Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior paid Ceduna a visit just before Christmas, with the vessel in town to help conduct scientific research.
Visiting for a week with marine biologists and other scientists from across the country, the team documented local wildlife and helped to shine a light on the region’s unique biodiversity.
There was also a chance for locals to get a look at the vessel, which travels the world and was last in Australia five years ago.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s communications campaigner Simon Black – who was at sea for a month with the team – said the reception received as the Rainbow Warrior docked in cities across the country was special.
“It was an incredible trip, we had a great reaction from various communities, from across the country in Sydney and Melbourne and across to Western Australia,” he said.
“It was fantastic and a celebratory atmosphere when it comes up.”
Sue Haseldine was one of those to tour the ship and said it was a “wonderful experience”.
“The Greenpeace people were so wonderful and welcoming, they will fight for good causes alongside us,” she said.
“It was fantastic to see the ship, I also had family members go aboard and all enjoyed the look behind the scenes.”
Mr Black said the vessel’s tasks were varied, ranging from aid work in disaster zones, working with scientists, or being part of a flotilla.
“It is our flagship and most well-known vessel, and it can do quite a bit,” he said.
“It has done more scientific work lately, something that in the Great Australian Bight is sorely needed.
“We are aware of the biodiversity in the region, but also know that we don’t know enough about the Bight, which is an unexplored treasure.”
A full-time crew of 15 boards the Rainbow Warrior, including the captain and first mates to engineers and cooks, while others such as volunteer deckhands, journalists or scientists could come aboard in various countries.
Mr Black said their aim was to highlight the beauty of the Bight, and that they had spoken to some locals who had expressed concern about oil drilling in the region.
“The point of the campaign is to shine light on the Bight – more people should be coming here as it’s an incredible part of the world,” he said.
“Drilling in the Bight is an incredibly foolhardy plan we think, in the rough conditions with deep wells that are proposed the potential repercussions are catastrophic.
“It threatens a lot of industries such as fishing and tourism, which if done properly can still be thriving 100 years from now.”
Mr Black said he hoped the Rainbow Warrior could return to Australia soon for another visit.