What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life

Exposing the Big Game

It was 1975, Greenpeace’s first campaign, and the bodies of six Soviet-slaughtered whales were lying lifeless in the swell. I thought to myself, is humanity really this insane?
Greenpeace first anti whaling campaign : Phyllis Cormack ship and Paul Watson on Killed Whale
 Paul Watson on top of a slaughtered whale calf in the foreground, with the Greenpeace ship Phyllis Cormack behind, on 26 June 1975. Photograph: Rex Weyler/Greenpeace

The greatest gift that I have ever received is also my great and enduring curse.

It was June 1975 and I was a crew member on the first Greenpeace campaign to protect the whales. It was off the coast of northern California, 60 miles offshore. Before us, spread across the waters like some invading foreign armada, was the Soviet whaling fleet.

The ships were grey, black, and freckled with rust. From out of the side of the largest vessel…

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