Guest article published at Our Hen House
Let me start off by saying that today’s guest writer, Eliza Muirhead, is about to become a hero to you. I thought Eliza was pretty swell back in 2010 when OHH reported on some student filmmakers (including Eliza) who focused their studies on animal rights. Then, in 2012, I told you about the incredible program Fair Projects, which she started – a comprehensive resource for nonprofits aiming to provide “professional quality services and products in media, marketing, fundraising and communications at a fair rate.” In 2013, I had the chance to meet this changemaker, who was already pretty high up in my book, when she visited New York City along with her good friend, Hillary Watson – who I somehow convinced to write a guest column for OHH about veganizing an entire galley, when she was the cook on a ship involved in a campaign to collect sperm whale skin biopsies in order to determine whether the whales were accumulating toxins associated with the 2010 BP oil spill. Eliza, Hillary, Mariann, and I sat at the vegetarian café ‘sNice, in Soho, and chatted about the lifesaving work of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, as well as our other various projects. But mostly, Mariann and I listened intently, sipping our soy lattes slowly – trying to buy more time with these stupendous women. We sat in awe as Eliza and Hillary (Captain Paul Watson’s niece) told us tales of their travels on board Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin, as well as on the Odyssey, which was part of a collaborative campaign between Sea Shepherd and the marine research organization Ocean Alliance (the ship that Hillary successfully veganized).
It was one of those experiences that can leave you feeling both invigorated and deflated – how can what I do possibly hold a candle to these true animal heroes who are putting themselves on the frontlines, risking their lives in order to save animals? But that defeatist attitude quickly dissipated when I took a step back, let the caffeine from my latte settle in, and reminded myself that changing the world takes all types, all roads, and all kinds. As with Hillary, Eliza is indeed one of a kind, and I’m absolutely gobsmacked that she agreed to share a little of her story with us today – as she currently is on board the Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin.
“YOU’RE LUCKY TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO”: MY JOURNEYS ON AND OFF THE SEA SHEPHERD’S STEVE IRWIN"
by Eliza Muirhead
Today marks our seventh day at sea and I am currently sitting in the mess of the Steve Irwin distracted by the portholes diving into the electric-blue water. I find it hard to believe that only a week ago I was sitting on a hot crowded Melbourne tram,
It was a strange day – our last morning on land and Melbourne’s first real summery day. I took the opportunity to duck into the city, enjoy my last city coffee, and pick up a few bits and pieces for my Secret Santa gift – rolls of thread that would later turn into evenings spent chasing them as they rolled around my cabin floor. It’s been special this year to leave so close to Christmas. Unlike last year, when we left at the beginning of November, we’ve been able to watch the Christmas decorations go up around town, see the jacarandas bloom, and have time to work on our Secret Santa presents (a job taken very seriously on the Steve Irwin – only handmade gifts permitted).
I survived the city full of mad shoppers, picked up my remaining bits of equipment – a second camera body for the small boats, a few more thermals – and aimed to be back on the boat by 2:30 p.m., in time for Customs to check our passports and clear us out of the country...
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