Friday 25th September 2015, 7pm at Artworks Theatre
A slide show and fund-raiser for Waiheke Working Sail, restoring the “Kate”.
Radioactive isotopes were being detected in New Zealand cow’s milk and sheep’s thyroids, and the French government had declared a 120-mile radius Forbidden Zone around Moruroa while they tested their bombs. Islanders nearby were being herded into a fallout shelter. The nuclear arms race had become a global madness.
Outrage was growing, and it led to the 1973 Peace Flotilla, a multiple adventure of epic proportions on the part of several yachts and a frigate.
Bernard sailed as skipper of the ferrocement ketch ‘Spirit of Peace’. After 75 days at sea she called in to Rarotonga for supplies, homeward bound, but had proved so effective she was turned round and sent back with a new crew. He then joined the former Baltic trader ‘Fri’, just released from captivity by the French, leaking badly and with the engine out of action due to a fire.
As a French warship escorted the sea-weary ‘Fri’ into harbour near Tahiti for urgent repairs after 150 days of protest, the Gendarmes asked, ‘Why pick on us? What about the Americans, the British, Russia and China?’
This sowed the seeds of the Fri Peace Odyssey, a 10,000 mile voyage through the Pacific Islands under sail carrying thousands of messages of peace from ordinary citizens. For this voyage, supported by the newly formed Greenpeace New Zealand, Bernard was appointed skipper.
Informing and networking between communities, publicising untold stories, Fri survived a typhoon to join the anti-nuclear movement in Japan.
Bernard shows his colour slides while spinning a salty yarn of sailing and seamanship in adventures that helped change the world.