Larry Routledge of South Africa added, "We all stood there in awe in front of these magnificent creatures."
Zoe Beckett from Melbourne was also excited seeing the whales so close to the ship, “I was humbled by their size and gracious movements in the water."
When asked if he was sure if the whales were mating, Captain MacLean said, “Oh yes, the evidence was very impressive. Let’s just say I was quite humbled as a man.”
Seeing whales swimming freely in their natural habitat in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was an incredible motivation for the crew, and the best morale booster imaginable. Although a Japanese harpoon vessel was in the vicinity, the whalers made no attempt to approach the whales with Sea Shepherd standing guard beside them.
Captain Paul Watson wrote the following about mating whales in his soon to be published epic poem Planet for the Whales:
Planet for the Whales
Within the whales can be found fiery passion,
They tremble, thrust and toss with heated desire.
The immense whale penis is deeply clutched,
Held in a bold soft feminine fashion,
As their mighty strong hearts pump amorous fire,
And in the great dark depths their gentle souls are touched.
The love between the whales is a wonder of life.
Such gentleness in such gargantuan forms,
Joined together in magnificent bliss,
Lustful exchange between husband and wife,
Mated forever through long doldrums and storms,
Impregnated where the sea joins sky with a kiss.
Creating rare wee angels with wings in the sea,
The fastest growing babies in the wide world,
The largest babies born upon the Earth,
Born with majestic grace for all to see,
Into deep blue waters to be rocked and twirled,
From a mother’s love into nurtured freedom birthed.
Baby whales born to the sound of singing,
Flying from their mother’s embrace,
Gently they guide the calf to the surface,
Into the air the calves they are bringing,
Feeling the sun upon their face,
Tasting the salty, calm, topless, surface.
Blue Whale babies larger than Elephants when born
The fastest growing babies in the ocean
Rich, fat, warm, milk from the world’s largest breasts.
Upon mothers back to the surface borne
Cradled weightless, rocking with gentle motion
Tender skin feeling every sweet loving caress
- Captain Paul Watson