Video Blog Seventeen

Tim Foreman, skipper of the SV Friendship discusses life at sea and his views on the world’s “fossil fuel addiction”

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Video Blog Sixteen

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Video Blog Fifteen

http://oilfreeseasflotilla.org.nz The Anadarko drill ship Noble Bob Douglas arrives at the deep sea drill site 110 nautical miles West of Raglan to find the Oil Free Seas flotilla occupying the site is informed that the SV Vega is not moving.

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What are these cowboys doing in our waters?

The SV Vega is squeezed between the Noble Bob Douglas and her support vessel, the Bailey TIde.

Despite all the rhetoric about safety being bandied about, these operators are clearly into playing risky games.

We have just watched the support vessel Bailey Tide create a dangerous situation. At around 1810 hours,without any warning, the Bailey Tide began to move sideways squeezing Vega towards the side of Noble Bob Douglas, moving in very close. At about 1820, Bailey Tide used her thrusters to create a wash that swung the Vega sideways causing her bow to get close to the Bailey Tide. Fortunately the helmsman of Vega was able to use full engine power and rudder to get safely away from the situation.

We are all well aware that Vega is within the “exclusion zone”, bearing witness, and representing the views of thousands of New Zealanders who are opposed to deep sea oil drilling in our waters. Anadarko’s Captains are well aware of this too, yet, they refused to acknowledge repeated calls from Vega or clarify their intentions. There is no excuse for this cavalier attitude towards safety and peoples lives.

For me as a professional mariner it was very upsetting to witness this sort of behavior by other so called professional mariners on the Anadarko vessels, they seem to have a total disregard for safety at sea and the rules of the road at sea, not a good sign for the upcoming inherently dangerous exploratory deep sea oil drilling operations.

We have to ask, who invited this Liberian flagged vessel, under the command of Texan cowboys, into New Zealand waters? Why are they allowed to operate when the EPA has neither seen nor approved their oil spill response plan?

What are these cowboys doing in our waters?

Daniel Mares, Mate SV Tiama

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Video blog Fourteen

http://oilfreeseasflotilla.org.nz Barclay Armstrong performs a haka on his stand up paddle board amidst the Oil Free Seas flotilla at Anadarko’s deep sea drill-site in the Tasman Sea as they await the arrival of the drill-ship Noble Bob Douglas.

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Images from our ‘meeting’ with the Noble Bob Douglas

Video Blog Thirteen: On SV Balthazar

Andy and Rosalind from the SV Balthazar talk about their reasons for joining the Oil Free Seas Flotilla.

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Video Blog Twelve: On SV Ratbag

Footage from the crew of the SV Ratbag.

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Video Blog Eleven: Bunny, Jeanette and Niamh

Jeanette, Bunny and Niamh talk about deep sea oil, climate change, solutions and the future. And they talk about why they are the others are sailing to confront Anadarko over its plans to drill for oil in the deep seas off the West coast of Aotearoa.

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Waiting for Bob

Out on the Tasman it is still, sunny and calm. The water has been so flat lately that, ironically, it’s technically known as “oily seas” because there’s a sheen over the water. Take note of this though because it’s the only time you’ll ever see me happy with oily seas!

The SV Tiama awaits the Noble Bob Douglas at the deep sea drill-site about 110NM West of Raglan

This morning as we all sat on Vega having cups of tea and eating chocolate biscuits a very large right whale breached and wandered through the middle of the boats. It stopped the conversation in its tracks as we all stood open-mouthed, pointing.

This is also a very popular area for sharks (with their fins on) which has put a few people off swimming but did not dampen Barclay Armstrong’s standup paddling spirit as he took his board and visited the circle of boats as the sun set yesterday evening.

Out here we’ve been joined by seabirds, sharks, whales, seals and barracuda – it’s clearly an area of ocean very much alive both on top and underneath. That’s why we’re here, to keep it that way.

It really is a spectacularly beautiful site and it’s amazingly encouraging to see all this beautiful wildlife. This goes for not only the massive ocean behemoths we’ve seen but right through to the less ‘glamorous’ ocean creatures.

At night, sitting on watch under a full moon with the nav lights on the masts of the five boats spread out in the dark, it really makes you feel like you are at the centre of something. On nights like this, you can see a whole array of jellyfish, which look their most splendid in the moonlight, and make you feel as if you are actually in outer space rather than in the Tasman sea.

There are really a lot of similarities between deep space and the deep sea. We know very little about these places and  we have yet to discover and learn so much about them. While we still only know a tiny amount of the beauty that exists out here, it’s clear that even from just what we’ve seen since the flotilla launched that the value of an oil free sea goes far beyond the short term gains of risky drilling.

While it’s easy to get caught up with thoughts like this, we have to remember to keep our focus and sharp look out at night to  make sure we all dont drift into each other or there is not suddenly a giant blob on the horizon, all lit up and heading our way.

Of course that’s why we’re out here, not to enjoy the beauty of the Tasman but to keep it oil free and pristine for generations to come.

Interest on land is clearly growing and we’ve been doing a lot of media calls today; Radio Live!, ABC and others have been in touch and the Banners on the Beach event on the West coast this Saturday is really gaining traction we hear.

Tomorrow the big bad (ig)Noble Bob might decide to show his face and find that 6 little yachts, backed with a great following on land have beaten Anadarko to where they’re planning to start their risky drilling.

Bunny McDiarmid