Andrew’s Fourth of July
by Guest Blogger
July 6, 2005
Normally, the only ice I see on the 4th of July is in a beer cooler.
But this time I went for a walk on a big floating chunk of it.
What struck me most were the winding turquoise streams feeding in to
pools so blue it startles you. Maybe to a Greenlander this scenery is
perfectly common. For me, walking this frozen icescape was entirely
surreal. So, how to describe this scene for those of you who’ll never
get to walk on sea ice yourselves? Well, if I am going to be perfectly
honest, it was like the world’s best ever arctic themed miniature golf
course. Only better.
I will also say that it was surprisingly easy to get around on – not too
slippery at all. There was a light snowy covering, which made for good
traction, except over by the pressure ridge (where the ice has been
scrunched up on itself), which had large ice granules – maybe from
melting and refreezing.
Access to the ice was via a ladder rigged on the bow, which was wedged
up against the ice. Several times, but fortunately not while anyone was
on it, the ship drifted off – leaving the ladder hanging above open
water. Mental note: always good to look down before climbing down.
And, in case you’re wondering, yes we could have used the helicopter or
one of the boats to reach the ice, but in this case a ladder was more
Why do it?
An entire ship, with a crew of 27, doesn’t stay parked for half a
day just so the web editor can stretch his legs. This week, leaders
from eight of the world’s wealthiest nations (the G8) are meeting in the
UK. We decided to send a message to help nudge the Bush administration
towards joining the rest of the G8 nations in committing to legally
binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s not an easy job at all, but we were resolved to give it our best
shot – mindful that we need to play our role as part of a much larger
movement towards renewable energy. After a brainstorming session in the
mess, and conversations with the U.S. office, the two messages pictured
are settled on. Polar bears are only one of the many species threatened
with extinction by global warming.
Personally, I liked the idea of using the U.S. flag, and doing this on the
Fourth of July. I’ve always felt that Greenpeace is also part of a much
larger movement of people committed to protecting and exercising freedom
of speech. That the artwork was actually done by a Canadian, the guy in
the polar bear suit is Australian and that there are a dozen more
nationalities represented on board, seems entirely fitting. After all,
people who really believe there are solutions to global warming, and who
really believe in the power of free speech, are not confined to any one