Sunday 16 May 2010 Port Resolution

T’was a lazy day today, befitting the generally accepted local Sunday-rest-day policy which we have embraced wholeheartedly and which anyone in Australia over the age of 50 may recall from their childhood.   It was also to be the day on which our new crew member, Matt Bryant was to join us, but unfortunately his knee operation of a few weeks ago hasn’t healed as rapidly as he’d liked so he’s had to pull out altogether.  We’re thinking of you Matt and we’ll keep a bunk available for you in the future sometime.

I heard by email last night that Jessica Watson finally finished her circumnavigation yesterday, so I should start tonight’s Ships Log by passing on our congratulations.  Like many, I was following Jessica’s regular blogs, up until coming over here a couple of weeks back and have a feel for the ups and downs of such a venture.  Well done to Jessica and all her support team.

After a bit of a sleep-in this morning I got Scott to drop me off at the beach and went up to the hot-spring village to deliver the photos I took yesterday and to also find a church service to attend.  I met Sarah and Jack’s father Jake and after dropping off some donated nails, rope, canvas, a couple of wind up torches and a few other useful odds and ends from the boat I was led to where the whole village was engaged in their Sunday worship in a clearing under a massive tree on a hill overlooking Port Resolution and the surrounding district.  It was a wonderful service, full of singing, enthusiastic bible reading and preaching (in Bislama) but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit conspicuous – a white face in a sea of brown.  But I found a spot next to Jack – my new best friend from yesterday making mud bricks up in the forest and the day before on the beach.  The weather has finally come out sunny and during the worship service I was surprised to hear thunder and realising it couldn’t be thunder looked around to see what else it might have been.  It then occurred to be that it was Mt Yasur and the volcano.  As Jack said … “we are on the back of the volcano. Yasur is just 3km that way” pointing up the hill.

After the service I couldn’t raise Chimere on the handheld VHF radio, so Jack’s father, who was sitting next to me under a tree at the top of the beach suggested Jack could take me out in the dugout canoe … “It no problem” he said “he like to paddle”

So that’s how I made it back to Chimere, a passenger on a dugout canoe with Jack behind me paddling.  As we arrived at the boat and tied up, there was Scott and Bill coming back in the dinghy from helping another yacht which had just arrived from Fiji and needed assistance with local anchorage conditions.  It’d been a trying passage into constant headwinds so they greatly appreciated a helping hand at the end.  They have their yellow Q (quarantine) flag up at the moment and will probably consume a fair amount of the next few days completing their formalities.

Jack stayed for a cup of coffee and some lunch aboard and when it was time for him to paddle back to the beach the wind was up and right on the nose so Bill and I towed him in with the Zodiac.  Probably the fastest that dugout will ever go

There are 5 other boats in the harbour at the moment and each one has a story to tell – the single doctor originally from Kenya who set off from England in his small yacht picking up back-packer crew where he can, the Englishman who bought something like a pearl lugger in New Zealand with a 15 foot bow sprit and is bound for the UK with an itinerant crew and a Danish / Australian couple who have been sailing the world on their yacht since 1999, working for a few months here and there to raise just enough to get from port to port.

The mud bricks and the making of low-smoke stoves are gaining more interest.  During the worship service this morning I noticed Jack showing a group of his mates the colour manual of how to make them and then again afterwards and a couple of older blokes told me they’d been up the hill to see them all laid out on the ground.  Then tonight Scott said he’d made an appointment for us to meet some blokes at a nearby village, which appeared poorer than the rest, to hunt for suitable clay to make bricks there too.

After being mentioned in despatches recently in connection with cooking, kitchen cleaning and outsourcing the doing of clothes washing in support of local industry, Scott and Bob have asked not to be included in tonight’s Ships Log, although I should say, tonight’s dinner of fried Wahoo, mashed Deb and chocos by the youngest crew member was amazing.  A great effort Scott, doh!

Tomorrow is dedicated to boat maintenance – engine drive belts, anchor winch motor and bilge pumps, and hopefully running two mud brick making sessions in different villages ashore.  Jonathan, who’s real name I discovered today is Donovan (must be my hearing) said that he and Jack will undertake to teach the next village down the track from them, so I’ll make up an extra mould for him to pass on to them.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and good ol’ Sunday rest day

Robert Latimer