Monday, March 17, 2014

Brigitte Bardot comes to Utila

Posted by Scot

Brigitte Bardot.  Sort of.
Yes, that Brigitte Bardot.  Sort of.

The day we pulled into the harbour on the Bay Island of Utila, we couldn’t help but notice the large motor trimaran painted in pseudo-military shades of blue, white, and gray.  On the side were the words “Sea Shepherd”, and on the bow, the name Brigitte Bardot.

We could have gotten a lot farther this year if Sara had let me buy one of these.
“You don’t think that’s the Sea Shepherd organization, as in Paul Watson Sea Shepherd, do you?” I asked Sara.  Sure enough, after a little Googling, we found out that this was indeed one of the ships belonging to the Sea Shepherd conservation organization.  If I remember correctly, I believe they are a kind of splinter group from Green Peace.

I don’t know that actual history, but I seem to recall something about them having  more aggressive tactics than Green Peace, and so they formed their own group.  Don’t quote me on that, though.

The kids told me that the Sea Shepherd crew dragged this rope to get caught in the propellers of Japanase whaling ships.  It took them about two days to get free.  Lots of time for the whales to get away.
The Brigitte Bardot is named after the famous actress, who was quite an environmentalist in her own right.  She apparently donated the money to Sea Shepherd to purchase the boat.

Signed photos of B. Bardot on her namesake.
Anyway, on our second day in Utila, the Brigitte Bardot left the mooring it was on, and pulled on to the dock.  Later in the day, Sara and the kids went into town to get off the rolling boat for awhile.  As they walked along the dock in front of the the Brigitte Bardot, one of the crew came out and asked if anyone else wanted a tour, as they were about to give the last one for the day.

Let's go out and mix it up with some whalers!
I'll drive.  You guys just sit back and hang on.
They jumped at the chance, and learned some interesting things about the boat while they were on it.

OK, I'm hanging on.  Let's go!
At one point, before it belonged to Sea Shepherd, it held the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world (back in 1998).  It has been eclipsed since.

Sara touring the galley of the B. Bardot.
Prior to being called the Brigitte Bardot, the boat was painted all in black, and named “Gojira”, the Japanese form of “Godzilla”.  That was apparently meant to strike terror into the hearts of Japanase poachers.  Unfortunately, they had to change the name when they were hit with a copywright infringement notice.  So then, she became the Brigitte Bardot.

Aaaaaaah, Gojira!
Now, the ship spends its days doing the work of ocean environmentalists.  It has just finished an anti-poaching campaign off the Western coast of Guatemala, where it was hired by the Guatemalan government to help stop illegal fishing on their offshore banks.  It has since come through the Panama canal, and is on it’s way to Florida to participate in the grand opening of a “Sea Shepherd Central American” branch.

Jet ski on the back of the B. Bardot.
Interestingly, when they crank her full open, she can go up to 25 knots.  At 22 knots cruising speed, it uses 150 litres of fuel per hour (so much for environmentalism).  At that speed, it has 1,000 nautical miles range.  If they knock it back to 10-12 knots, it can go up to 4,000 nautical miles without refueling.

Apparently the ship rolls a lot in big seas, and the lee cloths don't do much to keep the crew in their bunks.
Another view of the galley.  The ship can take up to 14 crew members.
Sara told me the captain is  a woman.  You can see her at the bow in the picture below.  Fitting for the Brigitte Bardot.

Walking the plank off the Brigitte Bardot.

1 comment:

  1. So cool you got to tour one of the Sea Shepherd boats!