“Nick, we need all hands on deck in 10 minutes, we are leaving Argentina and heading for South Africa!” These were the words delivered to me by fellow deckhand, Manuel, so I leapt out of my bunk, with the excitement of a 10 year old rushing for an icecream truck, and took up my position on the stern of the Rainbow Warrior.
It took us a little over three weeks to cross the South Atlantic, from Buenos Aires to Cape Town. The transit was filled with many memorable moments, but I must selfishly confess that the most memorable moment was waking up to see low hanging clouds on Table Mountain and the warm South African sun gently peaking over our beloved landmark.
Our arrival at the V&A Waterfront, five days ago, was met with an awesome marimba band, volunteers and staff from Greenpeace Africa as well as awestruck glares of Capetonians , who seemed to have their eyes glued to the grandeur of the A-frame masts of the Rainbow Warrior that help carry over 1200 square meters of sail – enabling the Rainbow Warrior to use the wind 80% - 90% of the time as ‘fuel’.
The excitement of the maiden voyage of the Rainbow Warrior in South Africa was exponentially multiplied this past Sunday as we hosted the first ever openboat for the Rainbow Warrior in Africa.
The people of Cape Town arrived in their hundreds, from the young to the old – the long-time supporters of Greenpeace to awestruck (hopefully) future supporters.
I must at this time, congratulate the crew of the Rainbow Warrior, staff of Greenpeace Africa and the volunteers that made this day a truly memorable one.
I think that history will tell of the significance of the visit of the Rainbow Warrior to Africa. Few would have thought in 1985, when the French secret service agents bombed the first Rainbow Warrior and sunk her to the bottom of the ocean, that third Rainbow Warrior would be hosting an open boat in post-apartheid South Africa.
Both post-apartheid South Africa and the legacy of the Rainbow Warrior are inspirations and tremendous learning curves for generations of social and environmental activist.
We hope that those that visited us have drawn inspiration from the successful campaigning history of the Rainbow Warrior, and will join Greenpeace Africa in our campaigns to end the destructive fishing practices in the oceans of West Africa, the deforestation of the Congo Basin Rainforests, and to shift the South African government to implement the Energy [R]evolution.