Voyage of peace

The Peace Boat seeks to promote peace, sustainability and human rights, while facilitating learning and friendship across borders

Cruising on the Peace Boat from Reykjavik to Lisbon, the writer saw the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, from the ship and a rainbow (left) over Lisbon from the Miradouro de Senhora do Monte, the highest point in the Portuguese city. Dr Willi
Cruising on the Peace Boat from Reykjavik to Lisbon, the writer saw the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, from the ship and a rainbow (above) over Lisbon from the Miradouro de Senhora do Monte, the highest point in the Portuguese city. PHOTO: WILLIAM WAN
Cruising on the Peace Boat from Reykjavik to Lisbon, the writer saw the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, from the ship and a rainbow (left) over Lisbon from the Miradouro de Senhora do Monte, the highest point in the Portuguese city. Dr Willi
Dr William Wan (left) taking in the sights of Glasgow with his new friend Masa-san, who gathered a group on the ship and called themselves the English Cafe to encourage conversation in English.PHOTO: WILLIAM WAN
The Peace Boat glowing in the dark icy waters of Reykjavik.
The Peace Boat glowing in the dark icy waters of Reykjavik.PHOTO: WILLIAM WAN

It is sub-zero temperature when about 100 of us excitedly clamber onto the decks. A snowy stream of cloud lights up the dark sky above. We train our smartphones and cameras skywards, but I can see only a faint splash of green on my iPhone screen.

The guy next to me has his camera on a tripod and I can see on his screen a swathe of bright green ribbon, with purplish light on the edges, doing a slow dance across the sky.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 22, 2019, with the headline 'Voyage of peace '. Subscribe