Tours and racing

Well you would never believe it. We were driving back from picking up some groceries for dinner – and there was the Greenpeace Ship Esperanza back at the wharf! My lovely husband said ‘come on, I’ll get a nice picture of you in front of it’. So we cheekily sneaked in a bit nearer and I modeled as the crew went about their usual tasks. When I decided to take one, I wanted my photo to include the whole ship and walked further and further away to try and fit it all in the screen. Meanwhile my lovely husband was quite busy, chatting to one of the crew members. Photos all done off we went. What a nice treat to see it again.

My lovely husband turned to me once we were a little distance away and said ‘we’ve got a tour tomorrow’. I couldn’t help it the word ‘What?!’ popped out before I could stop myself. Bermudian’s don’t like people saying ‘what?’ it’s seen as attitude here, negative attitude. I’m fairly good at not using it now, but he shocked me too much. He is so tinny, how on earth did he wangle that one? It turned out since they had nearly finished their research in the Sargasso Sea, they had come into port in Bermuda to restock and have a break, then were on their way out again first thing Monday morning. And we could go and see it on Sunday right after the racing.

On Sunday the Round the Island Powerboat Race was on in the afternoon. It’s a huge event here and well anticipated by many people. We set up with sun umbrella and ate lunch watching the crowd fill up across the water, and down at Coney Island. The music started up around one o’clock, very loud. Racing officially started at two o’clock and by then the water had a good assortment of pleasure craft come in and moored to see the race. Jet ski’s were racing about having a ball too. It’s all a bit of a rush because they close off the sea passages to general craft during the race for a couple of hours. Off went the participants according to their class, and raced out through the old, now derelict railway bridge at Ferry Reach, called the Pylons, then disappeared. Once all the powerboats were gone, and I think there were about twenty this year, the boats left behind rearranged quickly. This is to get the best vantage point for watching the winners come in. Then the first winning boat raced in, and had enough time to do a victory lap around the Bay in front of us before the next boat emerged. The strip of land is so narrow where we live that I could hear the boats racing along the shore behind us and knew they were coming, even with all the noise going on. It’s well organized, and no crashes or injuries, and even the pleasure boats managed to sort themselves out at the end without sailing into anyone. It did look close at times though. Once racing finishes around an hour later, the party starts. Bermudian’s love their parties. Lots of loud music, food and families getting together. It’s really nice to see. Gosh it was really loud from our place, it must have been deafening to be right next to it.

At four o’clock we headed to the ship. As promised Esperanza was open and we climbed up the gangplank then waited a bit for a group of people to gather for a tour. The crew were really lovely, and very international speaking several languages having joined for various reasons to get the Greenpeace experience. I often feel ignorant only being able to speak English. In New Zealand we were encouraged to try learning different languages at school, but being so far away from any non-English speaking country it wasn’t forced. Not when I attended anyway. Year ten French was a very long time ago. There is a huge push now for Te Reo Maori which is really great, but even that was more a cultural experience than becoming bi-lingual for me. My boys certainly learned a lot more Maori language in school than I ever did. It reminded me of my trip last year with Mum. She was so shocked by the taxi driver in Paris not being able to speak English. Well, French wasn’t exactly her strong point, and unfortunately not mine either. I however had been trying to learn a few words and phrases. I fumbled my way through and we got to where we needed to be with a fantastic tour all in French and a kind of charades game on the way! Mum had mastered ‘merci’ by day three and I was so proud of her trying. I know when I try to speak a few words it’s like someone pours concrete in my mouth and a brake goes on. Living there to be immersed and really learn the language would be ideal, but no lovely husband, don’t get any bright ideas!

So on the ship we were shown ‘Daisy’ the inflatable rib, the helipad, were given an interesting informative talk on the bridge, got to see lots of equipment, where they do their studying of the plastics they find, and a local Scientist that has been traveling with them, talked about what they have found out so far. The biggest impact for me was that to be considered a microplastic, it has to be smaller than five millimeters square. That’s so tiny. Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces as it disintegrates, and most ocean marine life that are found dead have plastics in their stomachs now. They have found more plastic than they expected to, which must have been so disheartening to see. Everyone was so helpful answering questions, and giving up their free time to show others what they have been doing. It was great.

Photos from our tour on the Esperanza

Arriving home, the party was still in full swing. As the evening wore on, people disbursed, shelters packed up, and it was pretty much finished after dark. Except the music. That continued on for quite a while, apparently with no one there! A little later when we were discussing whether to pop over and switch off the stereo or not, someone finally arrived and packed it up. Bliss. I know I’m getting old when I like the sound of nature more than blasting reggae, even though some if it wasn’t too bad! Whistling trees frogs are so cute though, it’s a shame to drown out their squeaky wheel raucous.

Walking this morning I was thinking about the micro plastics on the beach that I took photos of last week. I decided to go that way to check it out, thinking about how to sift the sand to get rid of it. You wouldn’t believe it – it’s all gone! Someone’s been in there and cleaned it up. What amazing people, it looks so much better. And better still that plastic trash now won’t end up back in the ocean.

More soon – Sally



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