Wednesday 19 August 2009, (22deg 19min S, 168deg 38min E)

We are now about 270 (480km) miles from Port Vila, and about 25 miles south east of The Isle of Pines at the bottom of New Caledonia.  The little dot of Walpole Island is about 18 miles ahead as we make slow going into a rather brisk south westerly and lumpy seas.  Before we get to little Walpole, however, we intend to take a sharp right, sometimes referred to as a tack, so that we will be heading roughly in the direction of Australia – not quite Sydney, but somewhere south of Brisbane all being well!!

We expect the wind to move more southerly over the next few days, thereby allowing us to lay a course more to our liking.  Brisbane is nice, but we really do want to clear customs in Sydney.

As we complete the Medical Sailing Ministries tour of duty, we’ve invited participants to reflect on their involvement.  I’ve included three below:

RICHARD TATWIN – Ni-Van director of the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Program

Just a short reflection of the outreach trips using the yacht. As the first timer on the yacht, truly a great experience and definitely would like to do
that again.  The yachting ministry has given me a lot of ideas for future ideas and I truly want to thank God and all at the Sailing Ministry for
giving me the opportunity to help my people this way. May God continue to bless the awesome ministry the yacht is doing.

JIM CARPENTER – Chimere crew on the second medical mission, Santo to Ambae, June 2009

I received a telephone call from Rob Latimer advising me that he had been talking with Warwick Hodge a fellow financial planner.  Rob was planning to take his yacht “Chimere” to Vanuatu to support a team of eye specialists.  His plans were well advanced but he had one missing link in order to achieve his
goal.  He needed a qualified master to run the yacht in his absence.  Warwick suggested he contact myself, and at that time Bob Brenac and I had been discussing the possibility of having a long ocean voyage once again.

I contacted Bob and told him what Rob had in mind and asked him if he would be interested.  The two men contacted one another and we agreed  to meet on board “Chimere” at Pittwater.  We committed ourselves, Bob to assist with the delivery, and Bob and I to run the yacht with four other crew in Rob’s absence
for a period of 5 ½ weeks.

On our way home we discussed the project and felt it would be a very worthwhile and interesting project. In reality the exercise proved to be much more than we originally thought visiting villages which remain the same as when Captain Cook visited.  Basic accommodation; no electricity; TV; DVD; computer; washing machine, gas, or cars, etc. etc.

One of the major problems for the villages was no access to medical doctors, dentists, etc. – everyday care we take for granted.  These visits strengthened my view that we were supporting a great cause for the people in the villages of Vanuatu and I feel very strong in my  conviction that we had contributed to a great undertaking for these  people.

MARTIN PURCELL – Chimer delivery crew, Sydney to Tanna, May 2009 and crew on second medical mission, Santo to Ambae, June 2009

Could I please just say what a pleasure and a privilege it has been to work and live with a wonderful group of unlike minded people.  Beautiful human beings from such a diverse range of cultures, upbringing, work and life experience and economic background. I refer to the interaction between everyone who got themselves involved, the sailing crew and medical volunteers, the Ni-Van staffers, the locals who were there, both benefiting from and giving active support and providing services directly to the optical and medical clinics that  were being set up in the villages of Vanuatu.

I would also like to recognise that whilst all of us active frontline participants were “doing it tough” and basking in our glorious existence (some more so than others I have to admit on behalf of the ships mollycoddled crew), there was a mountain of effort, goodwill and individual expense that showed up, much from unseen and unsung  quarters that without which the outcomes would have been less effective and far reaching or even compromised out of existence. Big
Hello and Thankyou to the backroom support network of admins, comunicators, medical supplies, transport and vessel preparations.

Lets do it some more……….

Highest Regards and Best Wishes to All

Again, many thanks to all those who have been involved and to those who’ve shown so much interest and provided their encouragement and support along the way.

Smooth sea, fair breeze and Australia here we come.