• NOTES FROM THE BOATS OF TRANSPARENTSEA II

TWO UNMARKED HELICOPTERS WHIR WITH MENACE 80 FEET ABOVE OUR FIVE LITTLE KAYAKS FIVE MILES OUT TO SEA. LIGHT WINDS LULL OUR CLUSTER OF CRAFTS SLOWLY SOUTH, PASSING ONE OF MANY MILITARY CONTROLLED AREAS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

TWENTY MINUTES PASS BEFORE A NAVY VESSEL APPROACHES US, RELIEVING THE FLYING SENTINELS. A MEGAPHONE MOUTH FROM THE NAVY BOAT COMMANDS US, 'DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER! PULL IN YOUR SAILS AND STOP RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE FIVE MINUTES AWAY FROM ENTERING A LIVE MISSILE TEST!'' TURNS OUT THE US GOVERNMENT LIKES TO BLOW UP THE CHANNEL ISLANDS IN THE NAME OF HONING THEIR 'KILL ACCURACY'.
LUCKY FOR US THEIR RADAR SYSTEM DETECTED OUR 18-FOOT KAYAKS. THEN AN EMOTIONLESS PRE-RECORDED MESSAGE OMITS -'THE UNITED STATES MILITARY APPRECIATES YOUR CO-OPERATION, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE''. THE NAVY BOAT SPEEDS AWAY.

NO SOONER HAVE THEY VANISHED ARE WE SURROUNDED BY A COMMON SIGHT IN THESE PARTS: A DOLPHIN 'SUPER POD'. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF COMMON DOLPHINS BEGIN TO BOW RIDE OUR LITTLE WAKES AND SQUEAK SO LOUDLY WE CAN HEAR THEM ABOVE WATER. THE DOLPHINS STAY WITH US FOR A LONG TIME, SETTING UP A PATTERN OF CONTRASTS THAT WILL CONTINUE FOR THE 23 DAYS WE TRAVERSE THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIAN COASTLINE.

Transparentsea voyage II

Transparentsea is our group's way of directly experiencing environmental problems occurring on coastlines where surfers are present. As we learn first hand about coastal issues we share that with others. We also aim to highlight the great groups of people who are working to defend ecosystems and animals in that region.

Our first T-SEA campaign was down the east coast of Oz. We focussed on the issues of marine debris and commercial whaling in Antarctica. This time around we decided to sail the West Coast of America.

Our campaign in the US had to be wider in scope given that the collective impact of modern humanity in California is responsible for ocean issues there. The equivalent of the entire population of Australia lives in California alone. What most of us hear from this region is celebrity gossip, crime stories and Hollywood drama. All human related stories. Amongst all this human triviality is an ecosystem and animal population that was once vibrant, diverse and flourishing and is now hanging on by a thread in a myriad of ways. Even for those who don't care about what is happening there, we all have an opportunity to leap forward in time and see where all our western coastal communities and ecosystems are headed if rapid change doesn't occur.

With that in mind our group committed to sliding down 270 miles (434km) of coastline in 23 days. Joining engaged local groups' efforts, surfing, holding fundraising events, writing music that relates to our experiences, painting murals and documenting our cultural learnings of the US and A.

Transparentsea voyage II

" IF THERE IS TO BE ANY MOMENTS OF APPRECIATION, AUTHENTICITY AND AWE TO BE HAD WITH OTHER ANIMALS ON EARTH IT IS TO BE HAD IN THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT ON THEIR TERMS."

Story by David Rastovich |Photos by Hilton Dawe
Full story and photos on Surfing world Magazine Issue 322 | Buy it online

Surfing Workd Issue 322

Go to transparentseavoyage.com to check all the videos and images from the Transparentsea Voyage California