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Michael Reppy

I am single, 62 year old home health care physical therapist, living in Mill Valley, California. I grew up in Oxnard, California and was drawn to the ocean and sailing at about 12 years old and built my own 6’ sailboat. By 16, I was into surfing and sailing an 18’ Malibu outrigger, making three trips to the Channel Islands with my high school buddies.

I attended Stanford University, and worked at various jobs, including as a physical therapy aide at Mt. Sinai Hospital in LA which led me to get a masters in physical therapy at the University of Southern California. I had found my life’s work, and opened a small therapy clinic in Santa Monica in 1980. But I still had the sailing bug, which led to having the 42’ trimaran Damiana built in England in 1984-85, and began my life cruising and racing across oceans.

Sailors have a natural affinity for dolphins, which come to play on your bow wave, and have been known to save humans lost at sea. So in 1991, when I saw videos of the mass killing of dolphins in tuna nets shot undercover by Sam LaBudde of Earth Island Institute, I was shocked and went to Earth Island and offered to use my racing trimaran NAI”A as a vehicle to publicize the plight of the dolphins. They liked the idea, so I put dolphin graphics on the sails, SAVE THE DOLPHINS on the sides of the boat, and joined the campaign for “Dolphin Safe Tuna.” (http://www.earthisland.org/immp/ ) Thus began my life as an environmental activist, which has included many demonstrations in front of the Japanese consulate against the “drive fishery,” the annual killing of over 20,000 dolphins and small whales along the coast of Japan. Others have been at marine parks like Six Flags Marine World and Sea World protesting captivity of orcas and dolphins, and at WTO meetings like the famous “Battle in Seattle” in 1999, where our “turtle brigade” marched for animal protection in trade agreements.

My biggest challenge has been my quest to break the solo sailing record from San Francisco to Tokyo to protest the yearly Japanese Dolphin Slaughter, which continues unabated today. I have made three attempts on the record, which included a capsize and rescue with Nai’a in 1997, a broken rudder with Thursday’s Child in 2000, and just missing the record with Thursday’s Child in 2001. I am currently re-building the 43’ Grainger trimaran Dolphin Spirit for another attempt at the record in spring 2009.


Michael at the launch of Dolphin Spirit


Michael with high school friends and Malibu outrigger


Damiana


Nai’a at the start of solo transpacific record attempt


Michael with turtle brigade at Seattle WTO protests


Michael on bow of Thursday’s Child


Dolphin Spirit in Friday Harbor, Washington

 
 
 
 
 

Dolphin Spirit Project

A project of the International Marine Mammal Project of
Earth Island Institute
300 Broadway, Suite 28
San Francisco, CA 94133
phone: (415) 788-3666