17 May 2011

'Whale Wars' season 4 trailer and episode guide; premiers June 3

As we reported last month, Whale Wars will return for a fourth season starting on Friday, June 3. The show follows Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew as they attempt to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The upcoming season promises the same high-octane action as previous years but the heroes of the high seas will get an assist from high tech equipment including secret GPS devices, an extended range helicopter and a new vessel, the Gojira.

Whale Wars season four episode descriptions 401-404:

Episode 401: Battle Cry

The Bob Barker and Steve Irwin are joined by their newest vessel – the Gojira – before Sea Shepherd leader Captain Paul Watson instructs the three-ship fleet to take off in different directions, hoping to avoid being tailed as they head south. The new crew members are given a fast introduction to the Southern Ocean as the ships pass through a nasty storm on the way. While the Steve Irwin’s crew deals with the extremely harsh conditions, the Bob Barker has an entirely different problem. The massive ocean waves cause the fuel tank to spring a leak, and hundreds of gallons of crucial fuel begin pouring into the ship. In a frenzied attempt to plug the leak, chief engineer Campbell Holland smashes his head open as he attempts to fix it, covering the engine room in a pool of blood. Once the ships make it to the whaling grounds, Paul hatches a plan to do latitude sweeps with all three ships and their brand-new helicopter and finds two harpoon ships before their whalers can make a single kill. But the Sea Shepherds must chase the harpoon ship through a massive ice field – the same type of ice field that sank a fishing vessel and killed 22 people just one week earlier.

Episode 402: No Escape

Captain Paul Watson realizes that the harpoon ships that the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker are tailing will soon intercept. Fearing that they could be meeting up with the rest of the whaling fleet, Paul orders the scout vessel, the Gojira, to meet them at the rendezvous. As the Gojira approaches, Captain Lockhart Maclean sees what he believes is the Nisshin Maru factory vessel and the third harpoon ship. He attempts to call the Steve Irwin to relay the information, but the communication system malfunctions. Now Lockhart is faced with a difficult decision: go in pursuit of the ghost ships on the horizon or obey Paul’s orders and go to the rendezvous. As the Sea Shepherd vessels come together, the three captains meet to discuss a plan to engage the harpoon ships. Helicopter pilot Chris Aultman ascends into the air to help direct traffic but notices a dangerous ice field looming. Veteran Benjamin Potts has his first crack at driving one of the small boats after four years on campaign. But the Steve Irwin's hot-shot small boat driver, Chad Halstead, proved himself with his flashy driving last year and is determined to steal the show. As the long engagement unfolds, Chad, once again, is shown to be the Sea Shepherds’ go-to driver while Benjamin’s team makes a series of mistakes that could prove extremely costly to the Sea Shepherds. Meanwhile, Captain Watson decides to make a shocking move and plows into the ice field chasing a harpoon ship with reckless abandon. But the tables are turned when it appears that the remainder of the whaling fleet is actually following the Sea Shepherds.

Episode 403: Ghosts in the Machine

Tailed by a harpoon ship, the Steve Irwin enlists the help of the Gojira in an attempt to break free and find the whale factory ship Nisshin Maru. The Sea Shepherds’ brand-new weapon is finally unleashed on the whaling fleet, and Captain Lockhart Maclean is determined to slow them down. The Gojira chases after the harpoon ship, deploying stern lines and firing projectiles onto the decks. During the engagement there are several close encounters, and Captain Maclean is reminded of the Ady Gil, which was split in two during a collision last year. It turns out that today is the one-year anniversary of that incident, and Lockhart is worried that history could repeat itself. During a refueling break, the Steve Irwin’s mooring line unintentionally prop fouls the Gojira’s fragile propeller. It is a terrible situation for the Sea Shepherds as their fastest scout vessel has a long, thick rope wrapped tightly around its prop and is completely disabled. The only qualified diver on either ship, James Brook, straps on his scuba gear and dives into the freezing water. He attempts to cut the rope free, but the heavy metal propeller rises and falls with the strong ocean current, slamming into James. Meanwhile, the Bob Barker spots a large blip on their radar, and crew members believe it could be their ultimate target, the Nisshin Maru. They call in the Steve Irwin’s helicopter, and pilot Chris Aultman agrees to make a risky 180-mile reconnaissance flight through a dense fog. During his flight, Chris spots an area where he believes the factory vessel could be taking cover underneath the thick fog. But during his return, all of his communications equipment goes down, and he can’t get in touch with either of the other ships or even find them in the dense fog.

Episode 404: The Devil’s Icebox

The Bob Barker’s small boat driver, Benjamin Potts, dreams up a daring plan to get rid of the ship that’s tailing them. The plan calls for both of the Bob Barker’s small boats to hide behind an iceberg and then spring a trap on the harpoon ship as it passes. They must then place a satellite tracking device (GPS) on the side of the harpoon ship so that they may later be able to track the harpoon ship all the way to the Nisshin Maru. Once the device is secured, the small boats will distract the harpoon ship while the Bob Barker will jump from one iceberg to another until they gain the distance needed to lose the tail of the harpoon ship. Adding to the danger of this mission, the Sea Shepherds must maintain radio silence so that the fleet can't intercept any coordinates. This means that the small boat teams will be on their own in the -35 degree wind chill for hours. The other small boat releases a perfectly timed line which gets stuck in the harpoon ship’s massive propeller. But there's one problem – it's still attached to their boat, and they’re being dragged and sucked into the sharp propeller. Fortunately, they’re able to cut the line free in the nick of time but not without damaging their boat causing it to be stranded in the freezing Antarctic water. The crew is wet and cold, and two of them need to be wrapped in warming blankets as the early symptoms of hypothermia begin to set in.

Season three of Whale Wars averaged nearly 1.4 million viewers, 29% above season two's average. Season four premiers June 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet.

Daelyn Fortney | @daelyn | email
Daelyn is the co-founder and managing director of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to her work at TDIV, Daelyn homeschools her three daughters.

Photo credit: Animal Planet