The Esperanza © Will Rose / Greenpeace

How about this for great timing?

The Esperanza has arrived in the Pacific – the same ocean where Greenpeace started its first campaign – just in time for our 40th anniversary later this month.

In 1971 we were protesting against nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 2011 we’re campaigning for marine reserves to restore health of oceans, the recovery of important species such as tuna and building resilience to climate change.

From small beginnings we now have offices around the world so it’s fitting that the 32 crew on this tour of the Pacific are represented by 20 nationalities.

Here’s a snapshot of just three of the people on board.

© Paul Hilton / Greenepeace

Our captain is Waldemar Wichmann from Argentina. He started sailing with us back in 2000 on the Arctic Sunrise as a navigator. This is his first Pacific tour. Over the years he says he has noticed how campaigns by the Esperanza, Rainbow Warrior II and Arctic Sunrise have increased public awareness of our oceans as well as issues like climate change and toxic waste. Waldemar says he loves his job as it combines his two passions – sailing and the environment.

© Paul Hilton / Greenepeace

Karli Thomas is our expedition leader. She’s from the New Zealand office and was onboard the Esperanza the last time it toured the Pacific in 2009 (back then the ship was blue but has now been painted green matching the Arctic Sunrise and Rainbow Warrior III, which will be launched next month. Karli has been an oceans campaigner with us for seven years. She says we need to learn from the problems caused by overfishing around the world and to take action now to protect the Pacific before it is too late.

© Paul Hilton / Greenepeace

Felipe Vallejo, from Ecuador, is the dive team leader and was also aboard the last time we were in the Pacific. He is in charge of getting our video and photo teams into the right places safely to document marine life and destructive fishing methods. Felipe says the Pacific still has the diversity of sea life that you might have seen years ago but not the abundance. This makes it all the more important to protect what we have now, he says.

To give you more of an insight into life on board the Esperanza and the ‘Defending our Pacific’ tour we’ll be profiling other crew members over the coming weeks.

Phil Crawford is the communications officer currently onboard the Esperanza. He is based in Greenpeace New Zealand's Auckland office.