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.