The whale food chain of the Southern Pacific Ocean used to be simple: whales ate plankton, Captain Ahab killed whales, whales killed Ahab, Japanese whalers posing as scientists stepped in to kill whales in his lieu, plankton entertained whalers' children on Spongebob. But Dave Rastovich and his "Transparentsea" crew aimed to throw a wrench in the chain, kayaking for 36 days and more than 430 miles along the migratory path of humpback whales.
Sticking with the campaign through fatigue and thunderstorms, the Transparentsea team sought to use the publicity to stir the Australian government to action in its stated opposition to Japanese whaling in protected waters. Rastovich, along with San Diego surfer/artist Chris Del Moro and Byron Bay, Australia, activist Howie Cooke and photographer Hilton Dawe, also drew attention to areas of environmental concern along Australia's eastern seaboard.
"We're basically wanting to highlight the issue of whaling and what we can do about it, what the surfing community can do about it, the Australian people, the coastal people [can do about it]," Rastovich said. "Right now the only ship going to Antarctica is Sea Shepherd [of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society]. And this whole trip is about escorting these whales down the coast."
The group stopped for beach cleanups, which were done in conjunction with the Surfrider Foundation and Tangaroa Blue.
"Surfers all over the world who all feel the same about dolphins and whales and who all feel the same about water quality are starting to wake up and be active," Rastovich said. "Clear, clean waters: 'Transparentsea' you know? Transparency with our government transparent waters, transparent sense of self and what we're doing and what we affect each other with in terms of our actions and our decisions."
The team encountered curious humpbacks, dolphins and tiger sharks, some of which out-measured the trimaran kayaks. They also encountered curious surfers, who paddled out to show support for the team when it arrived at Bondi Beach, Australia.
Rastovich co-founded the group Surfers for Cetaceans in 2005 and was one of only 300 invitees to Al Gore's "The Climate Project" Asia Pacific summit in Melbourne this year.
For more information about Transparentsea or to electronically sign the petition urging the Australian government to "keep its election promises to do everything within its power to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and Australian Antarctic territorial waters," or even to see some of Rastovich's relaxed, classic surfing, check out Transparentseavoyage.com.