Human Interaction

Whale Wars Andrea Gordon Interview

posted: 05/15/12

Please note that the views expressed are those of the interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the views of Animal Planet or Discovery Communications, Inc.

ANIMAL PLANET: How did your expectations of being part of "Whale Wars" mesh with the reality of being on the crew?

ANDREA GORDON: My one expectation for joining the Sea Shepherds was that I would be able to save marine animals, and this Antarctic Defense Campaign definitely lived up to that expectation. I couldn't be happier about that.

ANIMAL PLANET: Please describe a typical day for you aboard the Bob Barker.

ANDREA GORDON: With all the action this year, there weren't many "typical" days. As part of the deck team, we generally start the day with breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by a meeting at 8:30 for an update on campaign developments. Matt Kimura, the bosun, assigns jobs for the day, The deck team handles a wide variety of jobs including chores, small boat operation and maintenance, and securing everything on the ship. Dinner is at 6 p.m., and after dinner, if all the work has been completed, I would exercise on a stationary bike, then read or hang out with the crew before bed. Out at sea, we don't take days off and often work overtime.

ANIMAL PLANET: What was the biggest challenge about being out at sea for so long? And what was the most fun part of this adventure?

ANDREA GORDON: The hardest thing about being at sea for three months was missing my family, friends and boyfriend. Luckily everyone at home was very supportive and encouraging. I also missed being able to put down a cup of coffee without it sloshing all over the table.

The best part of the campaign was definitely seeing all the whales we were saving. I remember seeing whales swim leisurely, and safely, by the Nisshin Maru (Japanese whaling ship). That was a very special reward to a challenging campaign.

ANIMAL PLANET: How was your appetite affected while at sea?[

ANDREA GORDON: On the Bob Barker, we had a great galley team cooking amazing vegan food. We had everything from vegan sushi to mac 'n cheese. I really enjoyed the food out at sea.

ANIMAL PLANET: Please talk a little about some of the things we don't see on the show due to time constraints and editing.

ANDREA GORDON: On the show, viewers do not see all the maintenance and work that goes into making a ship functional. When Sea Shepherd first got the Bob Barker, the ship needed a lot of work. At that time we had only 13 volunteers to take the ship around Africa to Mauritius to begin campaign preparations. Not easy!

Once underway, there is still a huge amount to be done. With up to 38 people on board, and the crew working 24 hours a day, the dishes were never-ending! And doing dishes during a water shortage was certainly an added challenge.

On the show, people at home may not see how close our crew became. We had excellent camaraderie, and a very rare level of trust with each other. We depended on each other in life and death situations.

ANIMAL PLANET: What was it like for you to have cameras around all the time?

ANDREA GORDON: There is definitely an adjustment period to having the cameras around, especially first thing in the morning! We had an excellent camera crew, and I think feeling comfortable around them helped me to get used to the cameras.

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