Thursday 27 May 2010 Pt Vila, Waterfront sea wall, Vanuatu

The day started out warm and sunny, which made something of a change from the past few weeks which have been mostly overcast and mild.  Our list of boat maintenance tasks seemed to be increasing as time went on and it was difficult deciding where we should start.

A discussion with the guy off the boat next to us yesterday revealed that he might be able to help us with servicing the main engine which had been losing power progressively for the past few weeks.  Noah was his name, a 36 year old Canadian fellow who has been travelling the world for the past 2 years with his wife and, as it turns out, he’s a mechanic with quite a bit of knowledge on diesel motors.

“Sure, I’ll have a look at it for you”, he said, and true to his word he crawled all over the motor for a couple of hours this morning diagnosing a range of things which need to be addressed.  The immediate issue of reduced engine power he solved (we hope) by simply removing the clogged air filter; much to the embarrassment of all onboard who claim a degree of knowledge concerning these matters and who’d read the onboard library of books on the matter.

So after a successful day of diagnosing we had Noah and his wife, Vicky over for dinner tonight which was a real treat.  We learned of their sail across the Pacific together, swimming with a wild humpback whale and its baby in Niue and travelling from island to island throughout French Polynesia.

We really appreciate the hard work and knowledge of Noah and for his efforts have made him an honorary member of MSM.

A few yachts further up from us there are two yachts preparing to head north to the Solomons to assist with marine conservation efforts at a village level.  They are from a group called Oceanswatch and can be found at www.oceanswatch.org

We had a long chat earlier today with a guy that seemed to be a leader in the organisation and briefly mentioned our mud brick making exercise.  He was very interested and who knows, the idea may be demonstrated in villages further north as a result of Oceanswatch.

Not a lot else happened today, we chased up spare parts, tidied the boat, liaised with Don and Meg MacRaild from the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project about the upcoming missions in June and July and talked with our neighbours about boat maintenance issues.

One yacht which has been sharing the bay with us, in a manner of speaking, worthy of mention is the world’s biggest privately owned yacht.  It’s called Eos (maybe check out their website) is over 300 feet long, has three gigantic masts and just dominated the bay in terms of its size while at anchor.  Earlier today they came on the radio to inform all concerned that they were leaving the harbour, will be travelling at 8 knots and if anyone had concerns or issues they were standing by to take their call. I heard from a guy off another yacht that the owner was flying in tomorrow and that a large consignment of smoked salmon had been air freighted in because it was felt the local salmon wasn’t up to the standard of onboard cuisine.  I understand how they feel.

The next few days for us will be spent attending to maintenance jobs as we prepare Chimere for her next mission in June and beyond that in July. The next crew arrives on Wednesday and the old (current) crew flies home on Thursday

Smooth seas, fair breeze and three cheers for Noah

Robert Latimer