Monday 29 July 2013
by Andrew Latimer
Today dawned bright and sunny which is a contrast to the rainy weather we have experienced since arrival. It wasn’t long before bright and sunny turned into extremely hot and muggy making it hard to work.
Being Monday it was the start of the week at the fresh food market with a new group of farmers setting up to sell their produce.
The first job for me this morning was to organize a new SIM card for my phone. I find phone plans hard to understand at the best of times but here in Vanuatu there a few more challenges. A very patient young lady, by the name of Linda, talked me through the plans and options and showed me the phone coverage maps. It looked like the SIM would be useful for half the time I am in Vanuatu but would not work while on the west coast of Melakula. At the end of the conversation I asked Linda which island her family comes from. To my surprise she said “Melakula”. “Really”, I replied, “that’s where we are going. What part of Melakula?” “Wintua” she answered. So I explained that we will spend some time there and on our last visit we went to a wedding. She also knew Richard Tatwin. I asked when she last went home and as it was some years ago I asked if she would like us to deliver anything for her family. “Thank you that would be nice, I will ring my mother and ask” “But Linda, you told me there is no reception there, how will you ring her?” Linda looked very sheepish and smiled and said she would use the other carrier! It would get reception there. So we have two phones on board, one from each carrier and apparently that is normal here.
When I got back to the boat Denis showed me the broken can opener. “We’ve got a ship load of cans and no can opener!” he exclaimed. So off to the nearby supermarket I went in search of a new can opener. It seems no one else needs a can opener because the store had all sorts of other utensils but only an old school can opener for about a dollar that works on the gouge the tin open principle.
The high light of the day was a visit to the clinic. Richard welcomed us warmly and gave us a tour of the new clinic. Dave has volunteered to install a few new power points and Richard asked us to look out for a man named Peter who is a dental equipment technician who could help them by installing the brand new suction equipment. The said Peter did indeed drop by the boat later in the day so we have now organized him to install the suction equipment on Wednesday morning. Richard is coming to the boat for Wednesday lunch for a planning session. Richard also hinted that an additional medical person might be joining us for the tour.
Flushed with Denis’ bread making success of yesterday, Dave was keen to give it a go today. A great job he did too with one of the loaves being garlic bread that we used for our offering of hospitality when socializing on another yacht at the end of the day. It was a big hit.
Denis spent the afternoon planning the menu for the next three weeks. Denis explained later that he took into account the quantities needed, the operational requirements, the desire for variety and nutritional values. And he explained that he put the whole into a global context with dishes from all over the world. Dave and I were speechless and I just meekly typed it into the computer and printed it off. Denis is now thinking where to post it on the cabin wall!
Before dark Denis and Dave went off to a nearby beach in the dinghy for a swim. Dave was a bit unnerved to find he shared his swimming spot with a 1m long sea snake!
Meanwhile I made a last foray into town and took some pictures. The P&O cruise ship was leaving port and made a magnificent sight as she maneuvered. It brought back memories of the help we received from P&O in tour 1 in 2010.
The day has now come to an end. Dinner was very late tonight and Denis prepared a Vanuatu beef and roast sweet potato dish. Magnifique !
Smooth seas, fair breeze and we visit the new clinic.