The Esperanza and the Rainbow Warrior (C) GREENPEACE / Sharomov
Ahh Lyttelton, town of seething port, rolling hills and the heady Wunderbar. And temporary home to two Greenpeace ships. It doesn't happen often, and it's quite a sight to behold in little old New Zealand. The Esperanza (which was down in the Southern Ocean over the summer chasing the Japanese whalers) and the Rainbow Warrior are now stern-to-bow at Jetty 3, Port Lyttleton. There are many other big ships in here too and i have to say the Rainbow Warrior looks a little like a bath toy in comparison. The Esperanza has been here for a few weeks in dry dock and is due to leave for oceans work in the Pacific on Thursday.
What to do when the crews of two Greenpeace ships meet - old friends many of them - but take to the local bar? So after hosting a handful of local politicians for Sunday dinner, off we went into the night, maritime misfits with freshly combed hair ... more about that later.
It's great to be in Lyttelton. It's great to be in the South Island. But our arrival has been marred a little by stringent new ISPS (International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code) regulations which mean that the port is run very much like a high security prison. Bar frisking before entry, there are no corners being cut here. Every time we re-enter the port we must go through a tight security gate, show photo ID, and then get DRIVEN from the gate to the boat by a man in a uniform in a mini-van. All very Paremoremo. And not very good for the climate i might add.
But the most upsetting bit about all this is that we're required to provide names for everyone who's coming to visit the ship which really throws a spanner in the works for our "open days". We now need an RSVP list for everyone who wants to come. And if your name is not on the gate, they won't let you in. So it's more like a "half-open day".
THERE IS AN UPDATE ON THIS
But if you're a Lytteltonian or Cantabrian, don't let this put you off! Go here to register and get your name "on the door" - and don't forget your photo ID. This is, after all, an Orwellian world in which we live.