December 2, 2012**UPDATE** Reflections on My Birthday - Commentary by @CaptPaulWatson on his birthday via @OmarSeaShepherd RT!!!
Well, I can certainly say that the older I get the more adventures that I seem to experience.
The posted picture reflects my official pirate status.
A year ago today I was on the Steve Irwin in Fremantle, Australia preparing to head South towards Antarctica. Where I am now and what I am doing at the moment will be released on Tuesday.
This is just a general personal reflection on the past year.
At lot has happened:
First we chased the Japanese whalers from West of Australia to East of the Ross Sea. We pursued them for thousands of miles and in the end they took only 26% of their kill quota. We were hoping to do better than the year before when they only got 17% but the Brigitte Bardot suffered extensive damage in the Southern Ocean and the safety of the crew became our first priority. Nonetheless, 74% of the targeted whales were saved and we cost them $22 million in lost profits.
Our Cove Guardians were on the ground in Taiji this time last year and they are on the ground now, each and every day working to stop the horrific slaughter of dolphins in Japan. The Steve Irwin undertook a major campaign to Western Australia to defend the whales. Our crew in the Galapagos helped to capture an iguana smuggler and completed the AIS program to detect poacher in the Marine Reserve. Our efforts to defend sharks in the South Pacific and at LaReunion Island made substantial progress. The on-going campaign to ban shark fins made significant progress with Europe banning shark fins and Cathy Pacific Airlines saying they will no longer transport shark fins. One Canadian city after another has banned shark fins.
In March I traveled to Spain and France on a speaking tour and returned in time to Seattle for the birth of my first grand child to my daughter. My daughter decided that calling me Granddad did not really fit so I am now officially Obi Wan and I like that.
I was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany in May and held for 8 days and then released on bond and then kept in House arrest for two months until a contact in the German Ministry of Justice warned me that Germany would send me to Japan on a Monday in late July. I was informed one the Friday before that Monday and by Sunday I escaped from Germany on a long odyssey from Europe to the South Pacific. Unfortunately I can’t go into details.
Musical Highlights: Gojira brought me on stage in Germany where I spoke to 250,000 people at the Rock am Ring Concert. I was also a backstage guest of Metallica for that event and two weeks later a backstage guest of Tommy Lee for his Germany concert, where he made an appeal on my behalf to the German Ministry of Justice. Unfortunately my invitation to meet the Beach Boys at their August concert in Germany was blocked by my having to leave Germany but they gave me a beautiful 50th Anniversary Beach Boys Hoodie and an invitation to meet them at a later date. Sea Shepherd went on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Xavier Rudd, Michael Franti, Smashing Pumpkins, and with Arrowsmith. But the biggest musical highlight was to see my close friend Mihirangi finish as one of the three finalists in the New Zealand’s Got Talent competition.
Literary Highlights: I did quite a bit of reading this year due to circumstances that allowed me so much time to read. The most important were about a dozen books on the history of the Confederate raiders of the Civil War and how they destroyed the Yankee whaling fleet. I also read the Game of Thrones series, a book on the History of the Atlantic Ocean by Simon Winchester simply called Atlantic, Rob Stewart’s Save the Humans, Run to Failure by Abrahm Lustgarten about BP Oil and featuring our own Scott West of Sea Shepherd from when he was a Federal Agent with the EPA. I also reread Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
HIGH POINTS: Being presented with the Jules Verne Award in Paris was a great honour although I could not be there to accept it. Having dinner in Germany with Pamela Anderson. Walking in the rain on the banks of the Main with Martina Holm. Hanging out with Tommy Lee, Xavier Rudd, Gojira, Anthony Kiedis, Ian Somerhalder and Sean Penn.
I wish I could say the names of all the people who helped me with these legal issues this year but for security reasons I cannot. However they know who they are and how much I appreciate what they have done,
Another great highpoint was seeing people around the world rally to my defense with demonstrations before German Consulates around the world. I deeply appreciate the efforts of each and everyone who did so.
And of course the high point of the entire year being the birth of my granddaughter Gemma.
Low Points: The lowest point of the year for me was the death in August of my younger brother Stephen from Cancer. I was glad to have met with him two weeks before he passed away and to personally thank him for all he has done during his life for Sea Shepherd and for me. His incredible courage was admirable and made me feel so proud of him. He knew he was going to die but he did not express any fear or self-pity. He said that he was happy that he was able to contribute to making the world just a little better with his art and his philanthropy. I was concerned that my incarceration in Germany would not have enabled me to say goodbye to my brother. His daughter Hillary is on the Steve Irwin now and she will bring his ashes to Antarctica on behalf of her mother Renee and her brothers Shawn and Garrett and sister Lea. Stephen was a brilliant artist and the brother that I am most proud of. He will be most sorely missed.
We also lost Melissa Bowers to cancer in May. Melissa was a 19 year old musician from Canada and a big Sea Shepherd supporter who was fighting for the whales, dolphins and sea lions from her hospital bed only days before she died.
Thus it is, and thus it will continue.
Another year for me over and a new one to begin and I am confident that we will be stronger next year than this one just as we are stronger this year than last.