<p>Setting Sail, 11am, 13th August
I am typing this bulletin from an internet cafe overlooking the Liberty and the Freegza. Preparations are in full flow to set sail from the harbour in Chania, the tiny port that has made the campaigners feel so welcome. More, so, all on board speak warmly of feeling protected from potentially malicious mischief by the vigilance of locals and visiting supporters.
It was stated in several right wing Israeli newspapers last week that government sources there have been putting officials in Greece under pressure. Pressure to find a way to cripple, delay or stop this mission altogether. Regional contacts, (allies in Greece) confirm there is indeed a lot of pressure. However, the Greek people have shown solidarity with the aims of the Freegaza movement and the Greek government cannot ignore such a groundswell of support. The media coverage has all been extremely positive.
Both ships are buzzing with activity. It may be my imagination but the sea air seems filled with the intermingled scents of motor grease and cleaning products. Minor engine problems on the FreeGaza are being remedied by Matthew, the skipper, aided by all those with the technical ability. Stores for a voyage that due to uncertain weather in the stretch between the far end of Crete and Limosol mean this journey will take longer than predicted, are being stowed and refrigerated.
I was on deck at five am to stand watch, others were still awake, laughing quietly together, enjoying the dawn. Once again our supporters in the nearby commune helped keep spirits high with guitar strumming (which kept poor Huwaida from getting a decent sleep on deck). Jeff Halper and I were bought coffees, a plate of welcome and delicious vegan food was enthusiastically passed from person to person.
Below decks conditions are being made as pleasant as possible, which explains the smell of cleaning fluid. The aged foam mattresses have sheets on, the fridges filled with essentials like chocolate. No really- this isn’t a luxury but (happily) a recognized cure for sea sickness which may be a problem. A cure I will be enthusiastically testing.
The new captain of the Liberty who joined yesterday is George, a jolly sailor of 38 from Crete. So will he go with the boats all the way to Gaza?
Heading back to the engine room bathed in sweat from his efforts he shouts
‘but add this. I think I like very much!’
Several fond farewells, first of all from Crete. Goodbye to Marcus from Athens who has been instrumental, essential, to completing this part of the mission to break the siege.
And au revoir (not goodbye) to Jeff Halper who looks forward to rejoining the voyage in Cyprus.
In Cyprus the unfortunate delays mean that some friends will not be able to stay till the boats arrive in Nicosia. Everyone offers a huge thank you to Ren (US), Monir (US), Rachid (UK) and Michael (UK) return home.
You will be missed.
ALEX NOBLE, Author:
If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.
the attached photos are of the dawn this morning, our friends on land. Captain George. Plus the ships, safe and ready to move. </p><p>Lauren Booth</p><p align="center"> </p><p align="center"></p><p align="center"> </p><p align="center"></p><p align="center"> </p><p align="center"></p><p></p>