Monday 5th July 2010 15 26.11 S, 167 21.33E

The much anticipated boxes of spectacles sent up from Pt Vila for us to take aboard didn’t arrive this morning.  Gibson and Bob went out to the airport at the duly appointed time only to be told that, “plane too full, only passengers, no boxes.   They be on tonight’s flight”

So what do you do?  There’s really not a lot we could do but continue preparing the boat, check the gear and sincerely hope that the boxes would indeed be on the evening plane.
Bob and Gibson came out to the boat for lunch – a sumptuous spread prepared by Lainie – and we went through a few basic safety issues while discussing the probability that the boxes may not make it on the evening flight.

One last trip to town was squeezed in … mainly to change a bit more cash at the bank and buy a 12v fan to replace the engine exhaust blower.
Soon enough the hours ticked by and as the final preparations were made to Chimere, word came through that the glasses had arrived and Gibson and Bob would be ready for pick-up on the beach around 6:30pm.

While reading a local paper it was humorous to read the account of Rudd’s replacement by Gillard as leader of Australia.  The headlines screamed … “RUDD REPLACED IN BLOODLESS COUP” … or words to that effect.  Makes you realize just how relaxed we are about our politics in Australia and how reliant we are on the rule of law.  Given the experience in so many countries in our region and around the world when it comes to “electing” a new head of state a “Bloodless Coup” is perhaps something we shouldn’t just take for granted.
With extra time to prepare Chimere for sea, Lainie led the charge to make everything look tidy, clean and beautiful.  Little Miss Tidy we’ve dubbed her and again, it’s a case of knocking off work to cart bricks … because in addition to working as a registered nurse Lainie runs a business in Melbourne called “Boat Nanny” looking after yachts and keeping them spick and span.  Good job Lainie.

Once Bob and Gibson came aboard, it was then a case of  lifting the dinghy on deck, bringing up the anchor and motoring out over a glassy sea with no wind.  It was a magical moment, with dinner (which was prepared earlier) handed out soon after.
Clear of Million Dollar Point at the entrance to the Luganville Harbour the wind back from the SE at around 10-15 knots as predicted and we were pretty soon able to hoist the sails and turn the engine off.

As I set the course on the chart plotter I silently issued a word of thanks to the previous crew for finding the fault and getting it back working again.  I then pressed the AUTO button on the Autohelm and again gave thanks to the same crew when the mechanism took control and held the course true and good.  Oh, I forgot the Anchor winch … thanks again guys, it worked faultlessly … and thanks also go to Scott from Mission 1 in May for making the new control switch and fitting a new solenoid … it worked great.  And did I mention the beautifully smooth engine, securely attached to the boat with expertly fitted mounts, pushing us along at an effortless 6 knots at 1800rpm.  Thanks again guys!!
So right now we are 10 miles NE of Luganville (Santo) on a course of about 30 degrees – Mere Lava bound.  The stars are out, the seas are flat, the wind is off the right side at around 10-15 knots and we are doing more than 6 knots.

Everyone is asleep except me and Gerhard, who is upstairs on watch.  After clearing away some gear, and putting some other stuff up on deck we have made two more bunks available, one in the workshop cabin and one above my bunk.  This means that Gibson and Bob have their very own bunks, along with the other six crew.
With the engine off the noises of the boat through the water are many and varied.  There’s the gears and whirring of the autohelm controlling the steering mechanism, the rush of the sea passing the hull, the creak and groan of the sails, ropes and pulleys, plus the occasional knocking of cutlery, crockery and any number of slightly loose items jiggling back and forward to the wave action.

Mere Lava is about 55 miles ahead and at our current speed less than 10 hours away.  That means a morning arrival giving ample time to make contact ashore and conduct at least a half day clinic.  We look forward to meeting the friends we made last year and checking out Linda and her mother Rose who we evacuated 35 miles north to Gaua on account of Linda requiring a Caesarian delivery; plus of course the baby, who should now be 1 year old.  (find out more in last years Ships Log)  On the list of friends there is also Father Alban, an Anglican pastor with an amazing parish.  And who knows, mud bricks may be made on Mere Lava in the next couple of days.
Lainie’s watch is in less than two hours (at 12 midnight), then comes Mike at 2:00am and me at 4:00am.  I think it’s time I got some sleep.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and Mere Lava here we come.

Robert Latimer