Thursday 5 October 2017
Waterfront seawall, Port Vila
The “Supporters Tour” begins tomorrow. What’s that I hear you say?!
In keeping with past tradition and in conjunction with our friendly travel agent Ari, we have organised a 10 day holiday package that is both a fund-raiser for Mission 2017, but also a chance for “supporters” to enjoy a more grassroots Vanuatu holiday experience, without sacrificing too much on comfort.
The itinerary includes a “Village Experience Day”, trips out on the Port Vila harbour aboard Chimere, visits to the local medical clinic, church and market, plus an opportunity to experience life through the eyes of the locals
Around 20 people have signed up for the “Tour” and so it’s been a full-on task to get Chimere in a tidy state and to put the finishing touches to the itinerary, including the printed “Tour Pack” each person will receive on arrival
I was making inquiries two days ago with various contacts about Eddiy Bule, the man featured in earlier Ships Logs, who we hired on a daily basis earlier in the mission, to assist with sanding and painting aboard Chimere.
“He’s back on his island, but I will let him know you are here” said his friend and employee at Yachting World who own the Waterfront here where we tie up. Then an older man, John, got my attention today and introduced himself as Eddiy’s father, “Yes, Eddiy is son of my brother” …
“So that means he’s your nephew? You are his uncle?” I inquired. “No, I’m his father, his other father. That’s the way it is here.” John replied. Not a bad system really. All part of it “taking a village to raise a child”.
Then, 10 minutes ago I had a call from an unidentified local number … “Ello, Robert ‘ere” I answered … “Ello boss, is that you Robert? It’s Eddiy” came the reply
“Eddiy, great to hear your voice. Where are you?” I continued
Eddiy then went on to explain that he was dropping into the Waterfront each day recently and finally one of the people here asked … “why do you come each day?” and he said he was wanting to know when Chimere … and “his boss” as he now calls me, returns.
Seeing that we weren’t about he headed to the island of Emae, a short distance north, to assist with the re-building of a church building. “I will be back in a couple of days, I will call you then” insisted Eddiy
Some further background to Eddiy is that a month or so ago we bought a small solar system for Eddiy in return for a promise to work 7 days aboard Chimere before she returns to Australia. It was all drawn up on paper and signed by Eddiy and skipper Jon of Mission 3 fame and so Eddiy is obviously keen to keep his side of the bargain.
In other news today there was an Australian Air Force transport plane fly over after presumably dropping aid for the people being evacuated of the island of Ambae. In addition there is what was described on the VHF Channel 16 as “Australian War Ship” anchored way out in Mele Bay, for the same reason as the plane. Great to see, and a wonderful use of a “war” ship …
Being tied up so close to the “bar and grill”, Chimere’s cockpit could double as another restaurant table, with the chatter of patrons (increasingly well lubricated given it’s now 9:00pm) and the clink of plates and cups sounding like it already is. I was automatically thinking … “what a rowdy bunch of Aussies” … then after catching a few “bros”, “A” and discussion about a woman prime minister I figured these are rowdy Kiwis … “Sweet as bro, yeh cool man, another beer … thanks man” …. Not me, that’s the New Zealander …
Tomorrow is a big day … with my darling wife Linda also coming on the Supporters Tour … so it’s not just Chimere that’s been getting a clean-up?! I might also get the opportunity to trade my bunk for a real bed up at the Melanesian …
Smooth seas, fair breeze and one more sleep