Penguins and revolutionaries of the sea

Nov 22, 14 Penguins and revolutionaries of the sea

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Do you ever feel bored and under-stimulated by your daily routine, morning commute, rush hour traffic? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to leave it all behind, set sail and travel around the world on a ship in order to save the earth?

Greenpeace3Well, Greenpeace has recently released a book called Rainbow Warriors: Legendary Stories from Greenpeace Ships, with over 50 real life tales from doing just that. Each page is saturated with humor, emotion and action. Maite Mompo was recently at Damanhur, sharing about the book and the ideals and campaigns of Greenpeace. Spending half of her year at sea, she has sailed from pole to pole, taken part in numerous actions and has put herself “between the harpoon and the whale” as a Greenpeace activist.

Greenpeace2Maite gave us a little taste of what life is like aboard the Rainbow Warrior ship, which she has traveled with since 2006. Going aboard the ship is like going into a museum, as they have received so many gifts from unique people and native cultures all around the world. Each piece carries a special history, such as a mask from Papua New Guinea printed on a papyrus of tree bark, and the photo of the Dalai Lama from when he visited the ship.

In 1971, Greenpeace was founded on a ship that was traveling from Vancouver to Alaska to help put an end to nuclear testing in the area. The ship was named Rainbow Warrior based on the legends and prophecies of Native Americans, Christianity, and Buddhism, which all speak of a time when the Earth is suffering with the destruction of nature, wars and hate. The various prophecies say that at this time, Rainbow Warriors of all colors will come together to regain a sense of spirit and save the planet, united by love and understanding.

Greenpeace4At the presentation, there was time for Maipe to share just one story from aboard the Rainbow Warrior… Chilly Willy. When the ship was docked at San Antonio, Chile, a baby penguin showed up at a marine animal recovery center! He surprised everyone, as it was not his natural habitat. Since the Rainbow Warrior was going south, they volunteered to take the penguin aboard and bring him back to his home. The penguin, whom they named Chilly Willy, was set free on the deck of the ship, and he followed the crew members around every time they passed, except for a German engineer who used to throw water on the penguin because he thought that’s what he wanted! When they tried to release the penguin upon arrival to his home habitat, he got angry for being abandoned, so they brought him back on board. At a location further south, Chilly Willy finally departed to the sea, with the Greenpeace crew wistfully saying goodbye to what had become a friend. Coincidentally, there was once a Bloom County comic strip in which Opus the penguin boarded a Greenpeace ship, mistaking it for a cruise ship.bloom county


Before Maite’s talk, a group of Damanhur youth came to the stage with Alcedo Liana and other Damanhurians to recognize them for their three-day experience aboard a Greenpeace ship Greenpeace1as part of their experience in travel education at the Damanhur School.

After the talk, we enjoyed a beautifully enchanting theatre piece called “Extraordinary Creatures,” directed by Iora Lenticchia and performed by the Damanhur theatre group with several special youth actors. The show features a simple and touching story that brings awareness to the importance of marine life, plant life on earth and nature spirits, a theme that is very relevant in Damanhur these days with the union of the three “mother worlds.”





  1. That’s so funny about the comic strip! I love Bloom County. I wonder if Berke Breathed ever went on the Rainbow Warrior ships. Sometimes comics are a really good way to spread political awareness of issues too, while making people laugh.

    • We agree! Humor is a great way to bring lightness and yet awareness to serious issues of the world. Thanks for reading and commenting, Lisa. Con te!