Well the good news is that our occupation of Chevron’s deepwater drill ship has reached the end of its third day and is still going strong. Timo and Naz are currently up in the pod and the word from them is that they could hardly be happier. Last time I heard from Timo he’d just finished tinkering with the solar panels and was relaxing after chowing down on a self-heating veggie curry.
The rest of our climb team are itching for their shift in the pod. Victor – who was up in the tent with Anais, and who helped rig the pod in the first place – says it’s "cosy and calm” and he’d stay up there for two weeks given the chance. The others are the same. But we’re happy that Anais and Victor are back on the ship, we missed their infectious positivity when they were up on the portaledge.
So if the good news is that our occupation is cruising towards a fourth day, what’s the bad? Well, according to the coastguard’s crackling warning, there’s a force eight gale heading this way. Ironically, it’s not the pod that’ll be affected. Perched nine metres above the sea on a twelve tonne anchor chain, Timo and Naz won’t be feeling the waves. Our ship, on the other hand, is already moving a little more than I’d like. For nearly all the crew, a gale like this is nothing special, only requiring a quick check that things are lashed down properly. For someone like me, whose sea legs are still on the stumpy end, it calls for a pre-emptive hit on the ginger stash.
And now for the ugly. Well if we needed any kind of reminder of why we’re here, it came today in the form of news from Norway. We mentioned before that UK government representatives were heading to Bergen to scupper a German call for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Well today we heard they’d succeeded. But what makes this bitter pill particularly hard to swallow is that in the end the Germans weren’t even calling for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. All they wanted was a commitment to discuss it at the next OSPAR meeting. But even that was too much for our supposed representatives, who made sure – along with Norway and Denmark – to delete any mention of a moratorium from the final conference text.
But this post was always going to end upbeat, since along with the incredible support and messages we’ve been getting from around the world, our protest here off Shetland is gathering strength. And now you’re a part of it. Yesterday, we asked you to come up with slogans that we could make into a banner for our pod – to tell politicians in the UK and elsewhere what we really think about deepwater drilling. Well now we’ve chosen one. Thanks for all of your great suggestions, we just discussed them in the mess room after dinner and have picked one we think you’ll like. Which one? Stay tuned and find out…
-- James on the Esperanza
7.30pm: update from Timo and Naz in the pod
The sun is setting on the end of our second day here - the third day of occupation! Nice to stick your head out of the pod and see the beautiful islands of Shetland in the setting sunlight. Now we're chilled here - listening to flamenquito and watching our stuff dancing on the walls.
Photo: © Will Rose / Greenpeace