One of Natalie Fox’s most cherished memories is of kayaking just off the coast of America accompanied by inquisitive blue whales. They came to “hang out with us for two hours”, said Fox, a 30-year-old environmental activist, originally from Cornwall. “The more time you spend with them in the ocean, the more you realise how special they are.”
Now Fox, a co-founder of the campaigning group Women for Whales, is to be a key player in the Sea Shepherd conservation society’s Operation Zero Tolerance. In its biggest venture to date, the society will soon be sending four ships to take on the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean with the aim of preventing the death of even a single whale.
Almost three months ago, Fox, a surfing and yoga instructor, was summoned to Hobart, Australia. She was responding to an email that read: “There’s a spot for you, but you’ve got to come, now! To Australia. Right away. And you’re undercover, so you can’t tell anyone.”
Fox is aware that the operation will be a challenging one, especially since she is prone to seasickness. The icy conditions of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary – ideal for minke and fin whales but inhospitable for humans – will be a test, although the chance to see icebergs at close quarters, she said, will be priceless. However, she will be spending most of her time cooking, in the galley of the Sam Simon, Sea Shepherd’s newest vessel.
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