Sadly, this is my last post on the ship tour. I’m back in San Francisco. The tour wrapped up in the Cook Islands on October 21st. We ended the tour by hosting an “open boat,” where a couple hundred locals and tourists got the chance to tour the Esperanza, and by holding a press conference to inform local journalists about what we accomplished out on the high seas.
We also met with some folks from the Ministery of Marine Resources in the Cook Islands. It was a pretty exciting meeting for all of us, because just the week before we had busted the Koyu Maru 3, a Japanese ship we caught fishing in Cook Islands’ waters illegally, as you might recall. The Cook Islands has started a formal investigation of the vessel with their counterparts at the Fisheries Agency of Japan, and this is sure to knock Japan down a peg at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting this December, as they’ve enjoyed a squeaky-clean record until now.
The tour was a really amazing experience for me and I thought I’d share a few last videos.
We saw an abundance of amazing marine life, including dolphins, whales, flying fish, seabirds, and more. Here’s a video of a baby whale shark we encountered one day:
Our helicopter, Tweety, is an invaluable tool that we use to scout out the open water, document pirate/unlicensed fishing, etc. I went on one early morning heli flight to search for another two Japanese longliners, which we suspected might be fishing in the Cook Islands’ waters with their sister ship the Koyu Maru 3. We didn’t find them, but I put this video together anyway because I think it’s interesting how a heli flight gives you a whole new perspective on just how small the Espy really is in relation to the deep blue sea:
Lastly, I shot this video tour of the ship, which is pretty self-explanatory: