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I work on a Conservation Vessel as a Deck Hand

Some of you have probably thought about living or working on a boat one day and what a life at sea would look like. So have I, right before I joined the Sea Shepherd conservation vessel ‚Farley Mowat’ for three months in the Gulf of California, Mexico. When I got the phone call asking if I wanted to join the crew and fight on the frontline for the survival of a species, I was thrilled and felt so honoured. I mean - of course I want to do that - take direct action and help the beautiful creatures in our oceans that can’t help themselves to survive.

Photo by Elven Villecourt/ Sea Shepherd


After the euphoria about this life changing opportunity calmed down, I started thinking: you have 10 days to make a decision and arrive in Mexico to join the vessel, you have to rent out your room, you have no idea what life on a vessel like that would be like, will you have friends, you have to pay the flights and in my case I also have a master thesis to write. All these thoughts and doubts (…and a million more) suddenly popped up and I got very worried and indecisive - also about travelling there, even though I have been solo travelling for the past 5 years. But that’s probably just a mechanism to find excuses to avoid a situation which makes one feel insecure or even scared.


Well, in the end it is the cause that overweighs all doubts and questions…so after a few days of asking veterans and my closest friends and family it was pretty clear to me that I had to take this opportunity and help as much as I can to save the most beautiful place on earth and its inhabitants - the ocean.


I have to say at this point that I was very lucky to have a great deal of support and the `vesselveteran’ I mentioned above helped me a lot to be less scared. Also my university was very supportive in letting me go for 3 months instead of working on my thesis, which is about the same organisation and therefore, could be seen as field research. Why I mention all this is to explain that even with a lot of support and a clear purpose in life, it wasn’t easy to take the step and sign up for the first time - but I can tell you: I haven’t regretted it for a single second whilst being here. But I understand that many of you probably want to take direct action and fight for our favourite environment, but the step to commit fully to it seems sometimes bigger than it actually is.


As soon as I had booked the flight a couple of days after the call I felt so relieved and stood 110% behind my decision, sometimes making a change is just one click away - if you consider joining a group of direct action conservationists, I would definitely recommend you to try it.


Right now I’m sitting on the fly bridge of the Farley Mowat, I’m looking at the beautiful sea and every day we are out here, we make a change. We are guarding an area in the Gulf of California which is the home of so many vulnerable marine mammals and fish, of which many are not extinct yet because there are so many awesome people on our boats fighting for them.


You might wonder what exactly Sea Shepherd does here, but don’t worry that’s one of the reasons this article is especially important to me: to explain what we do to save a species and also how it actually is to live onboard a boat like this.