring now in Japan to respect cetaceans freedom.
The time came to do some solo sailing in Migaloo 2, which I reluctantly embraced. Without an auto pilot and unable to leave the wheel for more than 15 seconds I had to get everything ready at the beginning of the day which often included 10 hours (and once 25 hours) of non stop sailing in often rough conditions. Ten days later when Ray Thorpe offered me a ride overland to the Eclipse, I surrendered to not sailing to Cairns and left Migaloo 2 tied up securely in the Whitsundays. Before heading to the Eclipse festival I found myself at a multicultural Elders gathering on aboriginal land near Cairns. Magic and deep sharings happened there for a week yet I was determined to get inland to the large week long festival where I also had a presentation to give and was assured a clearer view of the Eclipse. Witnessing the total Eclipse of the sun by the moon was an experience like no other. As I saw the diamond like flashes shooting from behind the moon the only comparison of emotion I could think of was swimming with a mother and baby whale in Tonga. My heart was blown wide open again in the shear awe and magnificence of feeling clearly our place on this Earth and our relationship with other main players in this amazing solar system. It was surely nature in her grandest expression.
Returning to Migaloo 2 I explored the beauty of the Witsundays and the Outer Barrier Reef. Anchoring 60 miles from the mainland and without any land insight we dropped anchor in what appeared to be pristine Outer Barrier Reef with abundant fish life. I snorkeled through some amazing crevasse’s and caves astounded by its clarity and beauty. I was also stunned at my ability to extend my underwater time, having taken a few lessons from my nephew who is a free diving marine conservationist who by the way also spears fish to eat sustainably, but that’s another story.
I sailed solo again to Yepoon where I met Ginny from KAFTA who is preventing coal export terminal development in the Fitzroy River Delta. Ginny told me how the dredging of 10 million out of the proposed 40 million tons has already caused major environmental problems like fish, turtle and dolphin kills as well as wide spread contamination in the food chain. She said if coal port expansion continues as planned there will be four times as many coal cargo ships traveling through the Great Barrier Reef over the next 20 years which poses a great risk to the reef in the case of a collision. I sailed into Gladstone Harbor and was shocked at the level of construction going on on Curtis Island that is planned to be a huge CSG hub and Coal Port extension. I was also stunned to witness a huge dredging cargo ship dump its toxic load 5 miles out to sea, less than 30 miles from the Great Barrier Reef and 50 miles from Lady Musgrove where we swam with manta rays and turtles.
Migaloo 2, my car and me just managed to avoid the recent floods unharmed, dodging rising rivers and tornados in Bundaberg, and rough seas and dangerous bar crossings sailing south since then.
As I was approaching the Brunswick Bar this morning I thought what would be the main message I would take home from this amazing journey. There is so much going on on so many levels. What can I and other people do?
Sit, swim, or walk quietly within nature, become inspired and empowered, act, when you feel a pull in your guts and when you do act, act from a place of seeing it restored to balance and not from fear of its destruction, visualize and believe in the desired result, take personal responsibility for what you eat, consume less, live lightly, be the change you want to see and if you love life, don’t cross the Brunswick bar an hour after king tide.
I am currently editing “Sailing the Winds of Change” that will be screened locally soon. For more information, to join the mailing list and to see video clips of the trip see www.migaloo2.com