Calm seas and a false alarm

Daniel at the Helm of Vega

It’s lunchtime and we are visiting Tiama, Jeanette and I and having some lunch and doing some emails. Well actually Jeanette is making the lunch and I am doing the emails.

It was once again a beautiful night, clear skies, flat seas, we are rolling a bit though so sleeping is a bit of a roly, poly affair and you need to stuff clothes and gear around you to keep you in one spot.

This morning it was overcast but has now cleared and is sunny again! Apparently there is only a 2% chance of getting this kind of flat calm weather in the Tasman and I think we are using up the whole 2% this week, as its supposed to last a few more days.

Early this morning we were alerted to the fact that one of the support vessels for the drill-ship Bob Douglas, the Hart Tide, was on its way and we figured it might signal the imminent arrival of the drill-ship.

It turned out to be a false alarm after the Hart Tide turned around and vanished back over the horizon after a short while but it sure put a jolt through the crew and got us thinking clearly about where we are and exactly why we’re here.

We are right now on the site, at the place that Anadarko intends to drill a big hole in the seabed in some of our deepest coastal waters in search of more oil. Finding oil won’t make a scrap of difference to the price we pay at the pump but will make a big difference to our climate and wastes yet another opportunity to invest in the kind of clean energy and tech that will give us a fighting chance in the global economy of the 21st century.

This is desperate extreme frontier drilling – like drilling in the Arctic. The sort of drilling that used to be uneconomic due to the high level of risk, but now the big oil companies are increasingly willing to take more risk.

But the real risk is taken by us, not by Anadarko. A spill here could devastate NZ’s marine environment, our good reputation as a clean producer that is the bedrock of our economy – and also our very way of life.

If things go wrong here, oil could flow into the ocean unchecked for weeks on end and wash up on beaches on much of the North Island’s west coast.

So we’ll stay here as long as we can.

Bunny McDiarmid

Co-Skippers of the Vega, Daniel Mares and Inigo Wijnen, en route to the drilling area from Auckland.