What’s it like to sail on Greenpeace’s iconic Rainbow Warrior?

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Marine biologist-turned-media executive and philanthropist John Preston sailed with Greenpeace’s iconic Rainbow Warrior ship on its voyage along Western Australia’s coastline. For Adventure.com, he reflects on the natural encounters he had at sea, and the experience of sailing with a crew committed to protecting our beautiful planet.

Sitting upon the stern of the Rainbow Warrior in the lightless expanse of night, I find myself mesmerized by the way the stars—more numerous than I have ever seen—cascade almost to the water’s edge.

I feel as though I am immersed in a snow globe, looking at the night sky when suddenly, someone shouts, “Phosphorescence on the bow!”. Rushing to the ship’s bow, I lie face down on the mesh net suspended above the waters of the Indian Ocean and become enraptured by the ghost-like lights that are caressing the ship’s bow and sending waves of glitter in our wake.

What an incredible experience to be here, on one of Greenpeace International’s three ships that sail the world’s oceans protecting our planet. I have joined the ship following a snorkeling adventure on Ningaloo’s reefs, which featured a bonus swim with whale sharks.

The sight of the iconic ship alone inspires hope. Coming in at 58 meters long with three masts 55 meters high and over 1,000 cubic meters of sail—all of which allows the craft to glide through the seas without fuel—the ship is decked out in distinctive Greenpeace livery and is one of the most sustainable ships in the world.

Witnessing the Rainbow Warrior moored off the coast of Exmouth and Cable Beach imbued much needed hope and inspiration into the communities who came to the ship’s open days, and those who read about the vessel being on our shores. A sense of hope that Greenpeace can shift the political powers that be towards stopping Woodside Energy’s climate-wrecking plans.

As our voyage unfolds, I also draw immense hope from the crew on board—18 of the most passionate, tenacious and committed humans I’ve ever met. The crew leave their family and friends behind to commit to these journeys for extended periods of time, navigating waters across the globe to wherever they are needed to raise awareness and campaign about the plight of our planet. What an extraordinary bunch.

And then there’s the campaign team, which coordinates activities and communications during the voyage. Through calm waters and nauseatingly choppy conditions, the campaigners conducted everything from daily briefings with the onshore team to daily updates for all crew to strategic actions that advanced the campaign agenda. Being a fly on the wall, watching on as this smart, capable group operates under pressure, is truly wonderful.

Brimming with inspiration from this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I disembark the Rainbow Warrior a few days later in Broome, with the pristine beauty of Cable Beach serving as another reminder of the beautiful natural world that we are lucky enough to enjoy which we must also all work together to save.

The fight against Woodside hasn’t been won yet. But everything I know about the dedicated and capable Greenpeace team, and its millions of passionate supporters—I am proud to call myself one of them—tells me that we will prevail in our pursuit for a safe future for ourselves, and future generations.

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