Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
by Maureen Bonner
September 28, 2005
After two busy weeks in Massachusetts, we are now making our way to Long Island, New York. We tried to make the six Open Boats we held as exciting as possible, so our supporters felt that they’d gotten their money’s worth. Then again, the Open Boats were free, so the bar was set pretty low…
All jokes aside, some people drove from all over New England for the chance to see a Greenpeace ship and meet the crew. Many had to wait in line for hours and some days we didn’t have the best weather. It meant a lot to us that these supporters we’re so committed to the event and we did our best to return the favor.
In Boston and Provincetown visitors simply walked up our gangway from land and the tour began. But for Hyannis, Nantucket and Wood’s Hole we had to anchor the ship at sea because our draft (new word #87 I have learned since coming onboard) was too big. So on these days, supporters got to ride a rigid inflatable boat from the dock to the ship. Very few people in the world get the opportunity to actually ride in a Greenpeace RIB, and these supporters enjoyed every minute of it.
What they did NOT enjoy was climbing the three-rung rope ladder from the RIB onto the Arctic Sunrise. Judging by the look of horror on their faces, you would think they saw a ghost, rather than a few feet of rope and some wood. But with a little pep talk and crewmembers helping them up the ladder both from the RIB and the ship, everyone conquered the death-defying feat.
The Magical Mystery Tour
The visitors congregated on the heli deck, and as soon as their hearts stopped racing, the tour began. Usually a deckhand had the honor of leading the group throughout the ship, and their presentation style and knowledge would put any professional tour guide to shame.
Next, the group would go up to the bridge, where the navigational controls are located. The deckhand would give an overview of the equipment and either the captain or one of the mates would be on hand to answer any specific technical questions.
Finally, the group would go down to the hold for a campaign presentation. A short video was shown explaining Project Thin Ice 2005, and then Chris (campaigner) would speak about the proposed wind farm.
After a question and answer period, the tour concluded and it was once again time to climb the ladder down to the RIB. Most supporters easily descended the three rungs that terrified them a mere 45 minutes ago and left the ship with shouts of thanks and waves to the crew.
Our opponents (the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound) have called us “outsiders” – which is ironic since we have more members in Massachusetts than they do. I think the turnout for our Open Boats proves just how in touch we are with residents of the Cape and Islands. We were happy to share our home away from home with our supporters and even welcomed those who disagree with us onboard. I would be surprised if Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. extended an invitation to us to join him on the six-acre Kennedy Compound to discuss the wind farm issue any time soon. But if he does, I’m up for a game of tennis or a flick in his motion picture theater.