I’m writing from on board our new crowdfunded boat Taitu after a night I’ll never forget...
We arrived in Napier early this morning, after leaving Wellington on Saturday afternoon where we had a wonderful naming ceremony for Taitu.
It started well, with a pod of dolphins bidding us farewell from Wellington harbour. But as we headed up towards Castle Point on the wild east coast, the weather turned. It was much worse than forecast - hurricane force winds, water spouts and heavy seas. It all came at us - seven people, Taitu, in a wild ocean.
There were a few anxious moments, and a few Wellington dinners were left behind to feed the fish. But I never worried about safety. Taitu is small, but it’s seaworthy and we were lucky to have some old sea dogs in charge. Our crew know boats backwards. They briefed us on everything that could go wrong and brilliantly steered us through the storm. It was a pleasure to serve on their boat.
Some of us were seasick, nobody slept much, and we all got a bit wet but it was all worth it. The next day was magical. The seas were calm and the sun was shining. A new group of dolphins joined us as if to encourage us on our mission. I didn’t want to be anywhere else.
Our mission is to confront Statoil and Chevron’s seismic blasting oil exploration that’s happening right now about 50 nautical miles from where we are. We want to show the greedy oil industry, and their political cronies like the Fossil Fuel President Trump, that they’re not welcome in NZ waters.
In Napier we met onboard the Taitu with Ngahiwi Tomoana, the Chair of Ngati Kahungunu, who are also protesting against the oil exploration in their waters. Ngati Kahungunu have sent their ocean going waka - Te Matau a Māui - out to make contact with The Beast and tell them they are not welcome. From our base in Napier we aim to join them out there soon!
The forecast isn’t great for the next few days but we’ll be keeping a keen eye on it and readying ourselves and Taitu, so watch this space!
Being on Taitu, I was reminded strongly of what it’s all about. The dolphins ‘doing ballet’ with the boat, the albatross swooping above, and the great expanse of ocean on one side, and on the other, Aotearoa.
If we are to have a future, the oil industry must have no future. That’s why I’m so determined to end oil. And it’s real honour to have so many Greenpeace supporters with me.
You can follow the rest of our mission online here:
Russel and the whole crew on Taitu