DOLPHIN SPIRIT PROJECT

A MESSAGE FROM MICHAEL REPPY

Eight years ago, I was ready to make my fourth attempt on the solo sailing record from San Francisco to Tokyo in my trimaran Dolphin Spirit.  But I postponed it due to the tragedy of the earthquake/tsunami, Fukushima meltdown, and massive loss of lives. Soon after, I needed surgery to repair a rotator cuff injury on my right shoulder, and a few years later I had the same surgery on my left shoulder.  It was clear I could no-longer physically withstand the demands of a solo Transpacific sail. I sold the 43’ Dolphin Spirit trimaran, and downsized to an F-27 trimaran, Dolphin Spirit II, that I could manage, and keep “Sailing For The Dolphins”. I take groups out sailing to enjoy the ocean world and see local marine mammals, like harbor porpoise, dolphins, seals, and humpback whales. I retired from my home health care physical therapy job, to focus full-time on saving our marine mammal friends, ocean conservation, and resistance to the assault on our environment from the Trump administration.

Our ocean planet is in crisis on so many fronts – climate change, ocean acidification, plastic and toxic pollution, loss of coral reefs, rising sea levels, overfishing, and mass extinction of species. The World Wildlife Fund’s 2018 Living Planet Report, showed a 60% loss of global wildlife since 1970, primarily caused by human destruction of habitat. We are entering into the sixth mass extinction, this time caused by human impact.

In October, 2018, I purchased the Pacific Outback Resort, a former fishing lodge, on Double Bay, Hanson Island, British Columbia.  My primary mission now is to convert this facility into an Ocean Conservation Center and Whale Sanctuary.  The goal is for SeaWorld to retire the orca Corky to this Sanctuary in her home waters where she can reconnect with her A5 pod.  2019 will be a busy year rebuilding the facility, obtaining permits and approvals for the Whale Sanctuary, and building the support and funding to make this happen.  

 If you would like to help, please contact me at 415 686-0529, or email mreppy@dolphinspirit.org.

~Michael

BIO

Michael grew up in Oxnard, California and was drawn to the ocean and sailing at about 12 years old and built his own 6’ sailboat. By 16, he was into surfing and sailing an 18’ Malibu outrigger, making three trips to the Channel Islands with his high school buddies. He attended Stanford University and worked as a physical therapy aide at Mt. Sinai Hospital in LA which led to getting a masters degree in physical therapy at the University of Southern California. Michael had found his life’s work, and opened a small therapy clinic in Santa Monica in 1980. But he still had the sailing bug, which led to having the 42’ trimaran Damiana built in England in 1984-85, and began a life cruising and racing across oceans. His activism began as an anti-war protester during the VietNam War, and his environmental activism began in 1990 during the “Redwood Summer” protests of clear cut logging of redwood forests of Northern California.

 

SAVE THE DOLPHINS

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 Michael saw videos of the mass killing of dolphins in tuna nets shot undercover by Sam LaBudde of Earth Island Institute, he was shocked and went to Earth Island and offered to use his racing trimaran Nai’a as a vehicle to publicize the plight of the dolphins. They liked the idea, so Michael put dolphin graphics on his sails, SAVE THE DOLPHINS on the sides of the boat, and joined the campaign for “Dolphin Safe Tuna.”  

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Thus began his life as an ocean 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 Discovery Kingdom and SeaWorld protesting captivity of orcas and dolphins. Michael was at the famous WTO “Battle in Seattle” in 1999, marching with the “turtle brigade” for animal protection in trade agreements.

Michael’s biggest challenge has been his quest to break the solo sailing record from San Francisco to Tokyo to protest the yearly Japanese Dolphin Slaughter, which continues on today. Michael has 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.  In 2007, Michael purchased the 43’ Grainger trimaran, and rebuilt her and named her Dolphin Spirit for another attempt at the TransPacific record. Michael was ready to set sail for Tokyo in March 2011, but the tragic earthquake and tsunami struck, and he postponed the sail. Unfortunately, the years of sailing had taken its toll on Michael’s body, and he needed rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders.  It became clear that he couldn’t physically withstand the demands of a solo TransPacific sail, so he sold Dolphin Spirit, and downsized to an F-27 trimaran, named Dolphin Spirit II.

Michael with some Earth Island staff and three Heirs To Our Oceans members, and Heirs founder April Peebler, second from left.

Michael with some Earth Island staff and three Heirs To Our Oceans members, and Heirs founder April Peebler, second from left.

CORKY

Another of Michael’s passions has been the campaign for the retirement of the orca Corky from SeaWorld to a seaside sanctuary in her home waters of British Columbia.  Michael has organized the display of the nearly 2 mile long CORKY FREEDOM BANNER, and has flown a FREE CORKY spinnaker from his boat THURSDAY’S CHILD. Currently, Michael is helping with the production of a CORKY documentary to further publicize the plight of CORKY.
 

HEIRS TO OUR OCEANS

Michael is also working with HEIRS TO OUR OCEANS a group of dynamic young ocean activists, who are educating the public and policy makers about the threats to our oceans, and the solutions needed.