Sunday 15th August 2010 17:00hrs 19 45’S 166 46’E
Just over 24 hrs out from Port Vila and rolling off the miles on the homeward voyage.
It was all a bit of a rush to get away yesterday, but had we missed clearance formalities before 11:00 am, we would not have been able to leave before next Tuesday. The 3 remaining inbound new crewmembers, Tony, Rhod & Rim arrived on board at 4:00 pm, so it was immediately off with 5 passports to Immigration to, at least, get our outward people cleared to leave – but not Chimere. At Immigration it was learned that Customs was now closed, do not open weekends, and Monday is a Public Holiday (Assumption Day), so no yacht clearance. However, there was a freighter departing for Noumea at 11:00am on Saturday, so maybe, JUST maybe, the customs might be around long enough to issue Port Clearance, if in a friendly, co-operative mood. So on the doorstep of what was a completely vacant Customs Office at 10:00am sharp, followed by some serious “Pevention of Blindness Project” pleading, success with the most important item to all seafarers – Port Clearance.
Back to Chimere with paper in hand to refuel at Duty Free fuel price before they closed at 12:00 (also until Tuesday) only to learn that the Clearane document alone was not sufficient to buy fuel duty free. A separate form, also from Customs (now closed) was needed. Time was running out. Less than 45 minutes before closing time for everything! What was more important? Fuel at full price or duty free grog (very cheap)? The decision came without too much deliberation.
So here we are, Bob (that’s me) & the pirate crew Tony, Rhod, Carl and Rim on the final leg of the MSM mission for the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project for 2010. There is no doubt that those who have contributed to the 2010 mission have succeeded in their respective roles – the Medical teams and the MSM crews who supported them.
All we aboard Chimere need now is your prayers for a safe journey home – and enough favourable winds (or fuel) to get us there!
Fair winds & smooth Seas