Good Weekend: You Do What?

dowhat12-11Andrea Gordon, 33

Anti-whaling activist

I first got interested in Sea Shepherd 10 years ago when I read an article by its founder, Paul Watson, where he said he risked his life to save a whale. I knew then that Sea Shepherd was an organisation that wouldn’t compromise in it’s mission to protect marine wildlife.

I joined Sea Shepherd in 2005 to protect the baby harp seals in canada from being clubbed. After that, I worked as a public defender in my hometown of New York for four years, then rejoined Sea Shepherd in 2009 when it acquired the Bob Barker and have been here since.

I’ve always been passionate about saving lives. With Sea Shepherd, I can help save whales, seals and the oceans. Without the oceans, life on earth wouldn’t exist.

Coming on the Bob Barker was the first time I’d been on a ship. That’s one of the great things about crewing for Sea Shepherd: you can come on only having passion and determination and learn as you go.

As the Bob Barker’s manager, I co-ordinate the ship’s departments, projects and provisioning. When we’re in port, I arrange berths, and liaise with the crew co-ordinator for crewing needs. I serve as the ship’s liaison between the ship and the rest of Sea Shepherd. I’m also the point of contact for the public to the ship and arrange ship tours.

Every day is different in this job. That’s one of the fun but challenging parts of being ship manager. During the Antarctic Whale Defence campaigns, I’m a navigator in one of the fast boats.

We were in the Southern Ocean for three months for the 2010-11 campaign, Operation No Compromise. It was Sea Shepherd’s most successful campaign. We saved more than 850 whales and drove the whalers out of the whale sanctuary. [The whalers] turned around and went back to Japan, ending their season early.

It is a very cold summer in antarctic waters. We do take risks but we also prepare as much as we can to mitigate those risks. The reality is we’re up against a very well-funded fleet of ships, so we have to be creative to try to stop the whaling.

I love working with such a dedicated crew. The volunteers make great sacrifices to come to the ship. I also love being able to do what I’m most passionate about. I hope I can inspire people to cherish and protect life, whether locally or in the most remote regions of the planet.

While docked in Sydney this past winter, we have seen whales migrating past. It’s a reminder that these whales are going to be returning with their new-born babies in December and the whalers are heading down south as well, so we’re doing everything we can to be in the best shape to stop them.