Esperanza Arrives in the Solomons
by Jessica Miller
April 23, 2008
Last night, as the sun was setting, I got my first glimpse of land in 3 weeks. When I woke up, I could see that we were passing islands. The Esperanza pulled into Honiara, Solomon Islands this morning. The ship and crew were greeted with a traditional welcome, which if I hadn’t gotten a head’s up earlier probably would have scared me, a little. In the challenge part of the welcome, island warriors wave long spears around and scream at you. The entire crew were led by the captain off the ship and the warriors continued screaming and waving the spears. The proper response to this challenge is to hold still and stare straight ahead without a reaction. After a few minutes of challenge, the warriors all walked to one side and the captain walked forward. We had passed the test. There was some press there and a group of men playing pan flute drums to greet us.
Gordon Darcey Lilo the Minister for Environment made a speech welcoming Greenpeace to the Solomons and recognized the work we have been doing in the Pacific Commons. And Joel (the Esperanza’s Captain) also made a speech thanking the people of the Solomons for welcoming us.
Afterwards, all those that welcomed us came onboard for a press conference and a look around the ship. Photos from our work in the Pacific over the last few years hung in the helicopter hanger and people seemed to be really interested in them.
We’re in Honiara for the rest of the week and there will be an official open boat on Saturday 10:00 to 5:00. If you are in the Solomons be sure to stop by and take a tour of the Esperanza!