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Meet the crew of the Steve Irwin

Alexandra Constantinescu
Alexa Constantinescu, Physician, Romania
- I’m a doctor, a General Practice Specialist, born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. I’ve been involved with Sea Shepherd around the world for the past 5 years and have been waiting for the chance to crew at sea for 3 years. Having finally being given the chance to not only be on board the Steve Irwin but to actually be here as their medical officer, doing what I’ve been trained to do and what I love doing most, is beyond anything I ever expected.

My grandparents fought a war, my parents fought in the revolution that overthrew the communist regime when I was only 6, so I grew up with the knowledge and understanding that each generation is responsible for ensuring the future of the next and making sure that that future is better, brighter and healthier.

That is why I’m working with SSCS. Because they not only know what needs to be done, they go out and do it, they do it well and get results. Being away from my family for the holidays, going to a harsh environment and risking our lives for the oceans and to stop an illegal operation is hard enough. I want to know that making this sacrifice will be for a successful mission. And Sea Shepherd gets the job done. For my kids, for my grandkids, for my 7-year old niece and my 12-year old nephew. I’m here for them, and Sea Shepherd is here for the oceans and for all future generations.

Alexis Lum
Alexis Lum,
Deckhand and Japanese translator (Canada) - I have been a Sea Shepherd member since my first birthday. My immediate family has been heavily involved with the organization since it was founded. My father, Daryle, fixed the engines on the old ship in Vancouver. My mother, Michèle, translated documents in French. My older brother, Antoine, is the current Vancouver Sea Shepherd chapter head and campaigned in 2000 in the Galapagos. My lovely cousin, Lani, has been on several campaigns and Sea Shepherd will be blessed with another passionate supporter in 9 months time. My aunt, Starlet, is still playing a huge part in the organization as she helps organize campaigns. All of our efforts for Sea Shepherd couldn’t have been possible without Captain Paul Watson’s passion, dedication, never-quit attitude and courageous vision that spurred him to found and lead the Sea Shepherd association. It is absolutely amazing that this fantastic, non-profit organization is where it is today and there is really only one leader to thank.

I have been an onshore volunteer for several years in Vancouver. My first campaign was in the Faroe Islands in 2011. It was a very successful campaign as not one short fin or long fin pilot whale was killed while we were patrolling the islands. We were able to give hundreds of tours on the Brigitte Bardot and carry out effective outreach programs with the Faroese people. Two of the highlights of the campaign were playing soccer with the locals on the dock in front of the ship and swimming with hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. This campaign was a life changing experience for me and I am extremely fortunate to have shared it with wonderful Sea Shepherd volunteers who I am proud to call my friends. I am very grateful to my headmaster and supporting school in Vancouver for allowing me to take a leave of absence from teaching to be a part of the Divine Wind Antarctica campaign. I will be part of the deckhand team and will be the Japanese translator. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity of a lifetime to go to Antarctica and to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales.

Beck Straussner
Beck Straussner, Second Mate (Beck began Divine Wind aboard the Brigitte Bardot) (United States) - When my kindergarten teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a humpback whale. As a child I would play outside until my Mom would call me home. Now that I am on my own, I stay outside all the time and then call my Mom at her home! I love living on boats and sleeping under the stars. Salt water runs through my veins. Over the years I have noticed many changes. Places that thrived where nature was abundant are now showing the effects of overpopulation. Watching trees turn into buildings, animals into food, and oceans into deserts makes me so sad. The disconnect that people have from nature allows us to exploit it in ways never thought of before. I myself, have a direct impact on the fate of this planet, which has lead me to here.

I joined Sea Shepherd because I knew I had something to offer, not just to the organization but also to mother earth. After high school I went into commercial diving, traveling the world and raping the sea. I harvested coral and rigged special effects in Hollywood. After visiting my parents in San Diego I decided to become a dolphin trainer. Exploiting captive animals allowed me to build relationships and study behavior that I would never have gained anywhere else. Dolphins and whales belong in the wild! I left to observe them in their natural home...the ocean. I moved back to Hawaii and dove into Humpback whale research. I studied, learned, and spent countless hours in the water, I watched how they moved, swam and interacted with each other, and with me. I saw intelligence that I had never observed before, and since then I have vowed, to the ones I love, those that swim free and take only what they need, to be an advocate of compassion. Living in harmony with nature, not dominating it is not a new concept. Our ancestors held these beliefs not only close to their hearts but also as necessity. Why don't we? Getting back to the roots ain't easy but it sure feels good when you do!

Brian Race
Brian Race
, Engineer (United States) - I left Syracuse, New York in the summer of 2009 to join the Steve Irwin while it was under repair in Brisbane, Australia. I joined as a deckhand but transferred to the engineering department half way through operation Waltzing Matilda, as I have experience as a diesel mechanic. Being a part of a great engineering team is a lot of work but I enjoy the challenge of keeping a ship in top working condition. I am determined and will fight to see illegal whaling, overfishing and the destruction of our marine environment come to and end.

Buddy Collinson
Buddy Collinson
, Deckhand (Australia) - I have always held a passion for the great crew and boats, risking everything to help save defenseless sea life that no one else is looking after. I never thought it would be possible to get on the boats and help. Working with the Wilderness Society at a fundraiser for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I met some of the crew while the Steve Irwin was here in Fremantle.

The next day I filled my car with all my tools and drove to the boat and said, “I’m here to work.” I have never worked with such passion despite the fact I’m not getting paid a cent for it. It’s for a good cause.

I love what Sea Shepherd is doing, and I love the ocean and everything connected with it. I’ve been building boats for eight years and with this experience I figure I can contribute to Sea Shepherd’s cause.

Look out, whalers!

Burkhard Husmann
Burkhart Husmann
, Engineer (Germany) - I have seen reports about Sea Shepherd campaigns and am very impressed by its activities against the slaughter of whales. I can identify with the aims of the organization; therefore, I am supporting and have become part of it.

Cassandra Smith
Cassandra Smith, Quartermaster, (Australia)
- This will be my second Antarctic campaign on board the Steve Irwin. Previously, I was on the second leg of Operation No Compromise as Quartermaster. Upon hearing about the return of the Japanese whalers this season, as with everyone, I was surprised, appalled and outraged. Given the success of Operation No Compromise, the whalers returning home early with their lowest ever quota, and the terrible tsunami devastation Japan experienced at the beginning of 2011, it was totally unexpected that Japan would again send their boats back to the Southern Ocean. So many Japanese people are in need of funding to help rebuild their lives.

Upon hearing the news they would be returning to the Southern Ocean, I immediately volunteered my time to Sea Shepherd once again and joined the Operation Divine Wind campaign. I resigned from my full-time job, put all my belongings into storage and prepared myself to join the amazing crew of Sea Shepherd for the journey down to the Southern Ocean to help stop the senseless slaughter of the beautiful sentient beings - whales. I have always been deeply passionate about marine life, our oceans and biodiversity. My love of scuba diving has given me an appreciation for the amazing creatures which reside within our great oceans.

I feel extremely grateful and honored to be a part of this passionate, dedicated crew who have come from all corners of the globe to stand up for our oceans. I think the quote below from Mother Teresa says it all. No matter who we are or where we are, we can all do our little bit to help protect our oceans and our Mother Earth.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Chad Hallstead
Chad Halstead, Bosun’s Mate (United States) - At a very young age I began questioning the necessities of things we consume in our daily lives. What we eat, wear, buy, or support and the inevitable cost that another life or environment must pay for it. Becoming interested in the welfare of animals and the environment at the age of 13, I was handed an article about Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson’s aggressive yet non-violent actions against the hands that are destroying this planet’s land and oceans. This was something that sparked more than just an interest in Sea Shepherd itself, but also the idea that it was possible for individual people to fight back and truly succeed. Since joining Sea Shepherd in 2009, it has become more than just a direct fight against the killing of our vital ecosystem, but about investing one’s life, time, and energy, into working for something which is for the benefit of others, all life, both animals, human and the total environment. Our oceans are not the property of the human race, and neither are the animals, trees and mountains. It is a travesty to see the depletion of life before my eyes, without governments and large organizations, which are solely responsible, taking any responsibility. It is a well-known fact that every day another species goes extinct, and very few people even bat an eyelash. We can't pretend it isn't happening. We can't pretend that WE didn't create these problems. In preparation for my 6th Campaign, Operation Divine Wind, I will continue driving the Delta boat. This year I have managed and prepared all the small boats on the Steve Irwin for another strong campaign, including the addition of two new 6.5-meter inflatable boats. I have been incredibly busy getting them, as well as the Delta, into the strongest state possible.

Operation Divine Wind is one of my most anticipated campaigns. I look forward to nothing more than the first sight of a Japanese whaling ship, and the crane lowering our boats into the action. This campaign marks the determination of both the Japanese whaling fleet's effort to introduce legalized commercial whaling, and Sea Shepherd's effort to ensure it never happens. The whalers’ days are numbered. And with every season the fleet returns to Japan with their unfulfilled quotas, we hammer one more nail into their coffin. This year, we hope we'll be putting it into its grave.

Crystal Galbraith
Crystal Galbraith, Quartermaster (United States)
- While studying for a degree in Psychology at the University of California, I went undercover in an operation that shut down a sushi restaurant in Santa Monica, California. 

I used a hidden camera in my purse to record the transaction and stashed pieces of whale for DNA testing. The tests revealed that the meat was the flesh of a Sei whale, which is an endangered species. The sushi chef admitted to importing whale meat from Japan into the US for ten years. After the illegal activity was reported to the authorities, the restaurant was forced to close down. 

I was also the co-captain for Los Angeles for Ric O'Barry's Save Japan Dolphins and volunteered onshore with Sea Shepherd before crewing on the ship. 

On the Steve Irwin I fulfill the role of Quartermaster. I was on the Steve for previous campaigns, which included defending the North Atlantic Blue Fin in the Mediterranean in 2010, and Pilot Whales in the Faroe Islands in 2011. Along with being a quartermaster, Peter Hammarsted and I share the function of the marine based media crew for Operation Divine Wind. 

I have the strong sense that we are living in a truly crucial moment in time for the way people interact with the earth. This is why I dedicate all my free time to raising awareness for the much-needed protection of the natural environment and the animals that inhabit the planet.

Eleanor Lister
Eleanor Lister
, Deckhand (United Kingdom) - Growing up on the small island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, I was always exposed to a very natural environment, and ultimately it was something that I was heavily influenced and inspired by, as I grew older. My family had always taught me to respect and love everything around me, and I carried that notion with me throughout my entire childhood.

As I grew up, I began to develop a sense of responsibility towards the protection of the environment; towards animals, towards the world. I believe that it is not only necessary, but vital that we, as inhabitants of the world, understand that we have a duty to focus on correcting the imbalance and maintaining a safe and stable place to live. Not just for mankind, but also for every other living thing.

I learned about Sea Shepherd from my best friend in 2010, and when the Brigitte Bardot came to Jersey for the International Whaling Commission meeting mid 2011, I knew I wasn't going to let it leave without me. I've been a crewmember for about 6 months now, first as a quartermaster, and now I'm working as a deckhand. Every day I continue to feel privileged to be part of an organization that focuses on direct action. To know that everything we're doing is directly contributing to saving marine wildlife and the environment is so incredibly fulfilling.

Eva Hidalgo
Eva Hidalgo
, Deckhand (Spain) - I was a biology student when I sailed out of my hometown, Barcelona, onboard the Steve Irwin in 2010 and I have been part of the crew ever since. Truly believing in direct action as the ultimate way to make change happen, I have put all of my rage and energy into the campaigns to protect the oceans around the world this past year.

After gaining skills and experience as part of the deck team, I was given the responsibility of joining the heli-crew as a helicopter assistant, and I will be doing my best to help keep its operations running efficiently and safely in Antarctica this year.

From your home or from your city, from the land or from the ocean, wake up and open your eyes to the nature that surrounds you. Learn how to love it, discover how much it has to teach you, and then feel the rage of knowing we are approaching its collapse. Our collapse.

Your daily choices are your most powerful weapon. Choose to act, choose to be the difference. There is no time left for those creatures who suffer and face extinction. We must stand up for both the planet that holds us and all its inhabitants or die with them.

Giacomo Giorgi
Giacomo "Josh" Giorgi
, Bosun’s Mate (Italy) - I've been following Sea Shepherd sporadically since the mid 90's and constantly since the beginning of the new millennium. I've been passionate about animals and the natural environment since I was 14 and wanted to fight to defend them ever since. I joined the ship in May 2010 after my band To Kill, on which I was focusing most of my time and energy, decided to break up.

I then had the chance to follow a new path in my life, thanks in part to my partner, Raffa, who shared this experience with me. Since then I've been part of four campaigns and I just can't wait to start my fifth one and shut down whaling for good in the Southern Ocean. I joined as a deckhand, although I didn't have any experience with that beside my endless thirst for learning and working. In past campaigns I've been boat navigator, diver, and crane operator. For Operation Divine Wind I will be taking on the new exciting and challenge of being the boat driver of the second small boat. While not on campaign, I am the ship’s carpenter, just another skill I learned while being on the ship and now I just love it.

James Brook
James Brook
, Bosun (Australia) - I’ve been with Sea Shepherd for almost 3 years now. I enjoy being part of an environmental group that gives priority to direct action, to actually achieving a physical result. The Earth, our planet, is in a major crisis and everyone is shopping as usual. It’s ridiculous. Being part of a volunteer based organization, and a crew who work their guts out day after day to try to protect our dying ecology is a great feeling.

Before SSCS I was a musician touring the world, an activist, and I also worked for a few years as an operating theatre technician. I’ve seen the organization grow rapidly over the past 3 years and it is very satisfying to see the effect we can have on illegal fishing and whaling. We do stop it and that gives us energy to keep on maintaining the ship, painting the rust, and getting into small boats on the icy ocean.

Josh Trenter
Josh Trenter
, Deckhand (United States) - As a long-time animal liberation and environmental activist, I first sailed with Sea Shepherd in 2001 aboard the M/Y Ocean Warrior. Since then I’ve gone on to become a registered nurse as well as continuing to fight for the planet. I returned to Sea Shepherd earlier this year, taking part in the Blue Rage 2 and Faeroe Islands campaigns. I feel extremely privileged to be heading to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to take part in my first Antarctic campaign where I hope we will rout the whaling fleet for the second year in a row and end whaling in the region permanently.

Kane Johnson
Bio to come

Kelly Higgins
Kelly Higgins
, Cook (United States) - When people ask me where I'm from, I always have trouble answering. A passion for the outdoors has given me a connection to an array of diverse places across the U.S. Whether it was camping in New Jersey's Pine Barrens, climbing the redwood trees of the Santa Cruz mountains, exploring the arching rock formations of the Utah desert, or swimming in the scattered lakes of the Maine Woods that resemble a shattered mirror when viewed from the peak of Mt. Katahdin, I have always been in awe of the beauty of this Earth that we are all so lucky to inhabit.

I have spent half my life working as an activist, advocating for Social justice, protecting the environment, and defending the lives of animals. And growing up on the shores of the Atlantic, I have always felt an affinity for the sea and its inhabitants. After seeing Paul Watson speak at an animal rights conference over a decade ago, I made a vow to do all I can to protect the biodiversity of our oceans, and to stop the senseless slaughter of the great and beautiful creatures of the sea. We are living in a time of mass extinctions, and we have a quickly closing window of time to act to ensure the future of life on this gorgeous planet.

I am proud to have joined the crew of Sea Shepherd six months ago, sailing with the Steve Irwin to the Faeroe Islands to defend pilot whales in the successful Operation Ferocious Isles. As a vegan for fourteen years, I love working in the galley, preparing healthy and delicious meals that cause minimal harm to the environment; but I have also enjoyed the physical demands of working as a deckhand, and the navigation of the ship as a quartermaster.

What excites me about crewing for Sea Shepherd is the opportunity to be a part of a team with a fierce commitment to causes I believe in, and a level of dedication that I have rarely seen in the world at large. From our onshore crew members and volunteers, to the donors at home, to the deckhands mopping the floors, whether I am pulling in the ships lines on deck, charting the course of the Steve Irwin on the bridge, or peeling potatoes in the galley, I know that I am part of a crew willing to do not only the big exciting actions to protect the earth's ecosystems, but a million little things that contribute to making the world a better place.

Luz Rivas
Luz Rivas
, Cook (Sweden) - This will be my second Antarctica campaign. With close to 30 million dollars in additional funds, the whalers will bring us new challenges and the interventions against them will most likely be difficult. Even so, I believe that our crew can save lives and stop whaling operations permanently.

There are a lot of things one can do to help animals and being on the Steve Irwin is just one of them. Going vegan is another easy way to make a difference, stop animal cruelty and save the environment from pollution destruction.

We are facing the largest mass extinction in our time. Thousands and thousands of animals disappear from the surface of the earth, never to return again. I have a great passion for this particular issue and strongly believe that direct action is the only effective way to defeat the oppression against minorities, animals and humans.

This is the reason I joined Sea Shepherd. It is one of the very few marine-focused organizations that do this, and with great success. Direct action needs creative thinkers and passionate, revolutionary people, with a lot of determination. Throughout history, individuals have put their lives on the line to change society, free animals and make a difference. Instead of convincing governments to change things for us, we do it ourselves, with respect for all life and for the natural environment.

Maddy Matthiessen
Bio to come

Oona Layolle
Oona Layolle, Third Mate (France) -
I have always had a very close relationship with the sea. Coming from a seafaring family, I grew up in a sailing boat crossing the oceans. Since I always want to live close to the sea and love traveling, I turned my passions into a career, studying navigation and becoming a qualified master 5.

I have been saddened by how humans behave towards the oceans, and I am shocked by how quickly we are destroying them, with no respect for the living creatures that are vital to the balance of life.

I joined the cause in La Ciotat, France after a visit to the Brigitte Bardot, where the crew was preparing the boat for the Blue Rage campaign. I began by helping them with all the yard work and a few days later, they were looking for a first mate. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better opportunity to finally do something to protect the sea by joining Sea Shepherd. I offered my skills and my passion for the sea, and became a volunteer.

Since then I’ve done two campaigns with Sea Shepherd on the Brigitte Bardot, in the Mediterranean and the Faeroe Islands. On my third campaign, I will be 3rd officer on the Steve Irwin for Operation Divine Wind, where I will be responsible for navigating the ship through Antarctica’s spectacular icy waters. I’m proud to share this experience with a crew of diverse nationalities, who are passionate and ready to fight together to protect whales lives.

Pablo Watson
Pablo Watson, Third Engineer (Australia) - I first joined the Bob Barker in June 2009, and have been on the Steve Irwin since March 2011. I joined the crew because, like many other people, I saw the destruction of the oceans taking place all around me, the countless innocent lives of so many species ripped away. I have been snorkeling since I was a kid, and scuba diving for the last few years. Going back to the same sights year after year, I have seen the decline of life and habitat. So many whale songs will never again be sung, so many families torn apart, homes destroyed, the most beautiful places on earth turned into toxic dumps and bone yards.

I am here to put into action the idea of equality, irrespective of race, age, sex or species. With Sea Shepherd, I am a part of saving those lives; a voice for the voiceless, and sending a message to those who think the illegal slaughter of life in our oceans is acceptable. It is not.

Peter Brown
Peter Brown, Second Officer (United States) - I began volunteering for Sea Shepherd in 1981 and my service continues to this day.

Rolf Henning Larsen
Rolf Hanning Larsen, Communications Officer (Norway) - I am a Norwegian who is very passionate about protecting our oceans and the wildlife in them. I've lived most of my life on the coast, and I've always loved the sea. I was lucky enough to be able to join the ship for the first time earlier this year for the Blue Rage and Ferocious Isles campaigns. And now I’ve been invited back for Divine Wind as communications officer. My role on the ship is to keep communications running, which means maintaining our radios, satellite connections, and internal networks and computers.

Previously I've worked in IT for larger corporations in Norway, but the office life was not for me. I am now in love with the sea, and plan on spending as much time on it or as close to it as possible.

Shannon Mann
Shannon Mann
, Quartermaster (Canada) - Growing up on the Canadian Prairies, I spent my childhood exploring the beautiful and untamed northern forests of Saskatchewan. It’s from these experiences that I developed my enduring connection with nature. This connection, coupled with an innate sense of empathy for other living beings, has fuelled my passion for opposing the injustices endured by animals and the environment at the hands of humans.

I have a B.S.c in Biology, but prior to joining Sea Shepherd I worked in IT for several years in the telecom and energy industries. Although I had many challenging opportunities during this time, I was nagged by the feeling that I wasn’t truly following my passion. After hearing a lecture by Captain Paul Watson, I saw the opportunity to become involved in a cause close to my heart, and made a decision that would completely alter the course of my life. I quit my job and set sail as part of the 2006 Antarctic whale defense campaign. Although I was graciously offered the opportunity to return to my job once the campaign was over, after three months of crewing with Sea Shepherd I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to taking action for the planet.

Now, after participating in numerous campaigns (in the Antarctica, Galapagos, Canada, and the Mediterranean), I want to spend my non-crewing time sharing my experiences, knowledge, and passion with others. I’m currently working with a team to build a social media site for activism called Backyard Activist that will connect individuals and grassroots organizations for the good of the planet. We will launch in 2012.

Sid Chakravarty
Siddharth Chakrvarty, First Officer (India) - I have spent the last ten years of my life as a seaman, sailing for extended periods of time, transporting cargo and indirectly fueling the economic global growth that we see today. Always having felt like a bit of a misfit, I educated myself on the multiple identities that shipping takes on at various local, national and international levels. I feel conflicted by the consummate callousness of the shipping industry, which manifests itself most clearly in the pollution of the waterways arising out of commercial shipping operations and accidental discharge from ships, which, in turn have crippling effects on marine life. I heeded the call of my nagging conscience and combined it with my skill set - I hunted for jobs that would put me on front lines of marine conservation and Sea Shepherd turned out to be the answer.

Shini Sebastianpillai
Shini Sebastianpillai, Quartermaster (United Kingdom) - I was born in Sri Lanka and have lived also in Saudi Arabia and Australia, as well as my current base in Vauxhall, London, UK.

What is important to me? Conservation, Compassion, Permaculture & Nature-based Education - the Challenge and Protection of a Bio-diverse Life!

What do I practice? I am a Singer-Songwriter on Acoustic Guitar, Children's Author & Illustrator, Earth-Friendly Artist utilizing solvent-free, certified organic pigments on found materials and canvas and have been a full-time, qualified Shiatsu therapist. Natural methods of healing and balance, and beautiful natural phenomena inspire me.

Why have I been an onshore volunteer for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for the past years? Captain Watson is a good friend and I greatly admire his commitment and knowledge, effectiveness and integrity for marine conservation. This is my first front-line campaign. Within this organization, we uphold International Conservation Law without compromise, challenging the boundaries of the majority and with a willingness to take direct action.

SSCS channels an individual's passion. I am part of a dedicated crew made up almost entirely of volunteers. Those few who earn a humble salary offer highly specialized skills to the cause. I am honored to be with every one of them. Thank you to all of our supporters!

Sonja Hyppanen
Sonya Hyppänen, Deckhand and Journalist (Finland) - I'm a 28-year old freelance journalist from Finland. I joined the Steve Irwin in June 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Operation Divine Wind will be my second campaign.

In my first campaign, Operation Ferocious Isles, we stopped whaling in the Faeroe Isles for six weeks. As a Scandinavian I'm horrified by the brutality of the Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese whalers. All over the world the human race is emptying the oceans and committing a slow suicide.

I work as a deckhand on the ship. I learned my sea skills aboard a tall ship and I'm happy to use them here to help the planet, its oceans, and wildlife. Crewing on the ship has been an amazing experience and working for the oceans continues to humble me every day. Life aboard is simple, the way it's meant to be; giving rather than taking.

Susan Larsen
Susan Larsen
, Deckhand (United States) - I am a long-term animal liberation activist and a worker/owner of the Rainbow Grocery Cooperative in San Francisco. I am excited to be joining Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a member of the deck department on the Steve Irwin. This is my second campaign with Sea Shepherd. I first joined in 2002 and was fortunate to be able to help expose the cruel practice of shark poaching in the Galapagos and Cocos Islands. I am now back after a 9 year break and feel privileged to be a part of the struggle to end whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Timothy Pierce
Timothy Pierce, Aviation Maintenance Manager, Helicopter Mechanic (United States) - I’m a 4-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps where I flew as a helicopter flight engineer serving at sea on the USS New Orleans. Having more than 10 years of field mechanic experience in EMS operations, as well as a variety of other aviation ventures and inspiring fix wing pilot. I bring a total of 17 years’ experience in aviation to the crew.

I joined the Sea Shepherd organization in May 2011 and indulge my passion for marine wildlife by applying my expertise in aviation maintenance. Having the chance to use such skills in protecting marine wildlife is what drew me to the endeavors of Sea Shepherd. Always enthusiastic about the campaigns and challenges that lie ahead, I am ready to tackle any obstacle to give Sea Shepherd an aeronautic advantage throughout the world.

Tommy Knowles
Tommy Knowles, Deckhand (Canada) - I am a vegan activist from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who joined Sea Shepherd because I believe that direct action is the most productive way to stop the mass slaughter of our oceans. I believe that whaling is inherently wrong and cruel and has no place in the 21st century.

Operation Divine Wind will be my second campaign with Sea Shepherd following a successful campaign in the Faeroe Islands this past summer. I am a deckhand and will be the navigator on the Delta boat alongside Chad Halstead, the Delta driver. I am looking forward to being face to face with the whalers on the front line, defending whales.

For the oceans, for our planet, and for all creatures who human beings seek to destroy.

Veronika Kristof
Veronika Kristof, Cook and Journalist (Hungary)
- I have unconditional respect for whales, dolphins, and seals. My rage against the unforgivable actions of the whalers, dolphin killers, and seal hunters sparked me to become involved and keeps me working for Sea Shepherd.

My effort protecting marine mammals is not just limited to my time on campaign. In Hungary I present educational programs in schools, write articles for various newspapers, and regularly organize meetings at the Japanese embassy against whaling and dolphin massacres.

This is my fifth Antarctic Campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet. To be a dedicated volunteer for Sea Shepherd - the single organization able and willing to stop whaling - is the most significant aspect of my life. The life of every whale we save is precious. Fighting the Japanese whaling fleet in the remote, treacherous water of Antarctica is not an adventure, but a massive challenge. Although it is hard work and we face dangerous conditions, to know that we save the precious lives of many magnificent whales, makes it all worthwhile.

Willie Hatfield
Willie Hatfield
, Engineer (United States) - I grew up in a small Wisconsin town; meeting with success in most endeavors and after college began work as a naval architect, designing warships for a defense contractor. Throughout this time the question "What should I do?" had been answered by what interested or inspired me. Yet I was miserable, with little idea as to the remedy. So I began searching for an answer - or a better question.

I quit that job and traveled by bicycle for 2 years, experiencing, learning, and doing. The search continues today with Sea Shepherd where I work in the engine room, assisting as I can with their crucial mission. The plight of the oceans is but one casualty in humanity’s self-destructive treatment of this beautiful Earth. Because of my part in this destruction, the terrible price of complacency, and the value I place on what is being lost, I will risk what I must for the chance, which Sea Shepherd provides, to be of real help.

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