Whale Wars Season 2 Episode 3: As Bad As Our Bark

Though there is good commentary in all my Whale Wars posts,  you can find my newest post on the subject here.

This episode began with the ship’s hull still being pounded by ice.  As I watched these guys in a truly dire situation, I was brought back to something a friend and I have talked about a few times.  These people, like the Seas Shepherds, Christopher McCandless and Timothy Treadwell often labor under the misconception that “Nature” or individual creatures actually care about them or their efforts.  The truth of course is that nature is simply ambivalent and dangerous.  Those who disrespect this fact either die or get lucky.

After surviving their brush with the icepack, the First Mate gave us a little more gold with this statement, “You know I’m not really a book learned sailor, and so I haven’t gone to school to study ice charts.  So, there’s probably some sort of science to it, but I don’t know what it is.”  These sorts of statements just baffle me.  And, someday there will actually be people who are surprised when these guys do not come back.  Amazing.

This guy, the First Mate, make a big point of explaining to the camera why he did not trust computers or satellite maps or pictures.  He liked to rely on his own eyes.  Of course, the ship missed the passageway out of the ice because of his stupidity.

The one consolation was that it cost the Sea Shepherds days to get around the ice.  Therefore, the Japanese had days of not having to put up with their nonsense. 

Molly Kendall then delivered more misguided wisdom.  She said, “Whales are such a huge example of an amazing creature.  To start that process to save the world, we need to look beyond ourselves, and yeah, if we can’t do that with whales, we can’t do that with oceans.  And, if we can’t do that with the oceans, we can’t do that with ourselves.”  It is reasoning like this that drives philosophy professors to suicide.

They proved that they can learn from their near death experiences, however.  This time, when they found one of the Japanese ships in the fog, they decided to use the little boat that had the radar system to attack with.  Unfortunately for the Sea Shepherds, the junkyard of a ship that they travel around in, once again, proved itself when they discovered that the radar on the small boat was not working.

They caught up with the Japanese scout ship, and began throw stinky acid-filled bottles on the ship.  Once again, Paul Watson was not able to control his ship and the stern of his boat hit the stern of the Japanese boat (so dangerous).  Luckily, most of the damage was to the Steve Irwin.

Paul Watson, after just hitting the Japanese ship actually, said, “If they believe that we are terrorists, if they believe that we are these evil pirates, if they believe that we are capable of sinking them at sea, that works on our favor.”  Sounds like a good case for self defense if the Japanese ever decide to actually defend themselves.

He put them right back on another collision course.  He acted like he was going to T-bone their ship, and there were big laughs when he was able to miss them (just).  I am now for the Japanese using whatever means they choose in order to defend themselves.

One of the young ladies had a good idea, and developed a small-boat checklist so that they would not have many of the problems that they have faced so far.  The same First Mate that did not like to use the ship’s instruments was against this idea also.  His reasoning, “if you don’t know how to do it, you should not be doing it.”  While that may be true, none of these people know what they are doing, so they should just stop altogether.  She was just trying to streamline a process, and make things safer for the admittedly inexperienced crew, and he was just being an ass.

Just as they got to the whaling grounds, the started to run out of fuel and water.  I begin to wonder what the point of all of this is.

They found out that one of the Japanese Sailors had fallen overboard.  Their reaction was to offer to help so that they could find out where the fleet was in order to confront them.  Ghouls.  Paul Watson then justified his actions by saying that the Japanese attempt to find the sailor’s body was just a show, since there was no way that they could really find the man’s body (the Japanese had there searchlight on and were obviously looking for the man).  Even some of the crew were uncomfortable with assaulting the Japanese during their search.  Paul Watson’s quote was, “I really don’t care what people think, my clients are the whales.”  Bastard.

I want give Animal Planet a little credit for the way they are presenting this series.  I do believe they are sympathetic to the Sea Shepherds, but they also show all of their many flaws.  It may just be good television, but they don’t have to show any of the flaws at all.  This show could easily be a Sea Shepherds love fest, and it is not that.  Of course, if it was, I could not watch it.

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9 Responses

  1. This is my first season watching the Whale Wars series on Animal Planet and I can’t help feeling disturbed by the acts of the Sea Shepherd crew.

    They condemn the Japanese whalers violence toward whales by acting violently toward the whalers and risking the lives of crew on both vessels.

    They condemn the illegal activities by the Japanese by performing violent, vigilante acts against the Japanese.

    In the minds of the Sea Shepherd crew and, apparently the Australian government, illegal and violent acts are okay if perpetrated against people performing illegal and violent acts against whales.

    I condemn many of the horrible acts that are performed daily in this world – to include whaling.

    I’m not an “activist” on a big stage. In truth, I struggle to follow a Buddhist path – but I do try and follow it. By doing so I try to allow my actions to be seen by others and when asked about my patience or my calm I tell people what works for me.

    The Sea Shepherd needs to be stopped before the Japanese decide they have the right to defend themselves and use deadly force – likely justifiable when under attack on the open seas.

    Thank you for taking the time to view my opinion. Metta to all creatures.

  2. Since you wonder what the point of it all is, I’ll inform you: To Protect Life.

    You’re welcome.

    • If the point of this is to preserve life, the keystone cops aboard the Sea Shepherd do a pretty crappy job of it. If I contributed money to them, I would be offended at the general waste and ineptitude.
      Also, I think you need to reexamine your priorities if you have somehow come to the conclusion that saving the lives of a few animals that are being managed as a source of food is worth putting the lives of scores of people at risk. This same type of unreasonable response is how we end up with groups like Al Qaida.
      On another note, I’m left wondering, “Where are the groups of people defending the Japanese culture which allows the eating of whale meat.” It is no different from us eating cow’s meat. Would a group of terrorists from India therefore be justified in attacking ranchers and meat processors here? Of course not. Hart, you need to be motivated by reason and morality as well as passion.
      Finally, why are the Sea Shepherds just attacking the Japanese. The Inuits are allowed to harvest a certain ammount of whales every year also. The Sea Shepherds do not attack them because it is not PC to do so. However, the Japanese have just as much right to have a culture that enjoys whale meat as the Inuits do. Something underneath all of this has the distict odor of racism.
      You are also welcome…to reexamine some of your motivations and come to a more consistent life view.

    • Hart, I assume you are pro-life due to your response. It would be a pretty untenable position to care about ‘protecting life’ (a whale’s life) as much as you do, and to also be pro abortion at the same time.
      I do so hope I can get a response on this.

  3. I feel for the whales, but if the japanese were truly breaking the law, wouldn’t there be an intenational court or naval authorities to physically stop them. Also, trying to physically ram the japanese boats is truly a stupid manuever, because if they ram the other vessel, they’ll have to face some serious legal repurcussions.

    I also don’t think they should be attacking the boat while they’re in a search pattern looking for a body. The polite thing to do would be to help with the search, as futile as searching for a body is.

    How much Diesel do they burn while trying to save the environment anyway?

    • Thanks for the comment, Philly Fan. You make some very good points.
      The truth is, the Sea Shepherds make up their own rules. They claim that the Japanese are acting in violation of international law when they are actually acting under an international treaty (even if they may be using it to their advantage). The Sea Shepherds also repeatedly claim that they are acting under the authority of the Australian government. This is a lie. The Australians have vested them with no authority whatsoever, and while an Austalian court may have ruled that whaling in Antarctic waters is illegal, no treaties exist that support this court ruling. It is ludicrous for the Australians to expect to be able to claim that all the waters between Australian and Antarctica are its territorial waters. No country in the world claims boundaries such as these or has them respected by other nations. That being said, it is fine for the Australians, therefore, to ristrict their own citizens from whaling, but they have no legal authority over the Japanese outside of a signed treaty, which does not exist.

  4. A country’s Teritorial Sea Limit is 12 nautical miles by international law. Libia tried to extend their’s to 200 nautical miles in the early ’80s and it didn’t work out too well for them. Almost all sea going nations had whaling industries in the 1700 and 1800’s but most have since given it up. The Japenese are unique in that their country consumes fish as a main staple even today and japan has large commercial fishing vessels that fish the worlds oceans all the time.

  5. i have watched a number of episodes of Whale Wars now as much as I hate to admit it. It is like watching a train wreak…lol. I have never seen such incompetence in a sea faring crew. Every week I am amazed that nobody is killed. I am absolutely shocked that they are allowed to take an inexperienced crew like they put together to actually go on such a mission critical voyage. I think the captain should be held accountable, but he usually is standing around with him mouth agape and looks like a deer caught in the headlights.

    Unbelievable really….is the best they can do?? And aren’t they hurting their cause more then helping it? I wouldn’t send one nickle to a group of idiots like that…even though I think the cause is noble.

    Just my humble opinion.

    • I agree with your assessment of their incompetence, of course. The only place the captain will ever be held accountable is in an international court for piracy and terrorism. Let’s not forget that he was voted out of Greenpeace by a vote of 11-1 (his vote being the one). He is a law unto himself right now, and it would not bother him at all to see a few of his crew members become ‘marters for the whale cause.’
      I challenge your assessment of this as a ‘noble cause.’ If you do not think that a group of Hindus bombing ranchers or meat packing plants in the U.S. is equally noble, and if you think that people who bomb abortion clinics are not noble, then you are not being very consistent. All of these situations are or would be bad. We do not need to be projecting our jingoistic attitudes about whales onto a country whose culture whales them as a viable food source (They are animals just like pigs, chickens or cows.). That borders on racism.
      The minke whales that are being taken by the Japanese have never been considered an endangered species. When whaling was at its height, they were considered to be too small for most whalers to waste their time on.

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