Westward Ho: Day 3 – the reception committee

What a welcome. Another smooth night, up at dawn, then reached the spot marked ‘x’ at 8am to find ourselves encircled by a pod of at least ten Right Whales. They came really close, blowing and breaching as whales do and swam alongside us as though escorting us to the spot, then suddenly they weren’t there anymore. You can’t tell when they leave – you just realise they haven’t been to the surface for a while.

What an amazing omen. The guardians of the sea, right on the drill spot, then handing over to us. We all felt the thrill of their wildness, their hugeness, and their vulnerability,despite their grandeur, to the risk of an oil blowout and to the reality of climate change and acid seas damaging their food sources.

No sign yet of the Ignoble Bob.

As the morning went on we watched one after another, five sails appear on the horizon and move towards us – Baltazar, Vega, Ratbag, Friendship, Shearwater II. By the appointed 12 noon we were all on site – not bad for a bunch of small sailing boats over a wide ocean. Henk picked up folk off each boat for a lunch party on Tiama and James cooked up a pasta storm with a sauce of every conceivable vegetable and we all told stories about our various journeys.

Then our adventurous videographer, Pascale, climbed the mast for a few shots of all of us grouped around the “Free the Arctic 30” banner to send them some hope and support from the other side of the world. Different companies, different countries thousands of miles apart, but the same issue, the same oil risks, the same climate, the same planet.

I salute them; their course is so much harder than ours.


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