Thursday 25 July 2013

Port Vila

It’s been a big day and now that it’s getting onto 12:00 midnight the eyes are getting heavy and sleep is knocking on the door.

With the help of my assistant Amos, the deck is now fully painted after 3 days of applied work. The weather has remained calm and dry and it’s a joy to walk around such a lovely deck. I’ll post a photo for all to see – seems a crime to start cluttering it up again with dinghies, bags and stuff.


We picked up the Honda generator, which apparently had a lot of rusted connections with large calcium deposits which prevented 240 volts being generated. After a complete once-over and the payment of just $70Aus it’s working beautifully – and may it continue to do so.

Ray took the dinghy and the two gas bottles up the harbour about 1km to the Origin Energy wharf where they were filled ready for the next mission. Meanwhile Jon set about making and fitting small spacers to the HF radio aerial so as to set it off the backstay. We are hoping this will improve our SailMail transmission and hope to try it very soon. If we encounter problems we might invite the guy off the nextdoor boat over for a coffee, apparently he’s an IT and communications expert … always good to have one of them about.

There are always interesting people walking along the Waterfront here, and sometimes they are just looking and soaking in the scene, other times they seem keen to have a chat. Mid afternoon there was a rather lively Ni-van woman dressed in sporty leotards and a reasonable amount of bling. A very urbane and sophisticated woman who turned out to be Rose – originally from the island of Ambrym but had lived in the UK for the past 30-40 years, giving her an amazing perspective on life back here in Vanuatu; along with life in the west of course.

Dynamic, irrepressible and ambitious are three words that probably sum up Rose Wuan as well as passionate for the development of her Rossanger Point, North Ambrym region. Rose, who was accompanied by a Swedish chap called Tom, (who was delightful company and who was having his yacht repaired in the shipyard here and had just struck up a friendship with Rose), invited us across to the Waterfront Café for “Happy Hour” and then we invited Rose and Tom back to the yacht for dinner of spag bol – prepared by me from the finest canned and packet ingredients – and easily found in the store cupboards I might say as a result of Tony and Christine’s wonderful re-packing and categorizing.

In the course of our discussions I mentioned to Rose that I remember talking to an elderly couple at the last Vanuatu Fellowship meeting (in Melbourne) who had spent time as missionaries in the 1950s and 1960s on Ambrym. Straight away she said, “the Dyalls” … “yes, that’s right”, I said. Then Rose said that their daughter Robyn Dyall was a particular friend whom she had spoken to this morning and who will be coming over to visit her Ambrym village in a matter of weeks. Rose’s father was taught by Mr Dyall and she recalled so fondly the guidance, leadership and wonderful example they provided as the first missionaries to that region.

Just goes to show, it doesn’t take long to find someone you know here in Vanuatu. Tony and Christine said their final farewells today and might even be
back in Australia by now.

Arriving tomorrow will be the bulk of the new crew … Andrew Latimer (as skipper), plus Rhod Cook, Denis Flores and David Mears. The medical team will then arrive the following Friday (2 Aug) with Mission 2 starting the next day after an overnight sail to the southern part of Malekula. (about 70 miles to the NE – weather forecast looks good!)

We now have about 15 hours to get everything in tip top condition before picking them up at the airport around 3:30pm – best get to sleep first!

Smooth seas, fair breeze and what a nice deck Chimere now has.

Rob Latimer

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