Countdown to Mission 2

Monday 17 July 2017
Hideaway Island Anchorage, Mele, Efate

Phil’s first day in Vanuatu dawned warm and sunny, although my automatic urge to turn on the generator to charge the batteries at 5:45am was probably a bit ill-timed. Especially since I’m technically not the skipper anymore. But how was I to know that it sounded very much like running onto rocks to a half-asleep, or was that half-awake, sailor. Sorry tumas guys … but it was just 15 minutes off our agreed wake-up time

By around 8:15am we’d had our breakfast, attended devotions at the Presbyterian church office onshore, borrowed a SIM card from Deb’s collection (a long story) and topped it up from the nearest TVL “dealership” … a lady sitting under an umbrella by the side of the road; everyday, except Sundays.

After the TVL top-up we still couldn’t get Phil’s SIM to work properly on the inter-web (data), even after the phone was passed around a few of her friends sitting nearby, so we wandered down to the TVL head office where the lady quickly established there was a mix-up with the thingy-function that needed readjusting – simple. After Phil’s problem was fixed up I couldn’t help but ask the nice lady why it was that I couldn’t get the Hot Spot function to work on my phone – with my SIM card.

“Oh Hot Spot doesn’t work on iPhones with TVL SIM cards … we have told the technicians, but they no fixim” … so there’s the answer to my month-long frustration.

It was then back to Chimere for lunch and a brief stop at the Yachting World fuel dock to top up our tanks. This wharf is one of the smallest you’ll find, maybe 3-4 metres in length and when you consider Chimere is 16 metres in length you can imagine there’s a bit of overhang at each end! It also requires a bit of precision parking in order to keep damage to a minimum, but fortunately lines were attached promptly as we came to a halt with the aid of Yachting World’s expert boat-man Moses.

The amount of fuel taken aboard was exactly 419 litres, which is the sum-total of all that has been consumed since leaving Sydney (when the tanks were topped up) back on … well, a long time ago. We now have a total of 1,400 litres aboard to cover the next three missions through till October.

Taking the opportunity to test Chimere’s systems (prior to the next mission) we headed off to Hideaway Island (not so well hidden as you might think – we found it first time) where there is a delightfully still anchorage in Mele Bay just 1 hour from town. Once at anchor we set about further charging the batteries (reading battery charging manuals – that was Phil) and tidying up the deck and all the accumulated stuff that had accumulated around that mast – buckets, tarps, flippers, lifejackets, rope etc etc.

Mark took command of dinner and in a truly inspired piece of “My Galley Rules” originality dished up what he described as a Thai Tuna Curry Chicken Combination … of course “Combination” denotes something slightly more than the sum of the parts … but it can also mean “in the one pot – ie combined” … which wasn’t quite the case here because I actually saw the bokChoy, grean beans and onion being fried in a separate saucepan to last night’s leftovers and “Dolphin friendly” tuna
In summary, what it looked like didn’t matter, the important things is that it tasted delicious!

Some readers may recall Eddiy Baul, my trusty “Seriously Good Boat Care” man who helped me more than a month ago sand, scrape and then paint Chimere’s deck; the man who came out with the classic line … “a man who can’t paint, can’t get a wife”.
Well Eddiy called me out of the blue the other day and after some attempts at catching up over the past few days we finally had a decent chat tonight and if everything works out he’ll come aboard on Wednesday to help us scrub the decks and do some touch-up work. Eddiy explained that in the last month he has already travelled to his (remote) island of Mataso, north of Efate, and has started his home. With a bit more work – and income – he’ll be able to return again to his island with more materials to maybe finish the job. I wonder if he has any photos !! Not sure what the average cost of a house-and-land-package is on Mataso, but if you want to contribute to Eddiy’s future ponderosa then let me know, I can definitely guarantee it will get to him on Wednesday !! Now that I think of it, Eddiy already has the land, he’s just building the house.

Tomorrow we intend to sail a bit further around the coast, to Havannah Harbour, just to check out Gideon’s Landing, the place where all the medical team will come aboard on Friday night. After that, we’ll make our way back to Port Vila to start final preparations for the start of Mission 2.

As part of the official “Skipper Hand-Over” I’ve invited Phil to start writing the Ships Log, which can be found below.
And in passing, I hope you enjoyed today’s date 17-7-17, a great set of numbers we’re not going to see again for a while.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and countdown to Mission 2

Rob Latimer

I have arrived.
After the long trek out of the Melbourne cold it was a wonderful thing to land in the warmth of Vanuatu.

Fortunately after clearing Customs I spied Rob as it is quite daunting to walk out into the Port Vila street. The streets are very different to what we are used to in Australia. So an interesting ride in a local bus (like an Indonesian Bemo) to the waterfront and the dinghy ride out to Chimere.

What a pleasant surprise to see Chimere looking so good. Well done Rob for all the work completed since I saw her last. She’s scrubbed and painted and looking great. And what an amazing anchorage off the holiday units on Iririki Island. Good to meet my fellow crew, Mark.

After a good sleep we were up early and off to the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu office where we took part in their devotions at 7.30am. We had the opportunity to meet with a number of the Medical tesm that operate out of the offices, nice people.

Then to the Vanuatu Telecom office, the office is a lady under an umbrella on the street. She took out money and loaded the sim ready for internet reception. All good, we now have communications.

Changed some money then back to the waterfront via the local market.

Following lunch we raised the anchor and motored over to the fuel dock and filled up ready for Mission 2, to the islands to the north. After leaving the dock we headed west, raised the sails and made our way around to tonights anchorage behind Hideaway Island, one of Vanuatus tourist getaways, you can post a letter from underwater here.

A very interesting introduction to what we will see over the next 3 weeks. The locals are very grateful for what Rob has been doing for their country.

Phil Wicks
(Skipper Mission 2)

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