Anyone who has ever lived in a major city can appreciate the fine art of parallel parking. I, myself, am a master at squeezing my Mazda Protege seemingly effortlessly between two gas-guzzling SUVs. But parking a 163-foot ship on a 145-foot dock is a whole new ball game.
We slowly approached the undersized space at about 13:00 (that's 1:00 p.m. to you) yesterday. Docking a ship is when the deckhands truly shine. Three of the more burly hands were stationed at the front of the ship. They began by tossing the heaving line to some marina workers waiting on the dock. The workers quickly secured the line to the cleat and a game of tug-of-war ensued. The hands used all their might taking up the slack to shrink the distance between the vessel and the dock. Just when it looked like we were in the clear, the cleat ripped from the dock with a resounding bang.
Our principle of non-violence precludes us from destroying property, but I don't think this really counts. After we hauled the cleat from the sea and managed to dock the Arctic Sunrise on our second try, we happily returned the structure to the marina.
Good 'Ol USA
We were welcomed into the United States by a dozen or so armed officers of the U.S. Coast Guard. They boarded and searched the ship, and ensured all of our paperwork was in order. The special attention was a result of our ship being classified as a "High Interest Vessel." I'm not sure if all ships painted with bright rainbows and whales are of high interest to the Coast Guard, or just us.
The Coast Guard was not the only one curious about our ship. We docked next to the White Cloud - a GORGEOUS yacht. The cooks onboard prepared a care package for us, and showed up bearing nuts, chocolate, coffee and more. In exchange we offered some Greenpeace buttons, which they were thrilled to receive. Apparently, it is not uncommon for people to bestow gifts to the ship. The crew was grateful to receive the goodies, but I think we were all secretly waiting for the White Cloud to give us its hot tub onboard as well. Alas, it was not meant to be.
Later in the evening, some familiar faces from the D.C. office appeared. They've come to help us prepare for a donors reception to be held Friday evening. Without our donors, our work would not be possible, so it's nice when we have a chance to show our gratitude. We're planning on serving all our drinks tonight with ice taken from a Greenland glacier - how's that for class? Take THAT, White Cloud.
P.S. Welcome aboard Gionni and Kevin - our new Radio Operator and Bosun, respectively.