Upon arriving into Coffs Harbour on Tuesday, July 24, Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel the M/Y Steve Irwin was greeted by a flotilla of boats, kaiaks, paddle boarders and around a dozen humpback whales, breaching, pecking and tail slapping.
Upon reaching the shore, the welcoming party extended to Sea Shepherd Coffs Harbour ground support team led by the wonderful Jenny Hanson, and the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group (CCCAG). Action is the key word that describes these wonderful people in Coffs, Action for the planet, in opposing the Adani coal mine, in defence of the Great Barrier Reef and a liveable climate for our children.
Local Aboriginal Elder Micklo Jarrett conducts a Welcome to Country blessing on board the
M/Y Steve Irwin as it arrives in Coffs Harbour yesterday. Image Credit: Ricardo Marin / Sea Shepherd.
Our Managing Director Jeff Hansen conducts a press conference
at Coffs Harbour. Image Credit: Tara Lambourne / Sea Shepherd
Following the media press conference, Jeff Hansen addressed a group of wonderful high school kids about the impacts facing the words oceans, why our oceans are important, what Sea Shepherd is doing to protect them and what each of us can do to help our primary life support system.
Gumbaynggirr man Micklo Jarrett headed out to the Irwin do conduct a beautiful smoking ceremony, where native plants were burnt to produce smoke to ward off bad spirits, acknowledge ancestors and pay respects to the land and sea of country, as well to heal and cleanse the crew.
The evening event was at the Coffs Harbour Cavanbah Hall and once again Coffs pulled out all stops with a packed venue, music by Luke Wilton and fantastic MC of Jonathan Cassell from CCCAG. Sea Shepherd was treated to an inspiring, powerful and heartfelt welcome to country by Gumbaynggirr Man Micklo Jarrett, which was followed by (with permission from Micklo) a powerful Mauri welcome by Elder Tu'ulenana luli, a New Zealand-born Samoan man.
Mr Luli also went to Standing Rock back in 2016 and with permission from a First Nations Elder, performed the Haka there on the frontline. Mr Luli said: “The Haka is a part of how we express our support. It has been a part of our cultural way for a long time in Aotearoa and other places in the Pacific."
At the close of these powers welcomes, there was not a belly in the house whose fire hadn’t been lit, and connecting everyone to country, to protect our Mother Earth.
The screening of the Stop Adani doco “A Mighty Force”, further lifted the energy of the room, highlighting everyday Australians (regardless of race or religion) standing up for country, standing up for what is right, standing up for our children, taking back our power, in that we are indeed a mighty force. We all have power and together we are unstoppable.
The screening was following by inspiring speeches by Sea Shepherd Adani campaigner Scott Wallace, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen and scientist Malia Rouillon. A Q&A followed which went on for well over an hour with a great exchange of inspiring stories, with respect, passion and a call to action.
A Stop Adani meeting in Coffs Harbour with Sea Shepherd supporters. Credit: Tara Lambourne / Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd was honoured to visit the Coffs Coast, the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef, which even here has experienced bleaching events. We leave with a piece of our hearts left in Coffs, yet we feel inspired and energised for the journey north and take with us the passion and support of the wonderful Coffs Coast community.
View some of our amazing photos taken at Coffs Harbour: Operation Reef Defence - Coffs Harbour.
Take Action to Stop Adani here: I'm for Coral