This year's G-8 summit opened with the protests that almost always now go hand in hand with such events. Thousands of anti-globalization protesters beat their way through water cannons and clashed with German police in Heiligendamm yesterday. Many were wounded in the violence.
But this morning police and protesters took their confrontation to the seas. In a James Bond-esque maneuver, the German navy swooped in, carved up the Baltic and headed off several protest boats from the shore.
Greenpeace spokesperson Joe Cooper told ABC News, "Greenpeace sent out 11 boats this morning in an effort to take a letter directly to the leaders meeting in Heiligendamm. The letter was calling for the leaders attending the summit to cut greenhouse gas emission with or without Mr. Bush."
But the boats were cut off by the German navy before they could get into the restricted area; some collided and three of the protesters fell in the water but none were seriously injured.
The protesters remain unperturbed. "Greenpeace will try again later to make it to the summit to hand over the letter," said Cooper.
Meanwhile, on land the leaders of the world's eight most powerful and wealthiest nations -- the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Russia -- are now getting down to talk business.
On the agenda are pressing issues such as climate change, aid for Africa, the Iranian nuclear threat and the crisis in Sudan -- to name but a few.
President Bush and Russian President Putin are having their much anticipated one-on-one meeting for the first time since their dispute over deploying a U.S. missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland flared up into Cold War-style rhetoric.
Before today's bilateral meeting Bush told reporters he hoped to convince Putin that their dispute over the defense system "is not something we should to be hyperventilating about."
Earlier in the day, Bush also had a chance to meet with his close friend and ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is retiring at the end of this month.
It was a bit of an emotional moment for the president, as he told reporters afterwards, "This is the last meeting I will have had with him (Blair) as prime minister. It's a nostalgic moment for me. I'm sorry it's come to be, but that's what happens in life. We'll move on," he told reporters.
And that they did.
The two leaders discussed the situation in Darfur, a situation which Bush called "frustrating, because the international organizations can't move quickly enough." Both men agreed that strong action must be taken.
Bush and Blair also discussed global warming, an issue that has pitted Bush against most of the G-8 leaders. They are likely to agree this week to make "substantial" cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, something Bush is vehemently opposed to.
"I think it's possible that we leave this summit with a commitment on the part of everyone to a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as a global target," Blair told reporters after a meeting with Bush.