Sounds like the start of a bad joke doesn’t it … How many volunteers does it take to … “change a light bulb”, “cure poverty”, “fix a leaky tap” ?

Well, in this case the question is “How many volunteers does it take to get a boat to sea?”  

More pictures of volunteers can be found in the Pre-mission gallery

It’s hard to know where to start. And the risk is always mentioning some, and inadvertently forgetting others. Not quite the case of … “pat one husky dog and you’d better pat them all” … but you get my drift.

Starting at the top, there is of course my faithful, always-there, long-suffering wife-of-35 years Linda; that’s right she was just out of Primary School when we tied the knot?! Whether it’s making up the 140 half-kilo bags of flour for making bread aboard over the next 6 months, or doing another run with the trailer down to Hastings to pick-up or drop off something or other, Linda is a marvel.

Then there’s been older son Matt, squeezing in assistance with the sat phone and telecommunications between work and a range of other commitments.

Without the resources, knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and of course deep pockets, of my boat partner Barry Crouch (and his supportive wife Andrea), it would not be possible to continue this whole venture and so for this I am forever grateful.

As mentioned in earlier newsletters, getting Chimere ship-shape, (literally) and ready to embark on this year’s mission has been a mammoth task, undertaken on a range of fronts; mechanical, electrical, structural, telecommunications, culinary, cleaning, painting, construction, administrative and financial, plus more besides.

Willing hands and skills have come from all quarters, and again, at the risk of inadvertently leaving someone out (and if I do, please accept my apologies) the following people deserve special mention … Mark Stephenson (flying over from Tasmania to assist), Barry Stewart, Bruce and Edith West (driving several times down from Tawonga in NE Victoria), Cathy West (driving up from Mallacoota to assist with food purchasing and packing), Geoff Champion (fitting lights to the cockpit and galley and making a fitting for deck-lights to be mounted on the spreaders), Steve & Judy O’Flynn, Rick Avery, Bruce Jacobs, Kerry Moore, Peter & Gigi Wright, Graeme Duke, Todd MacDougall, Ian (Johnno) Johnson, Bill Poynter, Mike & Robyn Clarke, Bindu Varghese, Rob Laird, David Laird, Grant Dawson, Nicola and Cam Heathwood.

In keeping the MSM website and Facebook pages up-to-date, our special thanks and appreciation go to Liz Mallen, with special mention to Bev Clark for her last-minute fruit cakes and Rosemary Wick for the enormous chocolate cake and sausage rolls.

The amazingly supportive and faithful congregation at North Ringwood Uniting Church including the new minister Andy Tiver, provide essential spiritual, physical, financial and emotional support, without which this Christian mission-outreach simply would not be possible. Specifically I should mention my fellow “Growth Group” members Sue, Graeme, Doug, Geneve, Mae, George, Dorothy, Liz and Greg, plus the Paunangisu Village Partnership (PVP) team members, Jill & Jake Remyn, George & Joy Harvey, Liz and Greg Richards and Judy O’Flynn.

On the work front, the support of Partner Financial Group (www.partnerfinancialgroup.com.au) has been critical, with work colleague Kristina and business partner Sitparan minding the fort and addressing client needs in my absence.

A massive thank you to those who donated caps, shirts, flippers, goggles etc. We have hundreds aboard and they will be well received by those we visit in remote Vanuatu villages.

Thank you too to those who have made financial donations; critical to the funding of such a [private] venture as this. It may not look like it at times, but MSM is very much a “faith-led” program and the reality is that if we’d waited till sufficient money was available before we got underway, we simply would not have. There still remains a hole in the budget, to complete all that is planned, but we feel confident that solutions will be found to all those things that currently remain as “problems”

Of course the many volunteers who have stepped forward to fill the 8 sailing and 4 medical stages of the mission are critical to achieving success and we look forward to learning more of them over the next 6 months.

Amongst the many trades people that have assisted in preparing Chimere, special mention must goes to the amazingly supportive and cheerful Steve Cullinan (Professional Marine Management), Craig Freeman (Superior Spars & Rigging), Marliney & John (Yaringa Boat Sales & Chandlery), Cameron (Westernport Trimming), Mark Morton (and worker-niece Lisa at Morton Boat Repairs Hastings), Bob Clow (Clow Electronics), Peter Green, (Peter Green Sails) Phil George (Fleming Marine), Gary Jago, Chris & Matt (Sealand Marine)

I know it was a risk, but hopefully I’ve mentioned everyone, and again, apologies if I’ve left you out on this occasion; I’ll fix it in a future Ships Log.

So now, with the welding all finished, cleaning up and lashing-down complete the donated gear and dental supplies stowed, not to mention food, spares, fuel, water, plus a myriad of other items, there’s nothing left but to untie the lines and get underway, into the closing darkness of the day.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and give thanks for the volunteers !!

Rob Latimer