Despite speaking on a bad line from somewhere off Antarctica, the message from Paul Watson was loud and clear:

"We will never retreat or surrender the southern oceans till we drive the Japanese whaling fleet out of here. We are not going to back down on this, and we are getting stronger every year. Every year we come down with more support."

For the fifth year running now, Watson, the charismatic 60-year-old founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is pursuing Japan's whaling fleet across the frigid Southern Ocean with his ragtag "Neptune's Navy" of supporters.