The First Ramming of the Season ...
A fun surf on day 3 on the northern side of Turners beach, in Yamba preceded a visit to the Irwin, which dropped anchor a couple of kilometres out to sea.
Captain Alex Cornelissen phoned Rasta just after 1pm and the boards and camera equipment and kayaks were prepared, ready for the Transparentsea team to head out.
But just minutes into the crossing, a stiff southerly change roared through and conditions changed from -beautiful and sunny' to downright hairy.
Chris Del Moro and Rasta, the only two on the kayaks, actually had it easier.
The crew in our support boat copped swell and wind and chop and you can bet anyone watching from shore or the comfort of the Yamba Pacific pub on the hill, would have enjoyed the curiosity of a bunch of whale crusaders and enviro activists rolling around at sea.
Boarding the Irwin was another experience all together.
Pro Surfer and avid fisherman Brendan 'Margo' Margieson leant us his boat for the trip (thanks mate) and we can now confirm via internet blog that Margo, your boat has a lot of black paint down its side which wasn't there two days ago.
The rough seas rocked and tossed the boat, crashing it into the Irwin, as the Transparentsea crew attempted, one by one, to climb aboard via a rope ladder. And even though the fenders were in position, there was definitely a helluva lot of -metal on metal' crunching and scraping sounds.
With a bit of thought, some fancy editing and sound effects there's a real possibility footage of the boarding would win a prize on Funniest Home Videos.
Fortunately no one was hurt (except for cameraman Dwayne Fetch's finger - slightly mashed) and by the time we'd safely pulled away, Team Transparentsea was able to officially claim the -first ramming of the 2009/10 campaign'.
Ironic really, given the Sea Shepherd's history of Antarctic conflict and that no one on board was Japanese !
Rasta was stoked with the opportunity to unite with the Irwin and the Sea Shepherd crew, even though it was brief, as they motored their way to Sydney.
'It's only a small act, but I know all the surfers I've met around the world during my travels in the last year have all been supportive of what we're doing and particularly of Sea Shepherd's front line activism,' Rastovich.
'So to catch up with them today on their way to the next Southern Ocean campaign and give them even just a little moral support and to let them know our surfing community is behind them is a really important acknowledgment.'
Captain Cornelissen was stoked too and hinted at what lay in store for the Japanese whale -researchers' a month or two from now.
'Our preparation is good. We've been working for about six months, dry docking and getting the ship ready for campaign. We've still got to install a couple surprises for the Japanese, we've got some things planned. Some will be funny, others will be very effective, you'll see ... .'
Del Moro battles the wind and swell following a snap change in weather as he heads out to meet up with the Sea Shepherd crew anchored near Yamba.
Del Moro and Rastovich are dwarfed by the bulk of the Sea Shepherd's 'Steve Irwin' during their rendezvous yesterday.
There was no way the Transparentsea crew were leaving their surfboards behind ... Will Conner.