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Go, Greenpeace….

January 13, 2006

Since we last checked in on our eco-warrior friends at Greenpeace, they have been pretty damn busy, doing their best to stall, interfere with, and embarrass the Japanese whale hunt (click here for the last TWC post). It has been a pretty hairy confrontation. First up, meet Mikey Rosato, who is known as the “whale rider,” because he jumps onto harpooned whales, which has the excellent result of really pissing off the whalers. It is not a tactic for the meek:

“I jumped onto the whale because I wanted to show the Japanese crew that, just because the whale was dead, the protest at what they were doing was not over,” Mr Rosato said.

The drama in the ocean unfolded as two Greenpeace ships dogged the Japanese scientific whaling fleet in Australia’s territorial Antarctic waters.

“We were out in an inflatable boat and for 3 hours we put ourselves between the whalers and three whales, one of which was just a baby,” said Mr Rosato, 33, on a satellite phone on the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker last week.

“They finally got a clear shot and hit the larger of the whales. Once they harpooned the whale it dived for 10 minutes and when it came up it was dead.

“I managed to jump on to it. I didn’t see what I did as brave or courageous or even risky.”

As he held up his Stop Whaling banner the Japanese crew on board the whaling ship turned their water cannons on him.

“They aim for your ears and face which means you have to protect yourself and cannot hold on. They are quite aggressive,” Mr Rosato said.

As the cannon sprayed him he neatly stepped off the back of the dead minke whale and onto a small iceberg.

“The intimacy of being with the whale as it died left me feeling quite traumatised and absolutely helpless,” he said.

The Greenpeace tactics have been having an effect, with the Japanese whaling ministry suits admitting that their “research” effort could be affected. But the Japanese are not taking all this lightly. Click here to watch a Japanese factory ship ram Greenpeace’s vessel “Arctic Sunrise.” And go here if you want to see the rest of the gruesome video Greenpeace has collected. It’s a brutal, bloody, business, and I’m sorry to hit you with this first thing in the morning, but if you care about the oceans and you care about whales, you’ve got to cheer the Greenpeace warriors on (see all the photos here). If you can’t take it, sure, skip this post, and pretend that the Volvo Ocean Race is the only happening in the Southern Ocean right now…

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