When we last left our intrepid band of Sea Shepherderers, the whalers had dispatched harpoon ships to tail the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, noting their position so the rest of the whaling fleet could stay one step ahead of them. The harpoon ships could not be evaded, so Commodore Watson conceived a daring plan that would simultaneously a) rid them of the tail ships, b) locate the Nisshin Maru, the mothership of the whaling fleet, and c) make for some great teev.
And like most daring plans in real life, it didn’t work. Part of the plan involved dispatching the small boats to harass the tail ships. One of the Bob Barker’s small boats sustained a crack in its pontoon, forcing the Barker to turn around and retrieve it. Now, the boat crew, not really prepared to just sit in the middle of the Antarctic Ocean for a full day without, like, space heaters and shit, is slowly freezing to death. The Barker has to find them before they die.
Now that we’re caught up, let’s look at this week…
The Bob Barker finally reaches the small boats’ last-known location but none are to be found. We know nothing will ultimately happen, though, and sure enough they find the boats a couple minutes later. They haul their freezing comrades back onboard and treat crew member Mikey May and another guy, Sam, for hypothermia.
That’s ten minutes of show. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping this recap “mini”.
While the Barker crew regroups, the Irwin gets a hit from their tracking beacon on the Yushin Maru #2’s stern. They now know where the Yushin #2 is and it’s possible the Nisshin Maru is nearby. They have a decision to make. The Irwin is still being tailed, now by two harpoon ships, so it can’t approach the Yushin Maru #2’s destination without alerting the Nisshin Maru. Sending the Barker would just give away the Barker’s position again. The only ship fast enough to do the job is the Gojira. So it heads for the tracking device location.
And then, sure enough, the tracking device starts to malfunction. It goes too long without sending its coordinates to the Irwin, meaning it either fell off or was pried off. (My guess is the latter). They might have just missed their window to find the Nisshin.
The Gojira is left to comb the ocean without any guidelines, and the Irwin is still being kept under observation. And to add insult to injury, the third harpoon ship in the whaling fleet, the Yushin Maru #1, appears out of nowhere and tracks the Barker.
So basically we’re exactly where we were four episodes ago.
But finally the Sea Shepherd’s have some luck. During its wanderings, the Gojira happens to run into a mysterious tanker vessel. A closer look reveals the name Sun Laurel. The Laurel’s registered to Panama, but when Locky hails them on the radio, its captain is clearly a Japanese guy who can’t lie to save his life. When Locky asks him flat-out if they’re the refuel ship for the whaling fleet, the captain stammers and hangs up.
Mediocrity truly is universal.
How about that! They found some whalers! Paul Watson decides to temporarily abandon the search for the Nisshin Maru and have all three ships converge on the Sun Laurel’s position. The idea is, if the Laurel can’t refuel anybody, the whaling ships will have to return home or risk running out of gas.
The Sea Shepherd fleet reunites at the Sun Laurel. Now six ships are in the area—the three Sea Shepherds’, the Laurel, and two harpoon ships tailing the Steve Irwin. Paul Watson feels it’s safe enough to send the Gojira away to look for the Nisshin Maru. But as it speeds away, its engine problems from last episode get worse. The Gojira is now down to half an engine of horsepower and couldn’t outrun a harpoon ship. Reluctantly, Watson sends the Gojira back to port for repairs.
With only two ships at his disposal, Paul Watson continues to tail the Sun Laurel, when inexplicably, one of the harpoon ships departs the area, leaving just one potential tail ship for the Sea Shepherds. It’s a chance for one of the ships to get free of the Japanese radar and look for the Nisshin! The Irwin guns it, and they get out of range!
And so, it looks like the Sea Shepherds can kinda sorta hope to get something done for once. And wouldn’t you know it, the phone rings. The New Zealand navy needs some help rescuing some guys trapped on some ice. Goddamn New Zealanders.