Big job… get a few mates around

Wednesday 14 June 2017
Port Vila Seawall

It’s  7:30pm and I’m already starting to doze off.   Must be the sea air, there’s a lot of it here.  Or the sun, it’s very tropical, or maybe all the exercise from sanding, scraping, scrubbing and painting the deck.

Probably all of the above

It’s a very big “canvas” is our deck, about 16 m long, 5 m wide in the middle, bit narrower at each end of course, but there’s lots of odd little shapes and fiddly objects to either paint or avoid.  Plus there’s the rust treatment on selected spots, (oh, the rust spots!!) the epoxy filling, the undercoating and of course the all important topcoat; which still seems a long way off.

I had intended to hire  a local chap to give us a hand, much like I had done back in 2013.  No complex work-place agreement, forms to complete or tax declaration statement, just a simple handshake after asking “what’s the normal pay for a day’s work?” And agreeing to the amount suggested.

Anyway, the sweat was pouring off me after lunch as I was sanding the deck on the starboard side of the coach house ready for the undercoat.

A 15 minute banana and pamplemousse (sweet grapefruit, they’re delicious) break was declared (by me) and as I ventured onto the small lawn on shore, Charlie (who works here at Yachting World doing odd jobs and pretty much anything that needs to be done) called out a greeting and so I wandered over for a chat and the familiar handshake.

Charlie was his usual polite self and I gave a smile to his two mates standing near by as I cut open the pamplemousse and handed a few bits around

“All good?” asked Charlie
“Big job painting the deck … I think I need to get a few mates around” I said “Do you know anyone who wants some work Charlie?” I inquired

“These boys could work for you” came the immediate reply.

At this the lads adopted a more animated expression and the younger of the two mentioned quickly that he had a reference.

“Where are you from… island blog Yu?” I asked

“They from Mataso, like me” said Charlie

“You were hit bad by the cyclone Pam in 2015, everything destroyed, I saw the aerial shots and the video of the superyacht Dragonfly assisting you with their on-board water maker”

“Yes, Dragonfly was  very helpful to us, I think they liked us” said one of the lads in an excited tone


I then asked Charlie, “what’s a fair amount to pay for a day’s work?”

“Maybe 2000 Vatu” ($25AUS).

Pointing to the taller lad Charlie said “This one is my brother-in-law, he knows how to paint, this younger one he will help him”

“Name blong me Robert, name blong Yu?” I said as I put my hand forward.

“Name blong me Eddie, and name blong hem Louie”.  Said Eddie as we all shook hands

“I’ve got a reference” said young Louie

“If Charlie says you’re OK then that’s fine with me.  How does 2000 Vatu for you Eddie as the boss and 1500 for Louie as his apprentice sound?”

There were then a few “egoods” exchanged, along with a parting handshake as i suggested 7:00am might be a bit early to start, so we settled on around 8 to 8:30

So hopefully the rain holds off and we can get this job knocked over in a couple of days!

In other news, Peter advanced his hand sewing skills after his and Martin’s successful mozzie net exercise yesterday, by re-attaching the long zip on the front awning, (which suffered before a strong wind gust on the way over from Australia) … “Two thirds the beam of the boat, 3 millimetres at a time”, to quote the man himself.  A couple of others were … “my arms are killing me” … and “St Paul was a tent maker”

Smooth seas, fair breeze and getting a few mates around

Rob Latimer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.