Tuesday 8 October 2013

Leaving Port Vila, Sydney Bound

There’s a common convention when it comes to filling up your tanks with fuel.  It applies down at the local servo as it does when heading out to sea.  It’s all about paying before you leave.

We were reminded of this yesterday when confusion between Return Voyage Skipper Bob and myself over who was actually going to pay Yachting World, (where we have kindly been hosted at no cost during our regular stop overs here in Port Vila) resulted in Chimere leaving the fuel dock loaded down with 1300 litres of diesel without paying!

At least we now know what happens … the wharf boat races off after you !

By the time of Chimere’s departure from the fuel dock, Mike Clarke and I were up north, at the village of Paonanigsu, talking with the elders of the church, watching the installation of the solar panels and electrical system and making a mud brick stove with the bricks made a week before at the Supporters Tour demonstration.

Skipper Bob’s frantic phone call broke into all this … and went something like   …

“DIDN’T YOU PAY FOR THE FUEL !!?”

reply …

“Hi Bob, the line’s breaking up, I thought you were paying for the fuel with the cash in the ship’s folder?!”

reply…

“THEY’RE CHASING US IN THE FUEL BOAT AND SAY WE HAVEN’T PAID, I THOUGHT I SAID THE CASH IS IN THE FOLDER FOR YOU TO PAY !”

reply…

“I thought you were going up to the office to check out the conversion rate if we pay in Aussie dollars.  I didn’t see the folder, is it still there with the cash in it … how far did you get before they caught up with you ….?”

reply…

“THE PHONES BREAKING UP AGAIN … FOUND THE CASH … ALL GOOD … NO PROBLEMS … SEE YOU IN SYDNEY …”

reply…

“Safe trip, all the best, I’ll drop in tomorrow and explain the confusion with a box of chocolates,  CHEERS”

And now I see from the SPOT GPS Tracker on the MSM website that after about 18 hours Chimere is well on the way to the northern tip of New Caledonia – so I can only assume she paid her dues and was released to go.  We look forward to hearing more from aboard Chimere as the days go by.
Back at the village of Paonangisu, Mike and I enjoyed a (specially made) wonderful lunch and I’ve got to say, the mud bricks we made last week during the Supporters Tour were of a very high quality (nothing to do with the lunch) and had fully dried hard and ready to use.
A big crowd gathered for the making of the mud brick stove in the church cooking hut – my first actual stove construction after around 50 brick making demonstrations from Futuna to Hui over three years.  It was an exciting time and almost everyone got a chance to place a brick, follow the instruction manual and smooth off with their hands.  Stay tuned for the photos and video!!
While all this was happening, Batick and his solar workers were running cable through the church ceiling, installing the 13 high output (but low wattage) LED lights, assembling the panels on the roof and the batteries, inverter and other equipment inside the church.   Morinda’s partner, Charlie, will make a secure, locked, box for the batteries and other equipment and the money raised by the members of the Supporters Tour, to pay for it all, will be dropped off today.
solar-power-takes-shape
In addition to the solar panels, Mike spent some time demonstrating the operation of the new projector to the local teacher and church member Toara Kaloris with some complimentary DVDs off Chimere thrown in for good measure.- Lion King, Finding Nemo, Jurassic Park, Chicken Run, Bass Strait Fury, Ice Age 1& 3 and Incredibles
It was truly a whirlwind visit and by the time farewell speeches were completed and Mike was presented with his woven basket, it was clear that our driver Edward was ready to whisk us back to Pt Vila in his taxi.  On the way back it was interesting to witness Edward stopping off at a roadside house with a sign out front that read something like … “We Gut Benzin”.  After pulling in to their backyard, next to a shed, a young woman came out, unlocked the shed and brought out what looked like a McWilliams Sherry bottle full of petrol.  As we drove off I asked Edward … ” how much petrol did you buy” … “About two and a half litres”, he replied.  It’s good that the small cars get such good fuel economy and keeping such a small amount of petrol in the fuel tank certainly keeps unnecessary weight to a minimum.
fuel-stop-on-the-way-back-from-paonanigisu-two-litres-to-go

Elder Roger’s earnest and heartfelt thanks to the members of the Supporters Tour, to Morinda and to Mike and myself made an emotional end to a very successful day.

From our side, it was just amazing to have the solar system installed just 3 days after the departure of the Supporters Tour by I man found pretty much by chance after making a few phone calls, whose wife happens to come from the same village, is a member of the church and who would do the installation for free.

Sleep came easily upon our return and with just a day or two to go before our return Mike and I are making a list of all the things that need to be done … it’s getting longer!

Smooth seas, fair breeze and remember to pay for your fuel before you leave.

Rob Latimer

www.msm.org.au

To read older Ships Log posts go to …

http://msm.org.au/category/2013-ships-log/