Maite - Deckhand (C) GRENPEACE / Sharomov
GRENPEACE / Sharomov
Maite (pronounced MY-TAY) is my cabin mate. She's also a deckhand and she is always smiling. When I sat down to talk to her, I could have sat there forever. She is 100 per cent interesting. She's from Spain. Formerly "many things" (including a lawyer and an English teacher), she has been sailing all her life, and volunteering with Greenpeace for 11 years. This is her seventh trip to sea with Greenpeace. She's worked on all three of the Greenpeace ships (Rainbow Warrior, Arctic Sunrise and Esperanza), but the Rainbow Warrior is her favourite. "I love everything about it. I have been sailing for so m any years, but there is something special about this ship. There is a kind of warmth about it that you don't get on other ships."

Her adventures with Greenpeace include an expedition to the Southern Ocean in 2004/05 to stop the whaling. Her account of the experience is harrowing. "It was really really amazing to work to save whales, but also very very hard to see the killing. When they fired the first harpoon, it made this sort of "boom" sound, and I could almost feel it. And you just hope it kills the whale quickly. But it doesn't. This one whale, they fired at it five or six times, and it still took half an hour to die."

When I ask her views on climate change, she gives me the analogy of a preying mantis. "You know how the female eats the male after they have sex? Well, imagine that humans are the male, and the planet is the female. The male is lying back (after the act) with his hands behind his head feeling very good and proud of himself, but he doesn't realise he's killing himself."

On a more plutonic note: "Everybody is really worried about it (climate change), but no one's doing anything. Everybody is busy blaming everybody else and thinking everyone else will solve it. It's like a hot potato. But you know, this is real, and this is urgent. And it's up to all of us."