Whale Wars is Here!

Dood! “Whale Wars: Viking Shores” just premiered on Animal Planet. When I heard that, I had to tune in. In days of old, the Welsh (who live in Wales for those of you who are geographically challenged) had to fear the Vikings. Now the shoes on the other foot! Wale Wars!

Upon further research, it would seem that this show does not actually involve any Welsh. Or, if it did, they backed out on their agreement to appear. Instead, this show is about making wars on whales: those large aquatic mammals whose blubber reduced to an oil upon which civilization depended before we discovered petroleum substitutes. The novel “Moby Dick” contained a reasonable depiction of what constituted whaling back in those days, but times have changed dramatically. We no longer ship out in row boats to throw harpoons by hand; now we fire exploding harpoons from directly from the boat that kill the animal on detonation. That’s how to win a war ladies and gentlemen- superior firepower. The whales are drastically outgunned (in fact, they don’t have any), and are just sitting ducks for the whalers.

Enter the Sea Shepherd Organization. If the whales represent victory for the whalers, then Sea Shepherd represents the defense team brought in to prevent them from scoring. Every whale corpse that’s savaged with an exploding harpoon and then hooked up to an air compressor in order to bloat it’s carcass with air to keep it afloat equals one point for the whalers. Each time that is prevented, it’s a point for the Sea Shepherds. Each side has it’s tactics they are going to use to try to win. It’s a bit like football, except instead of the quarterback getting sacked he explodes in a bloody mist from an exploding harpoon launched by the opposing coach from the sidelines. Come to think of it, if football were really like that, I wouldn’t miss a game.

We, the viewers, get to watch this grand spectacle courtesy of Animal Planet which carries the show. The show ends up being a rather lopsided view of the two opposing sides in Whale Wars, because the nations that operate the whaling fleets won’t consent to let cameras on board their vessels. Instead the opposing ships are viewed from the camera crews operating on the Sea Shepard fleet. So we see the conflict entirely from their point of view. Of course, since the whalers are hell bent on using explosives to kill a large, cute, and harmless creature, I’m not sure they really want that story told. It’s not a very good story. I mean, the hunter who killed Bambi’s mom didn’t exactly release his story as a best seller now did he?

The Sea Shepherd fleet was originally a single ship, the Steve Irwin. Obviously, this was named after the well known conservationist and “Crocodile Hunter” who was crazy about protecting animals everywhere- right up until he was ironically killed like a snitch in a jail yard by a shiv from a grumpy sting ray. Then, in later seasons, two more ships have been added: the Brigitte Bardot and the Bob Barker. Obviously the eponimous celebrities either have or did have ties with the Sea Shepherd organization. I’m just thankful that the fleet hasn’t added a ship named Bindi Irwin, the Jungle Girl yet.

I have to say that the ships look pretty damn cool. I mean the Steve Irwin looks like a traditional boat, but the Bridgette Bardot looks freaking awesome. Here, have a look for yourself at these replicas of the boats.

Model of the Steve Irwin of Sea Shepherd

Model of the Brigitte Bardot of Sea Shepherd

I mean the Steve Irwin looks like a converted shrimp boat, but the Bridgette Bardot looks like an alien destroyer closing in for the kill. What the hell is that thing? It’s got wings and crap.

Turns out the Bridgette Bardot has quite a history. Before she was commissioned by the Sea Shepherd, she was circumnavigated the globe in 74 days- beating the previous world record. For extra style points, she did it using bio-diesel. For logistical reasons, she has since been converted to conventional fuel, but that’s still pretty cool.

As for the last ship in the fleet, the Bob Barker, it’s a more conventional boat like the Steve Irwin. Kind of a bummer, but all the boats can’t be as cool as the Bridgette Bardot. Here’s a model of Bob for your viewing pleasure.
Models of Sea Shepherd Ships Brigitte Bardot and Steve Irwin

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’ve transitioned to talking about the ships to showing models of the ships. The models were made from the actual plans of the boats themselves. That’s because the Sea Shepherd Conservatory has these models commissioned, designed from actual plans of the boats themselves, and built so that those of you at home can get off your duffs and into the war. You see, each model, in addition to raising awareness for the cause, helps to fund it. In fact, a full 50% of the profits form these models go to the Sea Shepherd conservatory. Furthermore, each model is made with a small piece or part from the ship on which it is based; I’m not quite sure how they do that, but it seems cool.

Of course, as you’d expect from an environmental group, every model is made of biodegradable and Earth-friendly building materials. And, to make them collectible, each run is limited to 1000 models. Once those 1000 are sold, there are to be no more models made like them. That’s all she wrote, so call in those orders.
Model of the Bob Barker of Sea Shepherd

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