A mountaintop painting experience

Saturday 17 June 2017
Port Vila

We have pretty much finished painting the deck !!  Yeh !!  We can now luxuriate, if ever-so briefly, in the satisfaction that the boat is looking good and complete inside and out and things are just about ready for the arrival of the first medical team

Speaking of arrivals.  Late this afternoon we were painting the last of the cockpit floor, being careful to step on strategically placed pieces of cardboard, onto the seat the back down onto the the last patch of non-sticky surface, when a woman’s voice from onshore called out… “hello, you must be Robert? … I’m Annette and this is my husband Gerry”

This right!!  Today was the day the next crew member (Gerry) was arriving… plus the nurse for the first mission, his wife Annette.

Annette & Gerry – the “before” shot

“Come aboard, come aboard” I said … “…. walk on the seat, now you can’t step on the deck, it’s sticky with paint… second thoughts, I’ll come over to you”

“Is there anything we can do to help?” said Annette

So began Annette & Gerry’s first day in Vanuatu.

And no, I didn’t immediately hand them each a wet brush.  We chatted for a while, I said they could have the forward cabin all to themselves, once we can get to the companionway and sent them away to explore the local sights with the words, just give us an hour.

Eddiy put in his third day working on the deck with me.  Young Louie had rugby training today and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.  Apparently he’s a very fast and handy fly-half and even though he’s only 16 his ability has been documented in the papers here.

In one of the few conversations we had, Louie explained to me yesterday…”some boys go play in New Caledonia… but me, I want to play in Australia!”

Any team wanting a potential new recruit, give me a call, I’ve just become his agent!

After lunch today I asked Eddiy whether he was saving his money … “smol smol”. came the reply. “Do you have a bank account? I asked.  “Yes I do.” he said, explaining that he wanted to return some day to his island of Mataso, devastated two years ago by Cyclone Pam and build a house. “A man who cannot paint cannot get a wife” … some of Eddiy’s home-spun wisdom there, with a certain degree of truth to be sure.

“So I save all I can to build again on my island and maybe then I have girlfriend.  My father is a chief and works in forestry.  I stay with my father and mother here in Vila for now”

In my encouragement I’d suggested the other day to Eddiy that maybe we could make some business cards so he could promote his services amongst the other boats.

Well today I came good on my promise and used the card I’d prepared earlier for myself as the template, simply changing the words and phone number and of course the photo.   Speaking of which… while taking the  shot on my iPhone I said “now Eddiy hold the brushes and sand paper up high and smile … smile… come on smile like you’re enjoying it”. In the end no amount of encouragement would extract a smile… so we went with the earnest look and the slogan … “Seriously good boat care” just seemed to pop out.

It’s funny, the photo I’d selected for my card was taken by my younger son James on the 2013 mission and in the distance is the very island of Mataso!!  You think Eddiy didn’t notice that straight away?!  Sadly back in 2013 the weather was too rough for us to land, so we ended up bypassing the island altogether

After some simple editing it was then a case of simply printing and laminating the cards.  Eddie excitedly helped cut the cards out with scissors.

Seriously good boat care!!
Yu taken – me makim ( you say, I do)

Eddiy gave his first card to the swish New Zealand motor launch (Activa) parked next door to us- I’ll keep you posted of his success. Eddiy will be back on Monday to work on the port side toe rail woodwork (and the spelling of Eddiy is distinctly local)

It’s good fun having two new people aboard.  I started in the galley preparing spaghetti Bol. but only vacated mid-way at Annette’s insistence- truly.  And who am I to deny a person an opportunity to feel involved and included?!

Smooth seas, fair breeze and almost time to put the brushes away

Rob Latimer

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