Human Interaction

Whale Wars Shannon Mann 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 you first hear about Sea Shepherd?

SHANNON MANN: I first heard about Sea Shepherd at a conference Paul (Watson) was speaking at. He gave the keynote address at the Animal Rights conference in 2005 and I pretty much immediately after that knew that I wanted to join Sea Shepherd. And so as soon as I got home I emailed the office and I said, "What do I need to do to become a crew member? Do I need to take courses?" Etc., etc. I didn't hear too much back, but then Paul, only a couple of months later, came through Canada on a speaking tour. And my friend and I, who had been doing a bunch of animal welfare and animals rights work in Calgary, hosted his event in Calgary. And so then I had the opportunity to meet him on a little more personal level and we kind of hosted him for the day. And so again I said, "I really want to come on the campaign." And then the following year I joined up.

ANIMAL PLANET: What do you think of Paul Watson?

SHANNON MANN: Over the past two years being with Sea Shepherd, I've had the opportunity to travel with Paul and spend a lot of time with him, whether it's on the ship playing poker or going out for dinners, that kind of thing. And the more I get to know Paul, the more I really appreciate him and have so much respect and admiration for him. Last year I traveled with Paul on a few speaking tours through Canada and in the U.S. as well, and he's just... He works harder than anyone I've ever met. I could have never imagined someone working harder than Paul. He was up 'til all hours of the night and then, if we had to share the same room, I would wake and he would be back on the computer again. I would fall asleep to him putting out press releases and I would wake up to the same thing. I don't know where he gets his energy from but he doesn't stop.

I always personally get offended when people criticize Paul because they have no idea how hard he works. I mean, on the campaign he is in his cabin a lot, but he's writing, he's putting out books. And he has the responsibility of doing all the fundraising and getting everyone down to the Antarctic. So people don't sometimes see that or appreciate that so much. And just recently there are some people criticizing him, or they say, "Oh Paul was in holiday in the Caribbean or he was..."

ANIMAL PLANET: So the criticism is that he's not really visible?

SHANNON MANN: During the Antarctic campaign Paul does spend a lot of his time in his cabin, but when he's in there you know that he's working. And he's thinking about what our next move is, what the strategy's gonna be. And then when an event takes place, he's doing press releases and talking to the media. So as captain a lot of times he's not so visible. He spends time in his cabin, but he's always working. That you can be assured of.

ANIMAL PLANET: Do you think some people have a hard time getting to know him?

SHANNON MANN: It's hard to imagine Paul being a shy man, but... I think he's so brilliant. We call him the walking Wikipedia. Because he is in that category, he has a hard time where people don't find it so easy to relate to him. Because he's just... It's hard to get to know him on a personal level. He's got a photographic memory. He's insanely brilliant so it sometimes is hard for people to get to know him and relate personally.

ANIMAL PLANET: What do you know about Paul's early days?

SHANNON MANN: Well, I've heard him speak a few times about his early days on Greenpeace and seeing the whale basically recognize what they were trying to do — that they were trying to save (its life) — and manipulate its body so it didn't harm Paul and the rest of the crew in the boat. I know Paul at a very early age always had an appreciation and an understanding for nature, and that even when he was a young boy he was out rescuing beavers from traps and trying to stop the other kids on the block from shooting birds with BB guns.

ANIMAL PLANET: Was it hard to leave home and become a Sea Shepherd?

SHANNON MANN: Yeah. Personally for me it's been a bit of a difficult balance between my home life and my family and, you know, personal relationships that I've left behind — especially because you don't know how long you're gonna be gone for. And the first time that I left for a campaign, I was leaving everything behind. And I actually went and packed up everything I owned, labeled everything so if I didn't come back it wasn't gonna be much for my family to go through when they got there. I knew that I was going out and there was going to be some risk involved, so I wanted to make sure everything at home was taken care of.

ANIMAL PLANET: Were you worried about being at sea?

SHANNON MANN: Well, any time you spend time at sea there's a risk involved, especially when you're that far from land. It would be really difficult to get help to the ship, and the water is frigid, so if you go overboard or if you have an accident, you know that it could be the ultimate sacrifice.

ANIMAL PLANET: What about your family? Were they worried?

SHANNON MANN: My mom lost a lot of sleep the first I went out with Sea Shepherd. She was really worried, really frantic, and she actually still doesn't know that I got injured on the campaign. I don't have the guts to tell her. I just told my sister when I was home visiting.

My dad is ill. He has early onset Alzheimer's from a head injury he sustained early in his life. So it's been a really difficult decision (for me). I need to save the whales, but how many more months am I going to have to spend with my dad that he knows me? So it's, yeah, it's been tough.

I have spent a lot of time with him in my life, and both him and my grandma have been an inspiration to me. They've always followed their dreams and followed their hearts and done what they thought was a good thing and a good thing for the earth. So I think he would want me to go.

ANIMAL PLANET: Are you immune to seasickness?

SHANNON MANN: No. Actually the first time that I got on the ship I was absolutely, positively certain that I would not be one of the people that would be seasick. I saw people starting to go down and I was kind of, "Well, that's too bad. It sucks to be you," you know. Then maybe an hour later I started feeling, like, not so great. And then I went out on deck and I sat on the side of the ship for probably the next six hours thinking I don't want to get up, I can't move. Since then I'm pretty certain every time I get on the ship now, for the first few days I'm sick. And I try everything. Like people always say, "Oh, you're seasick. Did you try this? Did you try that?" I've tried the wristbands. I've tried ginger to the point where the smell of ginger would make me sick.

I initially thought there's no way I would be seasick, but I felt it time and time again. I still feel like everything — all the uncomfortableness and all the throwing up and all, everything that I endure — is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what the whales go through. You get there and you're sick, and then you see a whale breech and it's just the most magnificent, amazing thing you've ever seen, and it just washes away. And you think, "Yeah, I'll do it again. I'll do it again next year."

ANIMAL PLANET: Was the vegan diet an adjustment for you?

SHANNON MANN: I've been vegetarian for 16 years so that was nothing new to me. And then about a year before I went on the campaign, I was vegan. So during the campaign, I gained a lot of weight. I wasn't exactly a great cook, so having vegan food and not having to worry about what was in it — served three times a day — I just ate and ate and ate and ate. If I wouldn't have been seasick, I would have been like 200 pounds by the time we got back! And you can't exercise. That was an adjustment for me as well, having no exercise and just walking around the ship and sitting and eating.

ANIMAL PLANET: What was it like when the Delta flipped over?

SHANNON MANN: Well, you see the Delta upside down. You see some people popping up from either side, but you know it's not everybody. And there's equipment in the water and there are life rings and people are throwing things, because that's what we're trained to do when something happens, If someone goes overboard, you just grab anything from the deck that will float and you throw it. So you can just see a scattering of life rings and a bunch of junk, you know. Anything that was on deck is in the water between us and them.

The water is insanely frigid. Without proper equipment on, you won't last long in that water, maybe a few minutes. So you're concerned. I mean, accidents sometimes do happen at sea, and you know that they're in that water and they don't have long and you need to get them out. And plus, I didn't see all of the crew that were in the boat come up, so I'm thinking someone's stuck underneath. And you don't know if they're stuck in the space where there is air or if they're stuck and they're drowning. So it was really scary until the moment when Chantal popped up and you knew everyone was going to be OK. If they're all there and looking at us, you know know everything's gonna be OK. We'll get them back onboard.

ANIMAL PLANET: So everyone takes accidents like this very seriously?

SHANNON MANN: Well, when you're down in the Antarctic, there's little time to be in the water and there's little room for error. When people hit the water, you need to get them out as soon as possible because hypothermia sets in within seconds. Within a few minutes those people could be sustaining severe hypothermia and their lives are in jeopardy if you don't get them out of the water right away.

ANIMAL PLANET: What are your main duties as quartermaster?

SHANNON MANN: My job as quartermaster is being on the bridge and navigating the ship, but most importantly it's trying to find the Japanese fleet. We use binoculars to look at the horizon. We use the radar. The helicopter is really important to help us find the fleets, because if we can't find the fleet, we don't have a campaign. That's absolutely essential.

And Paul has a lot of experience down in the Antarctic. He has a sense about him. He usually can say, "Well, I really feel like this." And he just has a knack of finding them. Sometimes we get tips and hints on where they may be and so all of that together, we may find the fleet.

ANIMAL PLANET: What did you think about Paul's request for volunteers to board the Yushin Maru?

SHANNON MANN: The thing is when Paul asked for volunteers to board that ship, I know that he wouldn't ask anyone to do something that he wouldn't do himself or that he hasn't done in the past personally.

Boarding the Yushin Maru requires athleticism and skill and courage, essentially. You are taking a risk trying to board the vessel and trying to jump over that rail. But I think the more confidence you have, the more likely you're gonna succeed. And so I know that when Paul chose who he did to board that ship, he felt that those people had no reservations about doing so.

ANIMAL PLANET: What did you think about the two volunteers, Pottsy and Giles?

SHANNON MANN: Well, it's kind of funny them being on the ship. Pottsy's a fun-loving, easygoing kind of guy, so when he decided to board the ship it was like, "Oh, wow, that takes guts. Way to go Pottsy!" On the ship, Giles was so intense and always asking for this and that, and Pottsy's like, "Relax. Let's just have a sleep. I'm tired."

Pottsy's a really easygoing, fun-loving kind of guy. I think everyone likes him and has a lot of affection for him, so when he decided to board the ship I think some people were taken aback. Like, I thought you're just kind of this goofy character that didn't have too much seriousness associated with him. So I was not overly surprised, but I was a little bit surprised when he volunteered.

ANIMAL PLANET: You volunteered for a second boarding crew, right?

SHANNON MANN: Yes. As a woman boarding a Japanese whaling vessel that had exclusively men onboard, to be honest, I wasn't that concerned. I know that Pottsy and Giles were treated respectfully and I know that culturally that they probably would have treated us the same way.

My primary concern with trying to board the vessel was the amount of clothing and gear that we had to wear to stay warm on the way to the vessel and boarding it. The Mustang suits and the long underwear and the big boots that we had to wear are all pretty restrictive clothing. And you have to stand on the edge of the Delta make a big step up, which was difficult to do with all that clothing on.

And the worst case scenario would have been that one person boards the ship and someone falls in the water — so we've got one person alone on the vessel and someone in the water and the rest of the mission is aborted. I thought (that) if I'm the only one on the ship, I might just jump back overboard and get the hell off there, because I'm not gonna be the only one. And being from Canada... Canada's not that supportive of Sea Shepherd because of all the controversy we raised on our campaigns up there, so I didn't think the Canadian government was going to be that helpful to me. So if it would have happened that I was the only person and being Canadian, I was gonna be a little bit concerned about getting myself either off that ship or even out of jail, frankly.

So we volunteer. Paul's decided who the boarding crew was going to be. We knew that it was likely the next day that we were going to board the Yushin Maru, so that was a pretty sleepless night. I was very worried. "Do I have this? Do I have that? Am I going to be able to get on the ship with all this restrictive clothing on? So I didn't sleep very well that night. Then the next day, sure enough, it happened. Paul made the call. OK, we're going for it. So the four of us, the boarding crew, got all geared up and we headed out to the deck. It seemed to take forever. Once it was decided, OK you're going, I just wanted to get my clothes on and get in the Delta and go for it. And it seemed like it took forever to get everyone ready, and this and that, and backpacks and helmets, and then get the Delta ready and get the Delta overboard and for us to board it.

ANIMAL PLANET: Did you bring anything else with you?

SHANNON MANN: Yeah. We made sure that we had a GPS. Another thing that we brought along was a satellite phone because we knew that Pottsy and Giles hadn't been searched. We thought if we can get the satellite phone on board and keep it with us (we were hiding it down in our pant leg) then there's a good chance that we would be able to relay information back to the Irwin (about) what was happening on the Japanese vessel.

My mind was frantically trying to get ready because we knew it was gonna happen, but it was like, "OK, go, go, go." So I'm stuffing like an extra set of clothes in the bag, basically comfy gear... Some tie pants, some more socks. Just in case I got everything wet. I packed a toothbrush, toothpaste. I think I stuffed a bunch of chocolate in there, just a few odds and ends. Plus a book. And then I just threw it on my back and headed out to the deck. It seemed like we had so much time to prepare, but then it was like, "Go, go, go!" And I just stuffed things in the bag and got out of there.

ANIMAL PLANET: Then what happened?

SHANNON MANN: So the Delta's launched over the side of the boat and we get in. I thought that I was going to be nervous or worried, but I was so excited. I couldn't wait to get there 'cause I knew I had a lot of confidence in my ability to get overboard, so I wanted to go first. But the decision was made that an Australian should get on board first because it was much more likely that they were going to be able to get off the ship than anyone else. So, we steamed off in the direction of the Yushin Maru, and it seemed like it took us forever. The seas were pretty heavy.

ANIMAL PLANET: And how did you injure your hip?

SHANNON MANN: I actually made a promise to my mother that I would never go in the small boats. Never break a promise to your mother!

So I looked at Dan, I said, "Aww, can I come?" And he's like, "Yeah, sure." So we went and we took a bunch of footage of the Fuki Yushin Maru. We were essentially on our way back to the Steve Irwin when we were traveling parallel to the wake of the Fuki Yushin. It was quite a large wake that it was kicking up. I was sort of anchored down in the front of the boat, but I knew we were on our way back. I thought, "OK, I'm going to get a little bit more comfortable." So we're traveling parallel (to) the wake. (It) was huge, so Dan had turned away from it initially. I remember thinking, "Thank God we're not going over this." So I let go thinking, "OK, he's just gonna go a lot further and then we're gonna cross the wake." So I let go to reposition myself, when in fact he just swerved away from it and then headed straight for it. It's hard to even remember... The next thing I knew I was flying in the air and I came down on the side of my hip. I heard a big crack, so I knew that I was hurt. The first thing I thought was, "Can I move my toes? Can I move my legs?" It was that loud. I thought, "I'm in trouble here."

And so I moved my legs and I was really happy. I thought, "OK, good. It can't be that serious. If I can do that, I'm going to be OK." So I tried to get back in position. Dan stopped the boat because he's like, "Wow, so is everyone okay?" I think I was in shock — I didn't even know what to say to him. I guess Noah had sprained his ankle at that point too. So I didn't really say anything, first of all because I was just in shock, and second of all, I was gonna try to not let anyone know what happened. Because, you know, 30 years and no injuries... And this was completely my fault.

I knew I could move so I just repositioned myself. It was really difficult. I didn't have full control over my legs, so I got them in position and hung on for the ride back. Amber was there, and I looked at her and I said, "I think I'm hurt." Then we got back to the Steve Irwin and I said, "Can you go first?" because I... I don't know what I was thinking. I tried to stand up and it was really difficult. I was hanging onto things. I'm still thinking, "I don't want anyone to know that I'm injured," but eventually I realized this is actually pretty serious.

So Amber went up the ladder first and I turned to Dan and said, "Just so you know I might not be able to get up the ladder." So I just waited until the Delta and the ship... The waves were such that there's a smallest distance and so I basically just pulled myself up the two stairs. As soon as I stood on deck, that was all I had. That was it. I don't remember it that well, but that was all I had and I guess I just fell down onto the deck. Then people realized that there was something wrong. Amber came over and I think maybe she said, "What happened?" Then they got me standing up. And I said to them, "I think I broke my pelvis," 'cause that's what it felt like. I tried to walk down to the back 'cause I kept on thinking, "It's OK, it's OK. Just walk it off. It'll be fine. Don't make a big deal of it."

So I was walking down the side of the deck and I had my arm around two people. I don't even remember who it was. Then we got to the back deck, and by this point I'm in a lot of pain. It was pretty overwhelming. I knew something was really wrong and I was getting a little bit scared too because I knew we were in really remote conditions. This was a serious injury and I could be in trouble.

ANIMAL PLANET: What happened when you got to the back deck?

SHANNON MANN: When we got to the back deck, I knew the next step. The doc said he wanted me to go down into the lounge area. So I said, "OK. I can do it," and then I was like, "OK, I can't do it." Then they got out the stretcher and it was so humiliating. The camera was rolling and I remember looking at them, and I'm crying. I'm like, "Please stop, please stop." It was kind of humiliating too because they put me on this stretcher and it's, like, sick pain. Then they pick me up and it's three or four or five guys, I don't know, and they're all huffing and puffing and I'm like, "My boots, they're really heavy. It's my boots." The guys are sweating and they can barely carry me.

They took me down to the lounge area because I think the doc had prepared for it. He had things set out for hypothermia and that kind of thing. It's pretty vague, like, I know by the time I got down there, there was basically a bed set up and there were a bunch of thermals and a bunch of blankets, and probably a medical kit — stethoscope, blood pressure, that kind of thing. So, they got me down there and then the next challenge was to try to get me out of my gear. I had a Mustang suit overtop of a wetsuit. The Mustang suit was pretty easy to get off, but the wetsuit... Trying to peel that off was a bit difficult. They were gonna cut it at first and I was like, "No, no. These things are expensive. Don't cut it." So they eventually got that off. I didn't know it at the time, but the doc kept on checking my blood pressure every few minutes. He was checking, checking, checking. Later he told me that when people sustain serious pelvic injuries, there can be a lot of blood loss and a lot of internal bleeding. If you sever a vessel down there, you could bleed out in 10 minutes and die. That's why he kept on checking my blood pressure to make sure that there's no massive internal damage. So, I'm lucky. Yeah, I'm really fortunate.

ANIMAL PLANET: That's scary.

SHANNON MANN: I know, I'm freaking out a little bit. I didn't know that in 10 minutes I could be dead or maybe I would have been a little bit more scared. Still, I know I'm there and there's nothing they can do. We've got what we've got; I just have to hope for the best really. I didn't have... I had some insurance, not that crazy of insurance. So I basically took it moment by moment. It's like, "I'm still OK, I'm still OK." Later that night, I was in a lot of pain and I started getting nauseous and throwing up. Then I got a little bit worried and my stomach started bloating up. I thought, "Oh, this isn't good." So occasionally I would send for the doctor. Like, "Is everything OK?" And he was pretty good. He assured me.

ANIMAL PLANET: So you felt comfortable being on the ship?

SHANNON MANN: Everyone on the ship was so amazing. All in all, I think it was absolutely the best place to be. It was much better than being in a hospital. Can you imagine? I basically was in my cabin.

Initially I was concerned because he said, "Look, I think you fractured your pelvis, blah, blah, blah." So, initially I was like, "I can't get an x-ray here. I hope everything's at least in the right spot still so everything's healing properly." 'Cause I thought, "Holy (cow), by the time I get back, this is gonna be three weeks of healing that I've already gone through, at least. Are they gonna have to re-break something? Am I gonna be in a lot of trouble? Is this gonna affect me for the rest of my life?" But I'm fine. I'm totally fine.

I had no choice. I had no choice. I was on the ship. I think I heard something about air evac, but I knew that even that was gonna take a long time. I just had faith that the doctor's gonna do what he feels best and so here I am. He had a lot of support as well. He was on the sat phone and emailing doctors back in Sydney and specialists and this and that. So it's not like it was only his opinion. He was assessing me and then consulting with a couple of other doctors as well, saying, "Look if this is OK. This is OK?" I mean he was manipulating my legs. "Can you do this? Can you do that?" I initially spent the first night in the lounge area, and then the next day they moved me up to my cabin. From there I basically lied on the floor in my cabin for a couple of weeks. A few weeks.

ANIMAL PLANET: Was it frustrating?

SHANNON MANN: Yeah. So I came back. I'm injured. That very same day we come across a Patagonian long-lining vessel. So it was really frustrating. I wanted to see what was going on, and they were right out the porthole. I mean, the campaign has to carry on whether people are hurt, whether people are not. It didn't seem like this was a life-threatening injury, so of course we were just gonna go about the campaign. You don't want to detract from that.

ANIMAL PLANET: Was it frustrating?

SHANNON MANN: So essentially I spent the next three weeks on the floor of my cabin. At first it was really uncomfortable. It was really painful. I basically couldn't move my right leg at all except for pulling on my pant leg and moving it with my arm. But my left leg I could move a little bit. So, it was really difficult to just stay comfortable because you can't lie down for that long in the same position without getting really uncomfortable. I thought I was gonna have bedsores. When I tried to move to a different position, I would have to grab onto my pant leg, pull my leg up, put pillows around and then change positions. I was really happy about three, four days later when I could actually roll onto my side a little bit.

So I spent the next three weeks pretty much lying on my back in my cabin. And (the doctor) came in every day and gave me an injection of blood thinners, because there's for sure some internal bleeding and you don't want the blood clot to reach your lungs or your heart. So he was giving me blood thinners every day.

Once the doctor knew that I didn't have critical injuries, and that there wasn't a lot of internal bleeding, essentially I just had to lie in my cabin and heal and try not to affect the mission. I had so many people looking after me. It was so cool. And it was so humiliating too because I can't even say it. Like, I had a bedpan. Yeah, so I mean...

It was really humiliating being on the floor. You don't want people to go out of their way, but you're really pretty helpless. I needed help getting up and going to the bathroom and people had to bring me food. Essentially, I couldn't leave the cabin. Everyone had to bring me food. I couldn't do anything for myself for quite a few weeks. It was awful because, first of all, we don't even shower that much on the ship as it is. But then I'm lying on the floor and, after three days, I'm dying for a shower. So I have to go get people to come help me shower. They set a plastic chair in the shower and they dragged me in there. And I had to get people to help me get undressed and then sit on the chair. It was really humiliating.

ANIMAL PLANET: So you were well taken care of?

SHANNON MANN: Everyone on the ship really took care of me. I mean it was really cute. Even Paul came into the cabin quite often and he was really funny. He'd open the door, "Dead yet?" and then shut the door. He came in and read poetry sometimes and just came in and hung out. Then we had a poker game in our cabin. I was propped up and everyone gathered around and we played poker. After a few weeks, I could do a little bit more so I would go down into the mess, but then I would stay there for a long time because I didn't want to have the hassle of going back up to the cabin.

ANIMAL PLANET: And you haven't told your mom about it yet?

SHANNON MANN: Yeah, because I promised my mom that I would never go in those small boats. I think she's gonna be a little bit disappointed with me. I still haven't told her that I was injured on the campaign. She's gonna freak. She will freak out.

ANIMAL PLANET: Were you worried about something happening to the ship?

SHANNON MANN: That was actually kind of scary because I was pretty helpless in my cabin. If something would have happened, it would have been really difficult for me to get up off the floor, get into a Mustang suit or survival suit and get off the ship. It would be nearly impossible. But I have a lot of faith in the captain and I do think Paul has this charmed life. I feel really OK. If he's on the ship, I think we're gonna be OK.

ANIMAL PLANET: Were you on deck during the encounter with the Nisshin Maru?

SHANNON MANN: It was a couple of weeks later and I was just starting to get around on the ship (when) we encountered the Nisshin Maru. A couple of people came to my cabin and they're like, "Do you want to come up to the bridge for this?" And I'm like, "Yeah." So, they grabbed me. I get up to the cabin and sit in the seat behind the radar. That's pretty much where I spent the entire time of the confrontations with the Nisshin Maru. I remember the flash bangs going off. (I) basically saw one come right for the window and I'm ducking. I can't run away, so the best I can do is try to get out of the direct line of the flash bangs. So they're going off outside the window. The next thing I know, Paul comes in and you can see he's obviously upset, obviously kind of shaken up. He doesn't know what's happened and he's opening up... He's like, "What is this?" You can see the hole. I couldn't believe what happened.

There's just so much on the line for the Japanese and we've cost them so much money, so many millions of dollars, that they also know what's gonna happen. "If we shoot him, he's gone. We'll probably be down there whaling without harassment next year and is anyone really gonna charge us? Who's gonna take this to international court?" They can just throw guns off the ship. They're gonna get away with it. So is it worth it for them? Yeah, maybe.

So Paul comes in to the bridge and he's taking his Mustang suit off and his bulletproof vest. You can see a hole in that. The first thing I'm thinking is, "Oh my God, if Paul was to die, if something was to happen to Paul, there goes the end of Sea Shepherd. Then who's gonna come back here next year?" Because we surely can't rely on Greenpeace to do the job. Sea Shepherd has got to be there to save the whales.

And plus, just as a man, he does so much for the earth and so much for the animals. And not only that, what he does inspires so many people. If I hadn't heard him speak, I wouldn't be involved with Sea Shepherd. Most of the people on the ship wouldn't be. Without him, where are we gonna be? It worries me too because there's nobody that can follow in his footsteps. He writes. He lectures. He commands the ship. He's everything.

So he pulls everything off, and what's going through my mind is, "Oh my gosh, if he dies, that's the end of Sea Shepherd. There's gonna be a lot of whaling going uninterrupted next year.

ANIMAL PLANET: You feel very attached to Paul?

SHANNON MANN: Yeah. Over the past years, now that I've traveled with him, he has become my friend. Like everything aside — all he does for the animals and the environment aside — I really like him as a person. He's a gentle, kind man. When I was in Friday Harbor just doing some work for the office, it was really quiet. It was at night. There was no one else in the office. Paul came and he's like, "I found this mouse." At Friday Harbor, Paul found this mouse that wasn't moving, so he took it and he put it in a box. He kept on checking on it and trying to feed it. And he kept on coming in and telling me, "I don't know what's wrong with that mouse. It's not bleeding anywhere. It doesn't seem to have any injuries, but it's pretty much lifeless." The next day he came back into the office and was like, "Yeah, that mouse died." He was upset about this mouse that he tried to save. He was like, "I just went and put it on an anthill so that it could go back to the earth." He's such a sweetheart. So thank goodness. Paul got really lucky that day. And his bulletproof vest — essentially, those things saved his life, which Sea Shepherd is. And personally, I'm really thankful.

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