Listings

    No events to show

Follow

Twitter

|

Facebook

|

MySpace

|

Last.fm

RSS

Subscribe

Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

At War for the Whales: #4 The Slipway Blockade

The latest update from the Sea Shepherd, a fleet tackling illegal whaling in the icy waters of the Antarctic...

Written by Wietse Van Der Werf

Omar Kashoura. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

The Omar Kashoura show is held down the road from Somerset House in the underground belly of bar cum restaurant Bedford & Sons, ampoule and we just manage to skirt in as the show kicks off, remedy models sauntering down the aisle, sale each giving their own personality to some serious bar-bound posing. They giggle as they pass me to retire into the make-shift dressing room, which is one half of the restaurant behind a cuddle of smirking menswear editors, dapper and goading. For they know all these boys; must have shot them a thousand times for their bibles of style, male models being many times less common than female ones.

The jolly man at my ear (day job at Hackney council, no idea what he was doing at the show!) mutters comments about the models as they veer in my direction “gosh, bet you like that one.” No, I don’t. “What I wouldn’t give to look like that!” And they’re wearing make-up. Ew. Some of my pictures call to mind the famous painting of a bartender by Manet, were it not for the prominently displayed branded bottles on the bar.

There are sheeny shiny capes layered over fine gauge relaxed knits, the emphasis on detailing in necklines, cuffs and buckles. Mixing casual and dapper, these are clothes for a man who appreciates the cut and feel of fabric, the way that light glances off a material. Omar is part Arabian, echoed in the choice of predominantly swarthy, brooding models.

From there we hotfoot it over to the Wintle show back at Somerset House. For some reason Billie Piper is loitering outside in the rainy dusk with a coterie of hangers-on. What on earth is she doing at a menswear show? I can only conclude that she has friends who work for Wintle. What a bizarre celebrity sighting! Apparently she struggled to get past security. Can you imagine her: “don’t you know who I am?!” Outrageous!

As we wait for the show to start the photographers inexplicably start baa-ing like a herd of sheep, which I find most amusing but everyone else does their level best to ignore. Folks, that’s what six days straight in the pit with a bunch of other smelly men does to you. There are no frills at this show, no goody bag on the seat – Billie Piper offers the only untoward distraction as she studiously watches the show. (What for?!)

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Jsen Wintle shows a beautiful understated collection of soft tailoring, amusingly accessorised with oversized geek glasses, earmuffs and big bags. I can imagine many of the well-dressed men in the audience secretly salivating over these eminently touchable clothes whilst maintaining an exterior air of impenetrable cool. This is how menswear should be done.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

The Omar Kashoura show is held down the road from Somerset House in the underground belly of bar cum restaurant Bedford & Sons, information pills and we just manage to skirt in as the show kicks off, more about models sauntering down the aisle, purchase each giving their own personality to some serious bar-bound posing. They giggle as they pass me to retire into the make-shift dressing room, which is one half of the restaurant behind a cuddle of smirking menswear editors, dapper and goading. For they know all these boys; must have shot them a thousand times for their bibles of style, male models being many times less common than female ones.

The jolly man at my ear (day job at Hackney council, no idea what he was doing at the show!) mutters comments about the models as they veer in my direction “gosh, bet you like that one.” No, I don’t. “What I wouldn’t give to look like that!” And they’re wearing make-up. Ew. Some of my pictures call to mind the famous painting of a bartender by Manet, were it not for the prominently displayed branded bottles on the bar.

Omar Kashoura. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Omar Kashoura. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Omar Kashoura. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

There are sheeny shiny capes layered over fine gauge relaxed knits, the emphasis on detailing in necklines, cuffs and buckles. Mixing casual and dapper, these are clothes for a man who appreciates the cut and feel of fabric, the way that light glances off a material. Omar is part Arabian, echoed in the choice of predominantly swarthy, brooding models.

From there we hotfoot it over to the Wintle show back at Somerset House. For some reason Billie Piper is loitering outside in the rainy dusk with a coterie of hangers-on. What on earth is she doing at a menswear show? I can only conclude that she has friends who work for Wintle. What a bizarre celebrity sighting! Apparently she struggled to get past security. Can you imagine her: “don’t you know who I am?!” Outrageous!

As we wait for the show to start the photographers inexplicably start baa-ing like a herd of sheep, which I find most amusing but everyone else does their level best to ignore. Folks, that’s what six days straight in the pit with a bunch of other smelly men does to you. There are no frills at this show, no goody bag on the seat – Billie Piper offers the only untoward distraction as she studiously watches the show. (What for?!)

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Jsen Wintle shows a beautiful understated collection of soft tailoring, amusingly accessorised with oversized geek glasses, earmuffs and big bags. I can imagine many of the well-dressed men in the audience secretly salivating over these eminently touchable clothes whilst maintaining an exterior air of impenetrable cool. This is how menswear should be done.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

The Omar Kashoura show is held down the road from Somerset House in the underground belly of bar cum restaurant Bedford & Sons, side effects and we just manage to skirt in as the show kicks off, prescription models sauntering down the aisle, each giving their own personality to some serious bar-bound posing. They giggle as they pass me to retire into the make-shift dressing room, which is one half of the restaurant behind a cuddle of smirking menswear editors, dapper and goading. For they know all these boys; must have shot them a thousand times for their bibles of style, male models being many times less common than female ones.

The jolly man at my ear (day job at Hackney council, no idea what he was doing at the show!) mutters comments about the models as they veer in my direction “gosh, bet you like that one.” No, I don’t. “What I wouldn’t give to look like that!” And they’re wearing make-up. Ew. Some of my pictures call to mind the famous painting of a bartender by Manet, were it not for the prominently displayed branded bottles on the bar.

Omar Kashoura. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Omar Kashoura. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Omar Kashoura. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

There are sheeny shiny capes layered over fine gauge relaxed knits, the emphasis on detailing in necklines, cuffs and buckles. Mixing casual and dapper, these are clothes for a man who appreciates the cut and feel of fabric, the way that light glances off a material. Omar is part Arabian, echoed in the choice of predominantly swarthy, brooding models.

From there we hotfoot it over to the Wintle show back at Somerset House. For some reason Billie Piper is loitering outside in the rainy dusk with a coterie of hangers-on. What on earth is she doing at a menswear show? I can only conclude that she has friends who work for Wintle. What a bizarre celebrity sighting! Apparently she struggled to get past security. Can you imagine her: “don’t you know who I am?!” Outrageous!

As we wait for the show to start the photographers inexplicably start baa-ing like a herd of sheep, which I find most amusing but everyone else does their level best to ignore. Folks, that’s what six days straight in the pit with a bunch of other smelly men does to you. There are no frills at this show, no goody bag on the seat – Billie Piper offers the only untoward distraction as she studiously watches the show. (What for?!)

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.
Wintle. Illustration by Pearl Law.

Jsen Wintle shows a beautiful understated collection of soft tailoring, amusingly accessorised with oversized geek glasses, earmuffs and big bags. I can imagine many of the well-dressed men in the audience secretly salivating over these eminently touchable clothes whilst maintaining an exterior air of impenetrable cool. This is how menswear should be done.

Photo: It’s a Wildlife

While an albatross swoops close over me and I make my way up the stairs to the bridge deck, order I can see Fremantle appear on the horizon. It is a nice warmth compared to the cold Antarctica we have just returned from. After having been at sea for over a month we need to return to port to restock on food, illness refuel the ship and do some essential repairs on our helicopter. The turnover will be a quick one, ampoule 48 hours and we’re out of here. Some of the crew leave, new ones await us on the dock. As the ship pulls into the harbour I can see a large group of supporters eagerly awaiting our arrival. The long lonely hours at sea can make you forget our work is made possible by the generous work of thousands of supporters onshore. The couple of days in port fly by and before I know it I’m back in the noisy engine room.

Photo:  Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

It is day 6 back at sea and we get word that our second vessel, the Bob Barker, has located the whaling fleet and is closing in. One of the three harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru 2 tries to stop the Bob Barker from positioning itself behind the factory ship Nisshin Maru, better known as the ‘floating abattoir’. Once stuck behind this monstrous ship, the whaling operation will be stopped as no whales can be transferred from the harpoon ships across the slipway onto the flensing deck for ‘processing’. Or should I say ‘research’? The Yushin Maru 2 collided with the Bob Barker, causing damage to the Bob’s hull. The harpoon ship then backed off.

Photo: It’s a Wildlife

Meanwhile, on our ship the Steve Irwin, everyone is excited to hear the news and preparations are being made for possible action to take place within days. Having worked on the ship for months to get it ready for sea and then to try and find the whalers, this is the one bit of news everybody is waiting to hear. In this enormous ocean we have located the whaling fleet. Our other ship is already blocking the slipway of the processing ship and we will be joining in soon. In 2002 when Sea Shepherd set out for Antarctica for the first time to oppose Japanese whaling operations, no whaling ship was ever seen. In the Southern Ocean, which is the largest bit of unbroken ocean in the world, trying to find a few ships is literally like looking for needles in a haystack. Sure, we have a better idea of where they operate than 8 years ago and we sometimes get information from other vessels if they see them, but this is a huge achievement.

Photo: It’s a Wildlife

The next day the fleet changes course and starts moving directly towards us. At this rate we might meet them early in the morning. I keep saying to myself I should better get some sleep as we could be looking at a very long day of action. Nevertheless I can’t sleep. Everyone, myself included, is excited about finally being with the fleet and the prospect of actions. Our captain, Paul Watson, always says that 90% of success is showing up and the only way to stop whaling in Antarctica is by being here where it happens. And so far, Sea Shepherd’s story in Antarctica is one of success. This is Paul’s 6th Antarctic campaign and year after year the effects of the actions of him and his crew are getting more and more profound. If you want to shut down whalers you have to speak their language, in this case one of profit and loss. As long as we can ensure that their profits are down and losses up, one day it will not be worth their while to come down. In the last two years Sea Shepherd has halved the whaling quotas by disrupting the hunt and they are feeling the financial pressure back in Tokyo. A public spending review committee appointed by the Japanese government recently proposed to slash funding to the ICR, which runs the whaling programme and more Japanese public figures have spoken out against whaling then ever before.

Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Once you start feeling a slight shudder through the ship you know what lies outside: ice. The ship is not ice-strengthened so we have to continue with the utmost caution. Outside on the deck I’m looking at ice on the starboard side, port side, forward of us and everywhere else where there used to be open ocean. ‘Look, right there!’ Three weddell seals relax on the ice. Their bold bodies lie on the ice sheets in stark contrast with the rest of the white landscape. ‘Oh aren’t they cute!’ Cute indeed though not impressed with our presence. One seal growls angrily at us. Especially working in the engine room, which tends to be a pretty uninspiring place, moments like these give new energy to keep going and remind us all what we are here to protect.

Photo: It’s a Wildlife

Next morning I get woken up by people rushing through the companionways. I stumble out of bed, open the porthole and I look straight at the huge factory ship, which is right next to us. This huge ship, with water cannons blasting from all sides, this is the one. This is the mean killing machine, the largest whale abattoir in the world, which we are looking to sabotage. It is a beautiful sight to see our two black ships in formation behind the Nisshin Maru. We’ve got both sides of the slipway covered. Try coming in with a harpoon ship now!

Photo: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

We approach the 60 degree latitude boundary as we move in along the Nisshin Maru’s port side. Announcements blast from our powerful PA system: ‘This is a whale sanctuary, your operations here are illegal. We order you to leave the area immediately’. We repeat the message in Japanese. Our water cannon gives their bridge windows a clean and we escort them out of the Antarctic Treaty Zone and more importantly, out the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Two days later the Nisshin Maru changes course again, turns around and heads straight back for the sanctuary.

Photo: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

The factory ship continues to be followed by both our ships and three harpoon ships are behind us. Later that afternoon I make my way outside when we are nearing the sanctuary boundary. We move alongside the factory ship again and warn them to stay out. While I stand on the aft deck, the Nisshin Maru comes closer. Water cannons are blasting from both ships and the sky fills with a mist of water spray. All I can see of the other ship is a dark mist and before I realise it, the Nisshin Maru is about one meter from our deck railings. ‘They are going to ram us! Get over here!’ I quickly turn around as a giant swell of water throws itself over the deck where we are standing. I’m holding onto a railing and a fellow crew member as we both get soaking wet. I turn to look and see the ships slowly pulling apart. Giant letters spelling RESEARCH are moving in front of us, each one about the size of a small house.

Photo: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd

The harpoon ships aren’t sitting by quietly and start to move. The Bob Barker moves in between us to protect our helicopter from their water cannons. We deploy the small boats too. Shortly after a huge cat and mouse game erupts between whaling ships, the Bob Barker, us and our small boats buzzing all over the place. The helicopter keeps a close eye on it all from the air. From all sides you can see ships making tight and abrupt manoeuvres. There are some near collisions. Everyone is on the lookout in case we are to defend our helicopter while landing or if we are to retrieve the small boat. A long thick rope is towed from our stern which will keep the harpoon ships at bay as there is a good chance of it getting entangled in their propellers. The entire confrontation lasts for nearly 7 hours. Back in the engine room during the night watch we reflect on a long and eventful day.

Photo: It’s a Wildlife

During the next few days we continue to escort the factory ship and stand watch at its slipway. Under our supervision no whale will make it up there. In an press interview our captain makes it clear that if they are to start whaling again and attempt to transfer a whale, collisions will be inevitable. No whaling has taken place for well over a week.

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org

To read about all this from the beginning see part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply