It's with great sadness that I got the news yesterday that Chris Robinson had passed away. I had the pleasure of sailing with Chris in his role as captain of the legendary Greenpeace yacht "Vega", of Moruroa Atoll fame.
We sailed together at Shoalwater at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef where as a crewman I witnessed Chris' cool hand and expert sailing skills as he out manouvered the USS Boxer and hemmed that massive warship into the bay with a 35" yacht.
I learnt a lot on that trip and Chris also made the best porridge you could ever taste. As Chris said, "when that's all you've got to eat at sea, you learn to make it interesting".
Here's a couple of photos of that trip with Chris:
Here's what's been said about Chris elsewhere:
In recent years, Chris was the keeper of Vega, the vessel used by David McTaggart in the protests against France's testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific in the early 1970s. Chris was an early crew member of the first Rainbow Warrior in the late 1970s, and was involved in the whaling campaign against the renegade Spanish whaler at that time. He returned to Moruroa atoll in October of 1982 with Vega, the 4th Greenpeace went to the test site. There is a famous photo of Chris taken in Nov 1983 when as Captain of Vega, he forced a US nuclear submarine, USS Phoenix to come to a stop in Auckland harbour, for which he was arrested. Chris was in Auckland when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French secret service, and was part of the campaign later that year to go to Moruroa. Chris was back on Vega in Moruroa in 1995 with David McTaggart. These are among the many contributions that Chris has made over the years
Chris's most recent work with Greenpeace was in 2005 when GPAP chartered Vega to campaign against the US-Australia war games "Talisman-Sabre" off the Queensland coast.
Greenpeace have a page for Chris here: Chris Robinson, 1952 - 2008 which includes a great photo of Chris in action in the North Sea. Chris will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Another shining light has succombed to cancer.