I’ve just walked around the Steve Irwin, interviewing a couple of the ship’s crew for the environmental radio show I host Understorey. I left the humdrum hustle of Freo streets behind, walked across the train tracks, and as I approached the docks of Fremantle wharf, the black form of the Steve Irwin loomed from between buildings, solid and with the air of some very serious intentions.
I’ve grown up in the port city of Fremantle but almost never have I been onboard one of the many ships that dock in our harbour. Today the cargo ships we mostly have visit us are vast commercial enterprises, anonymous and entirely sealed away from the residents of this port. Wandering around to the ship today and talking with some of the crew it was refreshing to have a brush with the cosmopolitan, en-route atmosphere of travel and adventure you’d expect life lived a busy port to more often be like. Here I and photographer Danny Cummings are chatting with some people in the galley.
Most of all it was heartening to be around people who have acted on their beliefs, and are standing up to protect mother earth, or mother ocean to be precise. The crew are preparing the ship to travel to the ocean around Antarctica in a few weeks where they will intercept the Japanese whaling fleet and prevent them from illegally killing whales in an international whale sanctuary. They’ve been doing this every year for the past seven years.
You can hear some of crew talking about life onboard the Steve Irwin on the upcoming episode of Understorey, 3 November, 11.30am, RTR 92.1FM. You can also visit the Steve Irwin yourself and go on a guided tour of the ship this coming weekend from 10am-5pm. Many thanks to Catherine Mansart for showing us around today.