27 April 2009 - Larnaca Marina, Cyprus - This boat moored next to us at the marina and is part of the Free Gaza Movement. It was badly damaged earlier this year when an Israeli warship rammed into it, unprovoked, on one of its missions to deliver medical supplies to Palestinian refugees in Gaza (you can see remains of the damage in this picture). Per talked to the guys on the boat so he may blog more details in the near future. There's a short description of the ramming incident here on the Free Gaza site.
We'd been a bit nervous on our sail past Israel en route to Lebanon...hoping not to have any run-ins with Israeli warships. It was fascinating to hear the Lebanese and United Nations warships on the radio during our sail from Lebanon to Cyprus. Here's what it sounded like (based on my one pathetic attempt to jot down what I heard):
This is a United Nations navy warship calling on one-six, over...do you read? over...this is a United Nations Warship, we do not intend to impede your course. Please provide your coordinates..." Then they go on to ask all kinds of questions about the boat, its name, call sign, its cargo, etc.
I was especially nervous that the warships were going to call to Sybaris when I was alone on my night watch, but luckily Per was up when they called us. Sailing through these military patrolled hotspots gave me new perspective...that was furthered by seeing the damage done to the humanitarian relief boat by the Israeli warship. And, of course, it's completely freaking horrible to consider the plight of the Palestinians. One thing I haven't blogged about yet (and was considering not confessing) was that Alyssa and I visited one of the Palestinian camps in Beirut...and it woke me up to how much I don't comprehend about what's going on in the world.
On that note, if you're feeling like you could part with five bucks or forego an expensive coffee or other indulgence today...go here to donate to the Free Gaza Movement.