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Minds in the Water documents Dave ‘Rasta’ Rastavich’s five-year journey from apathetic pro to respected ocean activist. The film was shown in Newquay on the 17th July as part of an evening to raise environmental awareness, that started with a vegetarian buffet at the always fresh and funky Cafe Irie, and finished with a charity auction at the Chy Bar.

It was great to see a strong turnout for the event. Cafe Irie was packed and as usual the food was great. The event was organised by Newquay’s own ocean activist Natalie Fox. She was supported by Emmy award winning film maker Justin Krumb, Surfers For Cetaceans co-founder and artist Howie Cooke, and surfer/artist/activist Chris Del Moro.

The screening of the film was introduced by Justin Krumb, who spent two years working on the film and became inspired by Dave Rastavich and Howie Cooke to get involved further. He explained the idea behind the film – “the film is an awareness tool that we hope will inspire people to take action in whatever way they are capable.”

The documentary introduces Rasta’s free surfing lifestyle and how his highly competitive younger years burnt out his competition desires. The film shows how Rasta met Howie Cooke and how their passion turned into an organisation. We see how Rasta, through his love of the ocean and its wildlife, is motivated to channel all his energy into the project. We witness the start of the Visual Petition, as Dave travels to far away places including Japan’s infamous cove and the Galapagos, where working alongside Captain Paul Watson’s Sea Sheppard Conservation Society he witness the success of direct action. The film also follows Dave as he and some of his colleagues sail from Byron Bay to Sydney in a project called Transparent Sea.

Whilst Rasta is the focal point of the film, it displays in great depth the work of long time activists such as Howie Cooke, Ric O’Barry and Captain Paul Watson, and how much respect he has for what these people have done. Ultimately the film is not about Dave Rastavich, but about motivating people do what ever they can. “We just want people to get involved”, explained Justin Krump. “Join an environmental group, join the visual petition, become a vegetarian, organise a beach clean or anything else you can do to help the environment.”

Following the showing Howie Cooke talked about the outcome of the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting. He told of the corruption in the commission and how whaling in Japan in perpetuated through political gain and greed. Whaling in Japan is controlled by Japanese organised crime, the Yakuza. They gain financially from it and garner support from politicians by ensuring they receive the votes they need from the rural coastal communities that also benefits from the whale and dolphin killing. It has very little do with traditional heritage and Japanese society is oblivious to the reality.

It seems the IWC is moving backwards, with Japan buying supporting votes from poorer African and Caribbean countries. Iceland and Norway now openly declare that they will be hunting whales; which are sold to Japan. It is easy to feel Howie’s passion when he talks on this subject, “whaling will surely end when the compassionate will of man overwhelms the heartless greed of those who seek to destroy the great people of the sea . S4C will continue to be a voice for our cetacean family and take the message of whale freedom around the world seeking to share inspiration for positive change with art, word, music, murals, photography, film, cultural exchange and wave interaction.”

The most profound part of the evening came when a member of the audience from the Galapagos Islands, living in Newquay, thanks Howie and the others for their success in stopping illegal shark fishing in the waters just off the islands.

Eddie Salazar from Ecuador thanks Howie for his work

Event organiser Natalie Fox has taken a journey which, through her activism, has lead her to co-found Women For Whales. The atrocities of the whale and dolphin killing at Grindatrapt in the Faroe Islands shocked Nat into action. She has travelled to Morocco, Portugal and Jersey to demonstrate and been on a covert Sea Shepherd mission to take direct action in the Faroe Islands. Through events such as the screening of the film The Cove last summer and now Minds In The Water she hopes to inspire others to act, “we hope to empower more people to stand up for the ocean and it’s wildlife.”

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