A perfect first day

Monday 7 June 2010 10pm (16 57 S 167 49 E )

There is a satisfaction in leaving at the planned time. We planned to leave at 11am this morning and at 10:50 am we were gently steaming out of the mooring area to begin our mission. The satisfaction comes from the fact that you don’t just leave when you want to; there are dozens of things that needed doing first and after making a time allowance for each and knowing we needed to leave by 11am we had to be up and busy by 6am. And the plan worked. Everyone got up early, no grumbles, and got busy. Our passenger, Mary-Grace was on the dock at that time and happily did her art work while she waited for us. The medical team was already at the airport for a 6am flight and would get to the destination before us. After they land on an island airstrip they take a truck followed by a small boat ride. They will be ready to start work on Tuesday morning and we plan to catch up to them by midday or earlier.
When we left the day was overcast and hot and humid. We hoped for wind as we got away from Port Vila. The day cleared up to a blue sky and a hazy horizon. And it got hotter. But there was no wind. Occasionally there was a little from fine on the bow. Right now Carl is on the helm and everyone else is asleep somewhere on the deck. I am at the chart table dripping in sweat with fingers sliding off the key pad.
There is a certain Royal Australian Navy touch in life aboard Chimere these days. Our casual cruisey ways are being licked into shape by Grant who has just finish a 12 month gap year program with the Navy and is due to start his merchant marine studies in Launceston 2 days after getting back from his stint with Chimere. In every spare moment he studies the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea. This has now developed into lively discussions lead by Grant on the proper interpretations of complex wordy clauses and more importantly on how to interpret what it doesn’t say. And on that point we launch off into a tangential subject based on case law. By the end of this trip you can come to us for all your marine law problems. Among the crew there are two former fishing boat skippers and they really warm up to sea talk and have got behind Grant in his studies. I don’t think he could have a better study environment. It also helps having no TV or other distraction of any sort.
For regular visitors to our ships log, you will know we have had engine troubles from the time Chimere left Sydney. The biggest of the problems was the engine mounts and failure to fix them would have meant the end of this year’s MSM contribution to the medical mission. We have been motoring nearly 11 hours now, first at 1600rpm and more recently 1100rpm. The engine is running as sweet as a nut. For that we can thank Carl. Carl has been checking the engine periodically all day and you can’t take the smile off his face. We are all very happy how things have turned out. We are feeling a bit guilty too at the contrast between our first day at sea and the first day for the first tour. See earlier in the ships log for their story. During the day everyone found a comfortable place on deck and just took in the scene. Carl declared that you just could buy this experience. The sun set in a dramatic red ball and soon after tea was served, gallantly cooked up by Chris and served by Martin . It was one of Martin’s lovely premade meals using his organically grown beef. The portion size was enormous but it was still not enough to satisfy Paul, Grant and Carl. They started a second sitting of biscuits, tinned ham, cheese and beer. Happy guffawing could be heard wafting up from the saloon as they told tall stories.
We have been making excellent progress and seem to have a favorable current. In fact we are in danger of arriving before dawn so we have dropped the engine revs to slow down.
Fair winds, smooth seas and a perfect first day.

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