We have been at sea for 5 days now. The windswept and undulating dunes of Walvis Bay, Namibia, have long since disappeared from the horizon. The sea is choppy and rough, not in a ferocious and engulfing way, but in a jerky and irritated way. As we pull further and further away from the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, we become a lone ship, with no other vessels around, because where we are headed, not many people go.
I am on board Sea Shepherd Globals new ship, an ex-Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish longliner that is returning to the very place it once plundered. It is often said that ships are the only mechanical objects with souls, and already the ship feels like it is ready to repent for its sins.
For me, this voyage will be my first return to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean since 2014.
Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is a truly amazing place. Its remoteness, and harshness, harbours an ecosystem bulging with life.
It was a shock to me, when I first travelled to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in 2011, to discover that once you battle the winds and waves, and the thousands of nautical miles that separate the frozen continent from the rest of the world, that there is a serene and tranquil majesty that is home to some of the greatest concentrations of life on Earth.