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Under sail onboard the new Rainbow Warrior

by Harmony Lambert

November 1, 2011

Almost two weeks ago, the new Rainbow Warrior was launched from Bremen, Germany to start defending our environment and the communities that live in it.  Our first stop was Hamburg, where Greenpeace Germany’s office and warehouse is housed.  The city is vibrant and fun, and so many people love Greenpeace there.  We hosted a few days worth of open boats, where more than 3,000 people showed up to check out our ship and meet its crew.

It was so inspiring to see so many people passionate about the environment.  We had people from all walks of life: a blind man that used to be a sailor who wanted to feel where our masts were mounted to the hull, children from local schools whose eyes were full of wonder as they looked about the bridge, people who had been Greenpeace supporters all their life, and even people from another environmental organization that has ships of their own, interested in checking out our new sailing vessel.  The feeling of seeing thousands of people so ready to defend our environment on a ship that was entirely funded by people just like you gives me hope that our future holds something more than corporate greed and resource depletion.  This movement is truly people-powered, and I love it.

At the beginning of this year I was onboard the Arctic Sunrise for quite a bit, but I never went out to sea with the ship while it was in the United States.  Words can’t describe how anxious and excited I was to finally get out onto open water in one of our Greenpeace ships, and the fact that it would be on the Rainbow Warriora sailing vessel built specifically for us, with more than 13,000 square feet of sailswas absolutely mind-blowing for me.

We left Hamburg in the dead of night at 2:30am, and I helped cast off our bow mooring lines.  Floating down the Elbe River at night is a sight I will never forget for my entire life, and enwrapped me with a calm that I have seldom felt.  At around 9am we left the Elbe River and were on open waters, at which point we put up our sails.  Because the ship is so new, the crew is still working out the kinks and getting used to how best to set the sails, but with all hands helping out, we were able to get the sails up quickly and watch as the ship sailed under complete wind energy.  I’ll tell you somethingsails are the quietest engine I’ve ever heard.

The next few days were filled with putting the sails up and down, then back up again to get as much practice in as possible before we arrived here in Amsterdam.  Along the way the Rainbow Warrior took action against a coal plant and called for clean energy now. 

The next day we were joined by the Beluga II (Greenpeace Germany’s sailing vessel) and the Argus (Greenpeace Netherlands boat) while passing a wind farm.  Looking out on the North Sea with three Greenpeace ships all next to each other, and a rigid-hull inflatable zipping in between them reminded me why Greenpeace is more than just an organizationit’s a huge, worldwide family.  The best part is that all of our supporters are part of this family too, and the donations that you all contributed to building the Rainbow Warrior are what made this moment possible.

Now the ship is in Amsterdam, where we are hosting open boats, a market and workshops, and a festival later this week.  I can’t wait to meet more inspiring people with their own stories while here, and share these stories with you all.  Until then, keep taking action with Greenpeace and fight on for the only world we have!

For the Mountains,

Harmony

Harmony Lambert is currently onboard the Rainbow Warrior as she makes her first voyage around Europe.  Stay tuned for more updates, pictures, and videos from the journey, and follow along at http://www.facebook.com/newhandsondeck.  Photos are also available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/brian-fitzgerald/

Harmony Lambert

By Harmony Lambert

Harmony Lambert (Chumash Nation) was raised in Northern California and currently works for Greenpeace USA in Oakland, California. She is part of the Indigenous Peoples Power Project (IP3), as well as a member of the Ruckus Society. Her work centers on indigenous sovereignty and rights, and their intersection with environmentalism. She is a direct action trainer for Greenpeace, as well as other networks.

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