Vegan Athletes Volunteer to fight for the Oceans world-wide – Sea Shepherd Blog # 1

Katie und Gwen 2 healthy fit vegans

Original text from Katie and Gwen for our english blog readers:

The story of Katie and Gwen’s journey to activism, and each other.

By Katie Adams and Gwendal Le Tutour


Katie Adams, 25 years old, from the USA

Katie Adams SSCS BobB2012 13 1098

I first learned of Sea Shepherd back in 2011 from a call from my mom that changed my life forever. She told me she just watched this documentary TV show called WHALE WARS where volunteers from around the world team up with Sea Shepherd and bring ships down to Antarctica to stop the illegal Japanese Whaling fleet from illegally killing whales! Wow, my mind was blown, first off, people still kill whales? Secondly, they are doing this in Antarctica? Thirdly, how is this happening in 2011???? There was so many thoughts passing through my head, life as I knew it just turned upside-down.

After about a week of intense investigation of Sea Shepherd and their direct action tactics of saving marine wildlife, I had come to a conclusion that this is what I need to be doing with my life. To give you a more formal picture of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; “founded in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization; their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.” At this point, to me they sounds just like every other non-profit out there,
but this is where they differ significantly- “ Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.”
Now that’s what I like to hear, an organization that is actually doing something, using direct action, putting themselves between the harpoon and the whale, saving lives!!!
I was hooked.

Sea Shepherd Bob Barker 130220 B GL 001 Ramming of BB NM SL SI DSC 3595

One year later, after volunteering on-shore for Sea Shepherd in Oregon, and participating in a local SSCS campaign to stop the slaughter of Sea Lions on the Columbia river; I found myself in Sydney Australia crewing onboard one of their ships, the M/Y Bob Barker. It was my first time out of North America, and also my first time on a ship, let alone living on a ship. Onboard I was a deckhand, scrubbing the decks and painting rust-spots. We were preparing the ship for Sea Shepherds 10th anti-whaling campaign in Antarctica where the illegal Japanese Whaling fleet had planned to kill 1,035 endangered and threatened humpback, minke, and fin whales. Oh did I mention they planned to do so in an international whale sanctuary, located in the desolate southern ocean, where they hoped that no one on this planet dare intervene.

Bob Barker 130215 B GL 021 BB tries to stop whale loaded on Nisshin CFL 0378

Living on the ship in Sydney with a crew of 35 took some getting used to, so many people in such a small space; you are forced to get to know everyone very well. Soon, the unavoidable took place and I found myself in a relationship with fellow crew-member/french surfer, Gwen. Gwen and I had more in common that I knew was possible, both new-bee vegans (the Sea Shepherd ships are strictly vegan, its just one of the ways that they truly
practice what they preach “conservation in action”), both loved being in the water, animals, running, travel, and surfing!


 Gwen 25 years old, from France

Gwen le Tutor Bob_Barker 0643 OZT © Glenn Lockitch 2

Back in 2010, I was a student at the marine engineering school in Saint Malo, France. That’s when I heard about Sea Shepherd for the first time. A documentary on TV was presenting Sea Shepherd’s direct actions in Antarctica against the illegal whaling fleet. After that, my goal was set, my motivation to succeed at my marine engineer training was boosted, I will be an engineer onboard one of the Sea Shepherd ships!
I grew up near the ocean, in Brittany, where the waves and the wind developed my passion for the ocean. I began surfing at 13, windsurfing at 14, and kitesurfing and Stand Up Paddle surfing few years ago. The ocean gave me so much, so I needed to do something in return, to give back.I first joined Sea Shepherd as an onshorevolunteer, while finishing my engineering training. We were organising stalls during different events to educate people, raising funds for the campaigns, and also organising beach clean-ups.

Bob Barker 130215 OZT ©Sea Shepherd  Marianna Baldo K9A4749

Once I got my engineering ticket, I applied to be volunteer crewmember onboard the ships. In august 2012, I joined the M/Y Bob Barker to prepare the 10th Antarctica Campaign.I was working in the engine room fixing the damages from the previous campaign, and get everything ready to protect the whales once again in the Southern Ocean.

Katie and Gwen Marathon Finish

We completed our first Antarctic Campaign together, Operation Zero Tolerance, which happened to be Sea Shepherds most successful campaign where we saved 932 whales! During which we missed land and exercise so much that after reading the book “Born To Run” in Antarctica we decided to run an ultra-marathon in France! Gwen had already ran this race 4 years before but it would be Katie’s first one!

Gwen and Katie  2 hrs in

After 3 months in Antarctica, and 3 more months volunteering for Sea Shepherd in Melbourne we were off to France! We only trained for just under 3 months for this 57 km trail race, and we finished strong, only 6 hours 43 minutes. Katie finished 7th place overall in the women’s category and Gwen finished 79th in the men’s. These results confirm how productive vegan nutrition can be! We were addicted to training, and this was the beginning of our journey to vegan fitness.

After the marathon we went to Africa to join a new campaign with Sea Shepherd to stop illegal poaching. It was quite difficult to work out in Africa but we did what we could. After 9 months we returned to Australia to join back up with the Bob Barker.

We plan on running another Ultra Marathon this fall, and we are even thinking of starting to train for Iron-man Triathlons! Our passion for vegan sports nutrition has grown, and we will continue to strive to be the best vegan athletes that we can be, and continually grow, learn, and become faster, better, stronger!

Continue to follow our blog posts to see how we train, how we eat, where we travel, and what races do and results we get!

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To find out more about Sea Shepherd, Whaling, and to find your nearest SSCS chapter check out: For German, for English and, for French

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