She stood between a whale and a harpoon. This is Susi’s story. A poem by DH Lawrence started it all.
Whales Weep Not, wrote Lawrence.
Susi read on, and in her reading discovered that there were people butchering whales, harvesting these remarkable creatures that had been around since the beginning of time, for food and profit. Susi considered this act senseless slaughter and vowed to do something about it.
Susi and another woman who felt the same way that she did decided they’d buy a boat and make a statement by sailing to the North Atlantic to get in the way of the harpoonist and the whale by putting their bodies in front of the harpoon.
They found an old rusty trawler and after tiresomely chipping the old paint off by hand, they then disobeyed maritime mythology by painting the ship green, emblazoning a rainbow and a dove across the front. Susi named it the Rainbow Warrior.
The Rainbow Warrior wasn't fast enough to get in the way, but the little rubber zodiacs they’d brought with them were. Weather in the North Atlantic at that particular time of the year wasn't particularly good, so had to navigate huge swells and big waves until they found the whalers, who were in the middle of trying to separate a baby and mother whale so that they could kill the mother whale.
Susi and her colleagues sat in these little rubber boats as the harpoonist ran down the side of the whaling ship. He aimed for the whale and fired the harpoon, which was attached to a long chain. The chain flew through the air and as Susi puts it, went “boof!” and landed in the water right next to their little boat.
So that's how come Susi found herself standing between a harpoon and a whale. There were other scary moments, such as the time when the crew came out with nuts and bolts from the engine room and put them in catapults and were aiming at their eyes and Susi and co, “had to kind of dodge these things”.
Then people saw what Susi and her friends were doing on television, or they read about it in newspapers. They had started a movement and a discussion on whaling and its ethics began, eventually there was a moratorium on whaling. Things have gotten better for the Whales.
Susi says she’s always been an optimist, even in the darkest moments. When she faced the harpoon she believed that they could save the whales. Susi believes in a glass half full, and that even though we live in very difficult and challenging times, she’s hoping we’ll see the light and do the right thing.
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