Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Chiara Bussini
Peter Hammarstedt, Captain of the Bob Barker, and his international crew of Sea Shepherd volunteers have been at sea now for 108 continuous days. And today marks the 93rd day of the pursuit of the Nigerian-flagged, Spanish-owned Antarctic toothfish poacher Thunder by the Bob Barker.
The chase that began off the Banzare Coast of Antarctica crossed the Indian Ocean into the South Atlantic and now both ships are in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Angola on a course of 344 True at 8.3 knots. The 0600 (UTC) position was 16 Degrees, 38 minutes South and 005 Degrees, 37 Minutes East.
Wherever the poachers go, Sea Shepherd intends to follow to prevent them from changing the name and flag of the Thunder in port. This is the longest pursuit of a poaching vessel in maritime history.
Meanwhile the toothfish-poaching vessel Kunlun continues to be detained in Phuket, Thailand after changing their name to Taishan and switching their flag from Equatorial Guinea to Indonesia.
They offloaded their cargo of 180 tons of toothfish with a false declaration and had it shipped to Vietnam. Thai authorities are saying they have demanded the return of the cargo and may place it back onboard the Taishan and order them to leave port.
Officials from the Spanish fishing company Vidal Armadores arrived in Phuket and apparently are working to get the detainment of the ship and crew lifted prior to the arrival of inspectors from INTERPOL, Australia and New Zealand.
Will the poachers avoid prosecution? The possibility is that they will, considering that the money behind these illegal fishing operations rivals that of illegal drugs and guns.
But as the drama in Phuket plays out, the high-seas chase continues in the South Atlantic some 1,000 miles south of the Equator as both the Thunder and the Bob Barker continue to head north.
Wherever the poachers go, Sea Shepherd intends to follow to prevent them doing a name and flag change. This is the longest pursuit of a poaching vessel in maritime history.
Meanwhile the KUNLUN continues to be detained in Phuket, Thailand after changing their name to TAISHAN and switching their flag from Equatorial Guinea to Indonesia.
They offloaded their cargo of 180 tons of Toothfish with a false declaration and had it shipped to Vietnam. Thai authorities are saying they have demanded the return of the cargo and may place it back onboard the TAISHAN and order them to leave port.
Officials from the Spanish fishing company Vidal Armadores arrived in Phuket and apparently are working to get lift the detainment of the ship and crew prior to the arrival of inspectors from Interpol, Australia and New Zealand.
Will the poachers avoid prosecution? The possibility is that they will, considering that the money behind these illegal fishing operations rivals that of illegal drugs and guns.
But as the drama in Phuket plays out the high seas chase continues in the South Atlantic some 1,000 miles south of the Equator as both the THUNDER and the BOB BARKER continue to head north.
Interpol wanted poaching vessel, Thunder, shadowed by the Sea Shepherd ships Bob Barker and Sam Simon
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Simon Ager
Surrender to the flow and discover the power of the current of Life
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. – Normon Maclean
“What the f%*# is ‘river boarding’?”This was my first response when one of my brothers suggested this as a “guys’ day” in New Zealand several years ago. They had come to visit from the US and I wanted to give them a good adventure, so we went to Queenstown to explore the planet’s epicenter of adrenaline. On our last day, we talked each other into ‘river boarding’, which basically consists of suiting up in the thickest wetsuit known to man (picture the skin of a rhino), and being dropped into a freezing, frothing, raging, rapid-filled river with nothing but a boogie board and a pair of flippers. Sound fun? We sort of thought so, so my brothers, dad and I signed up. We started together as a happy group of 20 in a calm section of the river with a seemingly simple plan: float downstream to where the vans would meet us four kilometers away. But by three minutes into the journey, as we plunged into our first set of rapids – with jutting rocks, sheer cliff faces and deep spiralling holes to dodge at every bend – we each began our own gasping version of a hero’s journey of survival, desperately kicking this way and that (feet cramping, hands frozen) trying to stay afloat. Despite my own love of water and deep passion for rivers, my efforts to navigate this writhing beast were utterly futile. In fact, the harder I kicked, the further behind I began to drift, until I looked out through my cockeyed helmet to discover the whole group was actually way ahead of me!
At some stage, one of the Kiwi guides circled back to check on me. “You alright, mate?” he said with a compassionate grin, hovering next to me like Yoda. I sputtered a half-smiling nod, then watched him slip away through some secret current, instantly rejoining the others. Smart ass. I’m pretty sure he had propellers on his fins. And what was I doing wrong? By the time we’d been in the water for 20 minutes, my legs felt like a pair of fossilised oaks and my face was frozen into a permanent grimace. I had completely exhausted myself and I knew had nothing left to fight the current.
As I drifted toward the next set of rapids (the largest and most intense section of the river), I could barely make out the other helmets bobbing in the waves ahead, but at this stage I was too tired to care. So I decided to use my last sliver of energy to simply hold on to my boogie board and let the river take me where it wanted. Clinging to my foam biscuit like an otter with a clam, I rolled onto my back as I was sucked into the next roller-coaster section. I remember gazing up along the granite cliffs to the sky thinking, “If this is how I die, at least I’m surrounded by beauty. Raging, frothing, frigid beauty… but beauty nonetheless.” And with that, I surrendered. I let go. I gave over completely to the power of the river with no choice but to trust it to take me where I needed to go…
Within a few moments, the strangest thing happened. Somehow, without kicking my feet or even so much as looking where I was going, I found myself drawn naturally into the very centre of the current, where I was pulled along quite seamlessly through this wild section of river. Over falls, around jagged stones, through narrow passages with no major collisions and still I was breathing. Within a few minutes I found myself bobbing along right next to the other participants, and remarkably, by the time we reached the next stretch of calm, I had actually passed up the entire group and was now out in the very front by about 50 meters. All without kicking once! Simply holding on and trusting the flow of the river.
An hour later as we reached our exit point, my entire body was numb but my heart was alight with a golden truth in the realms of flow – the power of surrender.
I had entered the river with a plan and with belief in my own abilities to get me through. I had struggled and fought with everything I had to force my way to get from A to B, but ultimately my effort and energy was tiny in comparison to the greater currents of the river. When, through utter exhaustion I was finally forced to surrender, amazingly the path opened up before me without any effort and I was literally drawn into the greater flow. A flow which instantly transformed my experience and ultimately delivered what I had envisioned, but in a way that I never could have imagined. Since that time I’ve been struck by how this pattern of focus, surrender and subsequent movement shows up in my own and other people’s life. How we can become so fixated on a goal or vision for how we think something’s supposed to happen that we miss a greater path of possibility that is right there flowing in and around us. Strangely it is often only at a point of breakdown, when we simply cannot take another step, that our surrender to the “plan” opens up a higher path.
This reminds me of an experiment I once read about the founders of the Esalen Institute in California in their early days of exploring human potential. In efforts to increase their ability to focus intention, they developed a device that measured energy and translated it electromagnetically from sensors on their body to a little needle on a scale. As they held their focus in a certain way, the needle would move along the scale. While the primary aim of the experiment was to expand their ability to focus energy (moving the needle further and further), what they discovered was something quite extraordinary… They found that while their conscious focus could indeed move the needle slightly along the scale for a time, the greatest movement (by far) came in the moment immediately following intense periods of focus, when they simply could not concentrate anymore and were forced to give up. In these precise moments of “Ahhh” release, the needle – which had been hovering just barely above the start line – would spring across the scale, maxing out the measurement. From this experiment emerged a whole meditative practice they named ‘Focused Surrender’, reflecting the ebb and flow, push and release of energy we often experience on the path of growing, becoming, pursuing our dreams and nurturing our creations in life.
The ‘Ahhh’ moment of ‘Focused Surrender’
The basic conclusion of the study was that in order to achieve the highest result in a given endeavor, both total focus and total release were required. Without the inertia of clearly focused intention, the needle would have no impetus to move, but without the equal willingness to surrender, the higher possibilities of the energy would never be fully realised. Without a commitment to swim the river I would have never begun, but without surrendering my efforts to the greater flow, I would probably never have finished!!
Consider your own creative process in life. Do you tend to hold fast and cling to your initial vision of a project or plan, trying to control the outcome even when the energy may be calling for something new? Or are you so quick to follow impulses that you find yourself distracted and wandering up tributaries that ultimately dry up? What is the balance of focus and surrender in your creative process and life… and what is this moment calling for? Is it time to strengthen your resolve and bring new levels of commitment or intention to your path? Or are you ready to let go and allow the greater river inside of you to carry you and your creations around the next bend?
Join us on March 22 from wherever you are as we gather together to #LoveWater with thought leaders and global citizens around the world. World Water Day will present inspiring ways to take action, highlighting projects and initiatives that people can get involved and stay connected year round.
REGISTER at unify.org for the tele-summit, live webcast and global meditation.
There is no force greater than when we all come together in song, in dance, in prayer, and in meditation.
When a brigade of soldiers marched in step across England’s Broughton Suspension Bridge in April 1831, the bridge broke apart beneath the soldiers. The reason for the collapse is called mechanical resonance. It is a similar scientific principle, that can shatter a wine glass if someone belts out the correct high-pitched note. Collective, amplified resonance is very powerful and we are living in a time when this power needs to be harnessed and applied towards healing the delicate natural systems that hold our eco-system in balance.
This ancient knowledge of unified intention to alter the physical world can be directed in unprecedented ways through the use of the internet. This is not to say that fixing our problems on this planet is as simple as all of us coming together in dance, prayer, and meditation. The power of committing ourselves to the intention and doing the work together, however, can change the world for the better in undreamt ways. This is exactly what Chief Phil Lane, Jr. and many other elders, luminaries and experts from diverse spiritual traditions, cultures, and scientific disciplines are inviting us to do.
Without the invasive sounds of humans upon the ocean, a whales song can be heard around the world. Water is a conductor and amplifier of electricity and vibrational waves. Water is also being assaulted by pesticides, pollution, and radioactive waste. It is a power that can give life and take life away. As citizens of this planet, we have a sacred responsibility to protect and heal the Waters so that all life can flourish. Combining the principle of mechanical resonance, shared intention, and collective action we can unleash a power that is greater than anything we can imagine.
“My name is the sacred black pipe born of thunder, lightning and rain. I stand responsible before The Creator for my words and my actions.” – Chief Phil Lane, Jr.
Now is the time for each of us to take a stand for all of life, to take responsibility for our capacity to create and to destroy. We are sacred beings blessed with a potential beyond anything we can imagine with a power to dream worlds into being. We can no longer afford to keep ourselves separate from the web of life, we must enact our collective energies and powers for the most divine task of healing our Waters for the sake of all life. Please join us!
In 1990, the Polynesian Voyaging Society decided to create a new canoe, to be called Hawai’iloa after a famous Tahitian navigator. Hawai’iloa would be built of traditional materials – lauhala for the sails, olana for the lashings, koa for the hulls, ohia for crossbeams to connect the hulls, and hau for stanchions, decks and steering paddles.
“Hokule’a was built quickly, of modern materials mostly,” Nainoa Thompson recalls, “and then we went right into sailing – it was an ocean project – the emphasis was on sailing her, not building her. But when our ancestors built and sailed voyaging canoes, it required the labor and arts of the entire community, everyone working together – some collecting the materials in the forest, others weaving the sails, carving the hulls, lashing, preparing food for the voyage, practicing rituals to protect the crew at sea. So we thought that building a canoe of traditional materials would bring our entire community together, not just the sailors, but the craftspeople, artists, chanters, dancers and carvers. The Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program was set up to build not just a canoe – but a sense of community – by recreating Hawaiian culture.”
Nainoa hoped they could find traditional materials to build the canoe in Hawaii. He was particularly concerned about finding two large koa logs for the hulls. For nine months, almost every weekend, teams of Koa hunters fanned out through Hawaii’s forests. They walked over hundreds of square miles on Molokai, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. They followed tips from foresters, naturalists, game wardens and hunters. Once they discovered an extremely large and promising tree but it was rotten. It had probably died 50 years earlier. As the days passed without success, Nainoa worried. If they did not find the trees the dream of building Hawai’iloa of native Hawaiian wood, after years of planning and soaring hopes, would certainly fail. Time was running out.
On a weekend in the middle of March 1991, Nainoa and Tava Taupu searched the remains of a once dense Koa forest on the flanks of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island. They scanned the trees around them, measuring the trunks visually, looking for one large enough to carve into the 60-foot hull of a voyaging canoe.
“We searched that weekend with a large team and found nothing,” Nainoa says. “Everyone had to go back to work on Monday but Tava and I stayed up in the forest and we decided that Tuesday, March 18th, was our last chance. At that point I was very sad and depressed by the difference between what I imagined the forest to look like and what it actually looked like. All around us were alien species and ferns uprooted by feral pigs. I saw a layer of vines twisted in the canopy from one tree to another, choking the trees. The fence line between the Kilauea forest and Keahou ranch created a stark contrast. How small the reserve seemed when compared to the ranch. How much had been cut down.”
“There’s a fence line up ahead about a half mile,” Nainoa told Tava, “I’ll go up slope and we’ll work towards it together to cover more ground. We’ll meet at the fence. If we don’t find anything, that will be it.’ We knew that it was probably a futile attempt, but it was our last chance.”
It was getting cold as the two men neared the fence line. Mist sifted through the trees and collected on Nainoa’s fleece jacket. He raised the collar and hunkered into its warmth. Reaching the fence, he joined Tava and they continued together downslope toward the sea. They came to a place where prairie grass lapped at their legs with a swishing sound like the ocean on a sheltered beach. The view opened out to wide expanses of ranch land with cattle in the far distance. They headed toward a four-wheel drive truck parked in grass up to its hubcaps.
“I saw Tava and he saw me but we didn’t say anything,’ Nainoa recalls. “We each knew that the other had not found a tree. There was nothing to say, because there was nothing good to say. We did not even walk on the same side of the road and Tava walked behind me, as if we were repelled by each other. We were very depressed. We did not achieve what we so much wanted to achieve. But beyond that, I think the erosion of the forest was eroding something inside of us. We didn’t want to mess with each other. I walked ahead. He walked behind.”
A single alternative remained. Nainoa did not want to accept it but he knew that it was the only way that Hawai’iloa could be built.
Can’t wait to read the rest of the story? Find it HERE.
Learn more about Sam Low’s work via his website: www.samlow.com
Source: Mission Blue
The first time that a human saw a reflection of themselves was probably on the surface of still water.
Self-reflection is perhaps the most important element in conscious growth, it allows us to learn from our past, contemplate our present, and dream our future. Otherwise we can easily get stuck in patterns that have us mindlessly repeating the same mistakes and stumbling through life without awareness or vision for our greater purpose. As an organizer for the online events for World Water Day I woke up thinking I would be glued to the computer making posts and live-blogging all day, but a brief moment reflecting by a stream in my neighborhood compelled me to drop everything and visit one of my favorite local canyons. To my delight I was still able to come home and watch the video webcast from the Rishikesh, India! If you missed the webcast too, you can still see the whole ceremony here.
Water plays a major role in healing.’ -Larry Dossey, UPLIFT #LoveWater Webcast
While sitting by the creek, I asked my heart what would be the most fulfilling experience I could create for myself to honor water. Instantly I thought of the flowing springs that pour out of the cracks in a local red-rock canyon. My mind thought, “It’s like an hour drive with a dirt-road, you have work to do.” But the resolve in my heart was so powerful that I knew what I needed to do. I threw some food in a backpack, grabbed my water bottle and hit the road.
The desert is a place that loves water unlike anywhere else in the world. To wander into a giant crack in the earth (a canyon) and find flowers, grasses, swimming holes, and natural springs flowing out of canyon walls into exquisite lagoons with cat tails and water cress is a true experience in the beauty of contrast. To know that the canyon is being carved by water brings the awareness that water is a master artist sculpting solid stone into a visual delight.
While filling my water bottle up at a spring, I started to notice the places where the spring had poured out of the rock which are now dried up. I had never noticed this before and it inspired me to consider the invisible hands that shape our world that we may never notice. Reflecting on lessons I have recently been learning from love and relationships, I realized that love is similar to water. When love leaves, you may cry tears and release the pain or the person you love, but your soul has been reshaped by that love forever. Though some springs have dried, newer ones are flowing and neither is less beautiful than the other. There is a natural dance between the shaper and the shaped that can only be understood as a transcendental manifestation of divine love.
Water is my teacher. I learn from water about flexibility.’ -Satish Kumar, UPLIFT #LoveWater Webcast
I cried as I sat on the edge of a rock with my feet dangling in the water. The tears were not of sorrow or joy, but of gratitude. At that moment I was the spring and my tears fell into the water below like rain. I could have been at home working away in service to the wonderful global event, but it was my moment to unplug and be present with the wave of joyous energy rippling across the planet. There was a local #LoveWater event and I thought of everyone together sharing such magic, yet I was alone. I didn’t feel alone though. I felt surrounded by life. I felt my friends and relatives near and far knowing that we are all connected with our love for each other and this glorious planet.
The plants in the desert are the most efficient users of water, great teachers for us to learn from no matter what climate we live in. What does it mean to only take what you need? How can you take the least, give the most and still thrive in a desert? The desert can be metaphorical, we all experience it at times when we are straining to just make ends meet. I feel the daily stress of life building on my shoulders and in my neck, yet when I jump into the water I am invited to unwind. The water teaches me to move, to feel weightless, to be conscious of my breathing when I want to dive deep and explore the rocks beneath the surface.
In the old Norse mythology there is a story about a sacred well that was guarded by Mimir, a place that people went for wisdom. The phonetic root of “Mimir” is the same as “meme”, “memory”, “mirror”, “murmur”, “mimic” and the wisdom of the well is one that is gained through reflection.
Meditation is rooted in this same principle. Meditation invites us to quiet the mind until it is still like the surface of a lake. From this place of stillness, from the blank canvas, new things are born. This natural emergent phenomena is at the root of everything around us, and it is replicated through mirroring, or mimicking the patterns that surround us in nature and in our communities. Community is not limited to people, it includes the trees, the animals, the plants and all of these things depend on water to thrive.
After sitting with the water and exploring the canyon I was reminded on the deepest level about what this life is for me. To remember and connect to this inner knowing is the most potent way to navigate with strength our course in this world. It can’t come from a book, or anthers words, it can only come from within and it can only be known and felt through taking some time to be silent and reflect. Without a moments notice, my mind began to race again, “Oh crap, I need to get back to my computer, make facebook posts, respond to emails, get ready for the next Unify, UPLIFT campaign, Earth Day is coming!”
I stood up quickly but my legs had fallen asleep so I stood there and breathed as the pins and needle feeling slowly went away. This time and every time from now moving forward I will bring the wisdom water has shared with me into my office. Though I love my work and am endlessly inspired by the people I collaborate with and the magic that we are all creating in this time, I have a tendency to get carried away and forget to care for my own self. If we want to care for the water, we must start with ourselves and stay present to the vibrancy of a thriving life-force that asks us to balance play-time with work-time.
Upon arriving home I was elated to catch up on all the messages from friends. I went to this page where I could see all the #LoveWater photos that people had uploaded on social media from around the world. So many beautiful ceremonies and celebrations, so many inspired people doing great things out of love for our planet. It is hard to not feel hopeful and excited after reflecting on this growing global community of people who are dedicated to making a better world. Then I tuned in to the recorded version of the global webcast. I watched in awe knowing that we are truly seeing an emergent global culture of love and respect for life blossoming before our very eyes. We are the shapers and we are also being shaped together in a cosmic dance of creativity and evolution. We are water and together we make change. Collectively everything is possible!