Late last night, the word went out that we had found the fleet. On board the Espy, the Bridge bristled with binoculars as the crew sought to catch a glimpse through the fog and snow. And judging from the webstats, an awful lot of us Virtual Crewmembers and Cyber Salty Dogs went barrelling toward our own version of the bridge -- the live Esperanza Webcam, where a tiny smudge on the horizon said that once again, against all odds, we had found the Japanese whaling fleet in the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean.


For me, sitting warm and dry in my home in Amsterdam, I was able to experience some of the vicarious excitement of the hunt. I loaded up the webcam page. There. Up on the horizon off the starboard bow. There was our quarry, the Nisshin Maru.

Konichiwa, boys.

This morning it's still on screen.

This will be the first year in which Greenpeace goes into conflict with the whalers with live webcams. At the moment, onboard webby Irene Berg has got us kitted out with a mast cam for that way-up view, a bridge cam which can show us the crew on watch or the view ahead, and a wing cam, currently pointing astern to give a glimpse of the catcher vessel Yushin Maru Number 1 behind us. Our onboard technician, Gionny, has been busily testing an even more exciting little gizmo that may give us live streaming video from the zodiacs this year.

But for now, have a look at those webcams. You, after all, as my fellow Grateful Dead fans will attest, are the eyes of the world. And we want the eyes of the world on what happens down there in the Southern Ocean. Not only does the sham of Japanese research whaling deserve scrutiny. But the actions of our adversaries do as well. In the past, the Japanese fleet has rammed us, come along side and shoved us, and then squawked to the press that they had been rammed by Greenpeace. Never. We are out there to defend the whales, not attack the whalers: non-violence is a sacred value, and we take safety at sea, especially in the frigid Arctic waters, very seriously indeed. Our webcams show we have nothing to hide, and we'll let the witnesses of this conflict decide who is right and who is wrong, and whose side they're on.

So join us in bearing witness. Keep an eye on those whalers. Get up-to-the-minute updates from Irene's Great Whale Trail expedition blog. And when you've seen enough, take action: demand Japan stop the build of a new factory ship and lets wipe this nightmare from the world's vision forever.