Video Blog Five: The Ratbag leaves Opua

As the SV Ratbag launches from Opua, the skipper Chris Davenport has some inspiring words to say.

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Kaikoura send off

Monday, 11th November

Dear all,

Kaikoura locals welcome Tiama with open arms and banners
Kaikoura locals welcome Tiama with open arms and banners

We we had  another roaring send off, this time from Kaikoura, we arrived off the peninsula at first light this morning running under bare poles before a nice southerly gale, having a hard time slowing the boat down so we didn’t get in too early in the dark. It is a rock-strewn coastline with only a few places to get in safe close to the coastline.

As we were approaching North Wharf at 0700 hours there were already ‘Stop Deep Sea Oil’ banners flying ashore. I had thought to get in quietly and have some breakfast before anybody was around, but the Kaikoura locals seem to get up at the crack of dawn!

We came alongside the wharf but after only a short time decided to move as there was a nasty swell running up behind us, straining the lines to the max, so we anchored off and then rowed ashore, where there was a big breakfast waiting for us, and a very welcoming crowd.

We brought the foresail ashore and it is now covered with messages of support from the people of Kaikoura as well as the people from Oil Free Otago and Bluff.

The speeches for the send off were short but heartfelt, all very much in the spirit of the moment. We did receive a blessing and some special taonga from the local area to take with us, including a vertebra found on the beach of a local dolphin, some of the local limestones, one for each of the crew to mark the drilling site as no go zone and a nice hand made heart to show love and support.

I feel so inspired by this send off. There is such a strong opposition to this deep sea oil drilling, the people of Kaikoura gave us a clear mandate to carry on with our voyage and to take this message to Anadarko.

As an aside, we did not get any more beauty products on this send off but during the trip up from Bluff to Kaikoura, the Tiama crew have been liberally applying the beauty products and nice soaps that were given to us in Bluff by Hydro Surf Dunedin, and amazingly it seemed to have made a difference! We got a big bag of hugs and kisses (some to be saved for later) from the local wahine in Kaikoura and even managed to snatch a local girl as an extra crew on Tiama. So things are looking up on that front and the crew are becoming easier on the eye.

Off towards Wellington now.



Video Blog Four: The Auckland Sendoff

The fourth video in the series sees us in Auckland for the launch of the SV Vega, SV Friendship and SV Shearwater II.

As Steve Abel said on the day, “The importance of standing in defence of our oceans and our coastlines against the great and unnecessary risks of deep sea oil drilling could not be greater than it is at this time in history because there is no future in oil – we need to choose a future based on clean energy.”

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Video Blog Three: Paihia

Video blog 3 finds us on the streets of Paihia where a few people told us what they thought as a local boat called Ratbag prepared to join the Oil Free Seas Flotilla.

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Video Blog Two: Tiama in Kaikoura

In the second of our series of video blogs, we get to see the Tiama calling in to Kaikoura to pick up crew before heading to Wellington to meet the rest of the flotilla.

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Video Blog One: Kaikoura

In the first of our video blogs, Pascale talks to Kaikoura folk about deep sea drilling as she waits for Henk and Tiama to pick here up on their way to Wellington.

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BLOG: Tiama sets sail from Bluff

Well we are on our way to join the other boats in the Oil Free Seas Flotilla. We had a fantastic and slightly emotional send off from Bluff about 25 people on the wharf and a few local journalists. Most of the people in the group were from the Oil Free Otago group, a fantastic bunch of people determined to keep deep sea oil exploration of their coast. There were also quite a few locals from Bluff and Invercargill on the wharf including the local Green MP.

© Joel Christian Ryan

And for the sceptics, of course we had to take on some fuel before we left. Yes we are still, as a society, dependent on oil, although we are principally a sailing boat. We are sailing out to protest against deep sea oil exploration. There is a huge difference in risk and  the possible consequences between deep sea oil exploration (in this case, approx. 1500 metres deep) compared to the current shallow water oil production in New Zealand waters.

Most people signed the foresail of Tiama to help carry their message to stop deep sea oil exploration to Anardako, we will be flying this proudly.

© Joel Christian Ryan

Oil Free Otago also gave us a feather from a Godwit (the greatest of the Pacific travelers), a hand carved amulet with some good magic in it, and of course a karakia.
They also gave us a box of beauty products, to distribute between the other boats in the flotilla. After having a good look at the Tiama crew they must have thought that we needed that.
Much appreciated, but probably a lost cause for this lot!  (I joke, thanks very much to the generous souls for donating the heavy duty sunscreen!)

Cheers to everyone for your support,


Skipper, SV Tiama

The Anadarko Amendment

Greenpeace flotilla 04

The Anadarko Amendment states: that it is illegal to interfere with any structure or ship that is in an offshore area that is to be used in mining activities, with an exclusion zone of 500 meters.

This means that no matter what, we can no longer get any closer that 500 meters and fly our banners and flags in order to protest against deep-sea oil exploration. It is also has implications for the international rules of the road that are not clear. More information about the Amendment can be found at:

The flotilla is fully aware of the law and we intend to protest peacefully and safely. But we care what happens to our marine environment and coastlines. We will raise our voices loudly against deep-sea oil exploration and the law restricting our rights to protest at sea.

With our peaceful protest at sea, we intend to oppose deep-sea oil exploration from going ahead along our precious coastlines. Remember, the petrol at the pump is not going to get any cheaper no matter how much oil they pump up out of the ocean (it will be owned and exported by foreign companies), but as a country we carry all the risk

The Nuclear Free Seas Flotilla


There is a history of seafarers taking their boats out to protect their environment. One of the more recent was the flotilla of boats that departed from the Pacific rim counties to sail into the pacific to protest and stop French nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll. These peace flotillas set out year after year and eventually in 1995 the testing was brought to a halt.

Encounter at sea

In New Zealand the Peace Squadron made up mostly of small local vessels set out time and time again to protest against the arrival of nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered vessels into their ports, and large thanks to them New Zealand is now nuclear free.

In 2001 a flotilla of small sailing vessels set out form Australia and New Zealand set out into the Tasman Sea to peacefully protest the transport of MOX (mixed oxide fuel) plutonium fuel through their waters. The idea was to make these ships of death visible, and to raise awareness that up to 80 of these shipments are planned over the next 10 years.

This protest helped strengthen the resolve of the people in Japan who live around the first nuclear power station planning to load MOX plutonium fuel. They held a referendum and managed to block the loading of MOX. To date not a single light bulb is lit up in Japan by MOX plutonium fuel.

In June 2002 another shipment of Plutonium came through the Pacific. This time it was faulty MOX fuel being sent back from Japan to the UK. A flotilla of 11 boats from Australia, Vanuatu and New Zealand set sail into the Tasman Sea. This time the two 100 meter- long armed plutonium carriers actually stopped for the flotilla and waited until the middle of the night to sneak through the line of nuclear free seas flotilla boats. One wonders what these ships have to hide that cannot see the light of day.

At the same time there was also a flotilla of 5 boats waiting of Cape Horn in case the ships chose that route to go to Europe instead of via the Cape of Good Hope.

Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla

A Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla, formed by people concerned about nuclear transports and the operations of the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK, prepared to peacefully and lawfully protest the faulty MOX transport.

When the faulty MOX plutonium-carrying freighters entered the Irish Sea a flotilla of 13 boats forming a symbolic chain across the entrance of the Irish Sea awaited them. The two plutonium-carrying ships sailed straight through this only to encounter another flotilla of 10 protest yachts was at the entrance of the port of Barrow.

These protests were very successful in getting the message across to the various governments and the nuclear industry. No MOX plutonium fuel has since been transported along this route.


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