Tuesday 13 June 2017
Port Vila Waterfront

Finally some rain.  Not that things are getting dry here in Vanuatu.  But it came last night. I know because my cabin’s deck hatch was open and there’s nothing like rain on your face to bring you out of a deep sleep.

There go my plans to start painting the deck tomorrow I thought.  But of course I could start painting the cockpit, which is under cover, that would be dry.

Because we are “parked” stern-to here at the sea wall, we come and go through the cockpit and so painting this part of the boat is not without its hazards.  But I’m pleased to say that we have the first coat on and in the 26° heat it dries pretty quickly.

And I’m pleased to say that there are no white footprints throughout the rest of the boat!!

In preparation for the eventual clinics that will be conducted in the villages to be visited, Martin and Peter worked on attaching mosquito netting to the lightweight sun shelters we bought before leaving Sydney.

We have two such shelters and they will be used for the dental survey and also dental treatment.  All part of looking after our dentists and naturally the comfort of the patients, but also keeping the crowds of gawkers and curious onlookers at bay.  Out in the villages, “community health” takes on a whole new meaning with half the community turning out to watch – whether it be a diabetes test the pulling of a tooth, or a simple examination – not a lot is private!

Not a lot more to report.  Hopefully the rain will hold off for a day or so to give us a chance to work on the rest of the deck.

Oh, we have a new neighbor tied up next to us.  A yacht called Morild – all the way from Norway – and as I chatted with the skipper this evening over the hand lines he admitted that as a self confessed atheist he’s been in more churches in the last two years, as he cross the Pacific through Polynesia, than he has for a very long time.   (Polynesia being to a very large extent Christian; a mix of many different denominations.)

Captain Helge Witzo (yes, he’s a real life ships captain, albeit retired) then asked if there was anything he might be able to do to assist the locals as he sails north through the islands over the next few months?

Knowing that Medical Sailing Ministries is a Christian group he then jokingly asked whether we would accept assistance from an atheist.

“Most certainly” said I … and I suggested I’d ask around to see what transport needs might exist amongst the groups with whom we network.  Maybe Scripture Union, the Bible Society, or the Presbyterian Church have bibles they need distributing…?!

I know for a start that we have a 35 kg brass bell for a newly constructed church, plus 100 kg of potting clay, which needs to be delivered to South West Bay on the island of Malekula.  I’ve no doubt we’ll chat some more tomorrow!

Smooth seas, fair breeze and time to paint

Rob Latimer