Topics:  animals, hypothermia, paddle out 4 whales, sea shepherd

From chasing whalers to tourists

Michael May will return next week from his second time serving as a crew member of the Bob Barker for controversial anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.
Michael May will return next week from his second time serving as a crew member of the Bob Barker for controversial anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

A SEVERE case of hypothermia, seasickness and raging weather are just some of the experiences Hervey Bay's Michael May walked away with from his second year on Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling ship Bob Barker.

Mr May spends most of his year educating tourists as a guide on whale-watching boat Tasman Venture.

Over the past two years, he has also spent his summers helping the controversial group to stop Japanese whaling ships in the Antarctic.

Mr May will return to Hervey Bay next week after spending 92 days serving as quartermaster on Bob Barker.

His role included forming a decoy against whale security ships attached to the bigger whaling factory ships.

Mr May faced the wrong end of one of the high-powered water cannons mounted on many of the security ships, which saw him and three crew members limp back to the Bob Barker with varying degrees of hypothermia.

He will talk about this and other incidents as a guest speaker at the Paddle Out 4 Whales festival later this month.

The event will be held on the Scarness Esplanade and each year honours the number of whales killed by Japanese whaling ships.

Mr May said talking about his time on the Bob Barker with the annual flood of tourists on the Tasman Venture was just as important as his time on the Bob Barker.

"It really hits home when I start talking about it," he said.

"By bringing tourists to the whales in their natural environment, you have an opportunity to bring whales into their hearts and minds," he said.

Visit paddleout4whales.blogspot.com for more information on the festival.

It will be held on June 23.



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