Westward Ho: life inside the line

By Gareth Renowden 24/11/2013


Imprisoned within one square kilometer of water, two hundred kilometers from land, our only point of reference in a black ocean the brightly lit deathship. Confined within an invisible line we must not cross. Missing our friends who must stay outside the same invisible line. We are never still – there is no parking out here and the tiller must be constantly active to keep us all here, the engine on idle. We do two hour watches overnight.

The other boats meet once a day to talk and socialise and we hear them on our radio talking about how good the scones, pancakes and coffee are. But we choose to stay in prison.

Huge inspiration to hear of seven thousand kiwis gathered on 48 beaches in support of the campaign. We decided we needed to relay that good news to our 200 neighbours, and not on the normal channel 16, which we think goes only to the bridge. So we used their working channel, which everyone on board should hear, and told them about the mobilization on the beaches and how our government has misled Anadarko. Then each boat in turn talked about why they are here and asked them to go home.

We have binoculars and camera and video trained on them and they on us. When we watch them they try to hide their cameras.

This morning: a safety drill preceded by an ear rupturing blast on their horn. We learned today that usually precedes drilling.

We take seriously our responsibility to entertain these poor blokes (well, we did see one woman), who are confined in an even smaller prison than ours, though with rather more mod cons. So today, we are putting on orange overalls and safety harnesses, and Niamh has practiced her climbing skills up the mast. Every camera was on us. I thought the Bob would overbalance as they all rushed for the side we were on.

Breaking News: Anadarko has just told TV3 they will begin drilling tomorrow morning. We’ll believe that when we see it – they were going to do that on Thursday and still haven’t. We think that’s because we are here.

Jeanette