I’m rooting for the Japanese in “Whale Wars”
There’s a show on Animal Planet called “Whale Wars” and it’s absolutely fantastic. A team of people set out to save whales in the arctic from Japanese whalers via sabotage. The conservationists-gone-rouge call themselves the “Sea Shepherds” and are covered head to toe in snazzy black uniforms featuring their wicked-cool white skull insignia. They even have balaclava masks.
Everyone knows that people who wear balaclava masks are badass. With the exception of skiers of course. They also have helicopters, multi-million dollar cruise ships, a whole lot of fancy-pants equipment like “propeller foulers” and the sort of inflatable boats that special forces use to board ships.
There’s only one problem really: the team of saboteurs is completely incompetent.
And I’m not talking about your average run-of-the-mill incompetent. I’m talking James-Bond-villain-cronie incompetent. Like Helen Keller in a corn maze incompetent. So incompetent that, while watching a series of episodes yesterday, I found myself rooting for the Japanese. And it’s not because I’m a Hiroshima sympathizer or anything like that. I also don’t have anything against whales. Really, I cry just as much as the next guy by the time the credits start rolling in Free Willy.
But I find it funny how the Japanese jump-suit-clad blue-collars are able to nonchalantly unfoil every plot laid against them. And they do it all without so much as wearing a single balaclava mask. It’s definitely one of those roadrunner vs. coyote dynamics.
The Japanese have this crazy idea that they can somehow fool the world into thinking they are doing “research” with their fleet of harpoon ships and their 20-story whale meat processing mothership which has the giant word “RESEARCH” painted on the side:
The Japs even go so far as to hold up signs while they chop up the whales, just to make sure that no one gets any wrong ideas about what they’re doing:
I thought it would have been a lot more clever if they just held up signs that said “HA!HA! We got you at Pearl Harbor!”
But the real issue here is the incompetence of the Sea Shepherds. In one of the episodes, the Sea Shepards fire apples at the Japanese harpoon ships. No, not the mortar rounds used by American soldiers in World War 1, as famously alluded to in the popular expression “how do you like em’ apples?” We’re talking real, actual apples. You know, like the ones that grow off trees?
There logic was that, by daubing the apples in butyric acid and firing them onto the decks of the whaler ships, they could tarnish the whale meat on board… Much to the chagrin of the Sea Shepards, the Japanese were able to thwart this plan by catching the apples mid-air using things called “nets.” Those clever Japs.
But as if that wasn’t enough, the Sea Shepards tried to harass the mothership by staying on its tail. Their logic was that if they stayed just behind the loading dock in the stern, they could prevent any of the smaller harpoon ships from transporting whale meat to the mothership for processing.
The plan might have worked if the gigantic Japanese mothership, the slowest ship in the entire whaler fleet, wasn’t significantly faster than the “Bob Barker,” which was the flagship of the Sea Shepard fleet.
When the Bob Barker started to lose distance on the mothership, the Sea Shepards tried to disable it by getting in front of the ship with their world-class wave-piercing trimaran, the “Ady Gil,” and throwing a thick line they called a “propeller fouler” in the water. During the first attempt, the line completely missed the mothership’s propeller and the Bob Barker, which was trailing behind, had to take evasive action to avoid getting snagged in their own propeller fowler. After throwing in the line a second time, the mothership abruptly stopped. This caused the eco-hippies to light up with joy.
Their joy was short-lived however.
One of the Japanese harpoon ships responded by ramming the Ady Gil with what I believe the Japanese call a “ship fowler” or the pointed bow of a harpoon ship.
After the ram, did the Bob Barker crew bother to salvage the 2.5 million dollar powerboat built to circumnavigate the world in record timing? Of course not. Money is not a concern for eco-hippies. Eco-hippies get all their money from private donations.
The Sea Shepards aboard the Bob Barker instead decided to let the boat sink and continue chasing after the much faster and much bigger Japanese mothership. And no, they didn’t forget to rescue the crew that was aboard the Ady Gil.
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In a previous episode, the Ady Gil was supposed to stay on the tail of the mothership because the Bob Barker was too slow. When it ran out of fuel, the crew aboard the Bob Barker, which was trailing far behind the Japanese mothership, then decided to send out a small inflatable craft to take the place of the Ady Gil while it refueled.
The 10-meter long inflatable was supposed to “harass” the mothership by staying close to it. Judging from the monumental size of the mothership (top pic) and the modest size of the inflatable craft (bottom pic), I just figured that one was a lapse in judgment:
After a few hours of unsuccessfully catching up to the mothership, the inflatable craft was forced to turn back. Who new a 200 horsepower speedboat engine on the open ocean could not keep up with whatever ungodly sized engine the Japanese mothership had?
I later found that the same thing had been attempted in a previous season of Whale Wars. Except, in that attempt, the pulley on the Bob Barker that lowered the skiff into the water didn’t release, resulting in the following scene:
Then this happened:
And ultimately this:
Click here to watch the funtastic clip. It is sure to make your day.
Given what I have outlined above, if I were given a choice to join either Team Sea Shepards or Team Japanese Whalers, I would probably go with Team Japanese Whalers. Not only are they simple, working-class people just trying to make ends meet, they also get to shoot these sick giant waterguns at the Sea Shepards:
As for the cause of saving whales – It’s very romantic and all but I doubt there is much fuss over industries that make profits off killing sharks or clams. Whales just capture our imagination, so organizations spend millions of dollars protecting them from humans. They may not accomplish much but their attempts sure make for good television.
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Other funny videos:
Watch the Ady Gill get rammed, which was actually the Ady Gil’s fault from the perspective of the Japanese cameras. An infinitely lighter and faster trimaran gets rammed by a giant whaling ship? And the people on-board the trimaran are sitting on top of the boat with their suitcases packed when it happens? Who are the Sea Shepards trying to fool?
Watch the Sea Shepards attempt to “taunt” a giant whaler ship with an inflatable craft. This clip is probably the funniest of all. The inflatable craft gets super close to the giant whaler ship and the only response from the Whaler ship was a small Japanese man coming out and waving “in a friendly manner,” according to the inflatable craft’s radio call-in with the Sea Shepard flagship. The commanding Sea Shepards aboard the flagship then do a collective facepalm and regretfully radio back “alright … come back then.”
Watch this asian kid taze himself. Because it’s funny.