Rasta and Surfers For Cetaceans Hit The Pan-American Highway
To Rally Support For Threatened Whales and Dolphins
1,500 Miles of Waves And Ocean Activism: El Mar Mi Alma Chile Tour 2008
Following their dramatic action to bring global awareness to ongoing dolphin slaughter in Japan last October, Dave Rastovich and crew are taking their campaign direct to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Chile this June. Entitled “El Mar Mi Alma” (The Ocean, My Soul) www.chiletour08.com <http://www.chiletour08.com> , the ocean-awareness tour is a vibrant mix of surf, music and art aimed at enlisting the Chilean people as allies in the ongoing struggle to end the commercial killing of dolphins and whales once and for all.
Beginning at Arica in Chile’s arid far-northern border region, the El Mar Mi Alma tour connected the dots 1,500 miles halfway down Chile’s surf-rich Pacific coast to the capital city Santiago, stopping along the way to share waves, good vibes and ocean activism with the locals. Rastovich, accompanied by his wife Hannah Fraser (professional mermaid) and Surfers For Cetaceans’ Howie Cooke and Andy Sibley, presented a cetacean slide show and the giant Visual Petition to hundreds of students and interested townspeople.
In marked contrast to October’s Taiji event—where Dave Rastovich, Hayden Panettiere, Hannah Fraser and others faced harassment and arrest for paddling out to bear witness to the slaughter of 30 pilot whales in Taiji’s infamous “Killing Cove—Rasta and the crew have garnered overwhelming positive response from the Chileans
“Traveling down the Chilean coastline has revealed an ocean culture that is passionately active in protecting their waters and coasts,” said Rastovich on the eve of attending the 2008 IWC conference in Santiago. “In our journey we’ve found traditional fishermen protesting industrial fishing methods that destroy fish stock as well as surfers protesting pulp mills and proposed coastal power plants. They are sharing their stories with us and are genuinely happy to have our cameras and media sharing their battles with the world.”
Over the last two years Rastovich and his nonprofit advocacy group Surfers For Cetaceans have been raising awareness of the threatened state of the world’s oceans to the surf culture and beyond through art, music and highly visible media events. One of the most effective tools has been the online “Minds In The Water” visual petition (www.visualpetition.com <http://www.visualpetition.com> ), a grassroots activist site, where any concerned global citizen can upload a photo of themselves holding a dolphin or whale portrait. Over 11,000 people have joined the Visual Petition and their faces will be calling for the end to cetacean killing via a huge mosaic of portraits measuring 36 feet long presented to the IWC commissioners this week.
“The Visual Petition has been an amazing way to communicate the support of the international ocean community”, said Hannah. “I think being able to see each individual face of the people who feel so strongly about this issue is a very powerful statement.”
Joining Rastovich along the way and in Santiago are professional surfers Joel Parkinson and Chris Del Moro along with a full contingent of international media and a Visual Petition winner from each continent. These 5 motivated individuals were the most productive Petition contributors uploading thousands of photos themselves.
In Pichilemu the center of the Chilean surfing community and a culturally significant hotspot, the crew was blessed with great waves and full support from the local surf club and environmental groups hoping to create sustainable surf tourism at the world-famous left, Punta De Lobos.
One highlight of the tour has been Howie Cooke’s “Whale A Day” project where Howie creates a piece of unique whale art including large murals in each of the places the El Mar Mi Alma tour visits.
“It has been wonderful to communicate the beauty of whales with local people, surfers, artists and schoolchildren,” said Cooke. “The friendship extended to us by the Chileans has strengthened this bridge of oceanic kinship between Australia and Chile across the South Pacific.”
In an encouraging show of support the Chilean surf community will spearhead the unveiling of the Visual Petition in Santiago this Thursday to the International Whaling Commission.
For information on Surfers for Cetaceans, El Mar, Mi Alma tour, Visual Petition and the upcoming documentary:
About Minds In The Water
Minds in the Water and the MITW Visual Petition are teamed in a global awareness campaign dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and the world’s oceans. It’s through insightful multimedia content such as cinematic and pictorial elements from which the voices of ocean minded people everywhere are heard. For more information on the visual petition and the Minds in the Water campaign, please visit: http://www.mindsinthewater.com <http://www.mindsinthewater.com/>