From the Esperanza in the Pacific ...
Family members sell tuna at the
market in Honiara © Paul Hilton/Greenpeace
The Esperanza has just left Honiara in the Solomon Islands where I joined the ship so that we can keep you up to date on all of our adventures in the Pacific. I have replaced Jess, the webby from the Greenpeace USA office, who has reluctantly returned to her desk in Washington DC. If you've missed what? been going on in the Pacific over the past few weeks you can check out her blog here.
The ship spent 6 days in the Solomon Islands and I arrived on Saturday morning just 2 days before we left and yet it feels like I´ve already been here for a long time. Memories from being on board before came flooding back as if it was just yesterday but it's nearly 3 years since I left the ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
I have not sailed with most of the crew on board before and it's always a great pleasure to make new friends and hear new stories (speaking of stories, the photographer keeps trying to have me believe he has a chicken in his cabin!). There are people on the ship from every corner of the world and many from this particular region. But it's funny that I often I hear claims that only western folks sail around on Greenpeace ships telling other countries what to do with their environment.
Greenpeace has national and regional offices that are predominantly run by people who come from that country or region. Lagi Toribau is the lead campaigner for this trip and he comes from Fiji. Also on board we have an assistant cook from Fiji, a deckhand from Kiribati and one from Papua New Guinea and an engineer from the Solomon Islands. Then we also have folks who come from nations that send fishing fleets here. Our communications officer and our Chinese translator are both from New Zealand and we also have translators from Japan (Sakyo - from the Southern Ocean - is back on board!) and Korea while one deckhand, the radio operator and the helicopter pilot are Australian. Everyone on board actively takes part in the campaign in addition to fulfilling their regular duties.
Geoff Mamata Dennis is from the Solomon Islands and single handedly runs the Greenpeace office there but with the ship's visit he was joined by several folks from Greenpeace Australia Pacific and several local volunteers. They launched two reports while the ship was in port on fisheries and forests outlining a sustainable and equitable future for those two industries and warning the Solomon Islands that they can't allow the same to happen to the oceans as they have for the forests. These islands are the political centre for tuna fishing in the region as they are home to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and so the campaign team has been informing local and regional decision makers of the looming tuna crisis and offering solutions.
Lagi and Sari are the two campaigners on board who were also in Guam with me last year at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting. We've moved from sitting in meeting rooms witnessing the complete failure of the WCPFC last December to the international waters where the unsustainable plunder of the Pacific continues to threaten the food security and the economies of the Pacific Islanders. We are all looking forward to the weeks ahead that look set to bring enough exciting action to make a blockbuster movie!
I've created a Flickr photo set of the images I took while we were in the Solomons. Click here to see them. I also found a great set from the Pacific Greenpeace tour in 2004 AND when you get bored looking at those - you can watch the web cam up on the mast - it's working again.
- Lisa on board the Esperanza
Short clip of the sunrise through the porthole in the mess room - as the Esperanza steams towards international waters