Friday 2 August 2013

 

Port Vila

 

by Andrew Latimer

 

Today is the day! The rest of the boat crew pus the medical team arrive today. We set off tonight. So today started off busy from first light. Water tanks were filled, data cards topped up, dinghy hoisted aboard and everything stowed.  Normally we would not do jobs in the direct sun after midday because the heat is tremendous, but today we had a time table to keep to so by the time we finished stowing things on deck we were hot and bothered (to use polite language).

Just before midday we paused to have a bang up lunch a Jill’s Café. Dave and I had planned this as a thank you to Denis for all the lovely meals he has cooked this week. We had the Jill’s Berger and Cruise Ship Burger.

Back on the boat we finished the tying down of everything in a pool of sweat so just before the taxi arrived to take me to the airport I had a shower and changed into a freshly laundered MSM shirt.

The taxi driver had his Dad with him and we chatted about Tanna all the way to the airport.

We got to the airport in good time and I placed myself in the line counters of tour operators who wait for passengers as there was one vacant. Megan was first off by a long way and she walked past me a few steps and then paused and processed the fact that she had seen an MSM shirted person who must be who she needed to find. And so official with his own desk!

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Eventually everyone came through with piles of extra luggage. Also on the fight was Vicky who is a dental nurse from North Ringwood and who will be working at the local clinic with Bob.

While the new arrivals organized local SIM cards for their phones I found our taxi driver and we discuss how everyone plus luggage was going to fit in his taxi. The taxi was a very smart Suzuki van but even the supersized model that it was couldn’t fit us in. So father of the driver organized a second taxi (the original small model Suzuki van) and we made a convoy back to the boat.

Luggage and people made their way aboard and found new places to live. Vicky and Peter (of dental technician fame) went off to the clinic to check out the equipment.

So before long everyone was making happy sounds in their respective corners of the boat while Denis cooked up a dinner of Beef and mushroom pie plus sautéed local vegetables and bacon, steamed beans, fresh bread from Bronte (in Sydney courtesy of Rhod) and chocolate mud cake (made on board by Denis). Various wines etc completed the picture. It was a wonderful first meal together.

At some point before dinner we managed to have a formal safety briefing. All our medical team dressed up with life vests and sat with interested faces while we discussed things like man over board procedure, life raft deployment, fire response and physical safety. This was topped off by an introduction to marine toilets. In the words of the ships manual “The toilet can be your friend or your enemy”. That says it all. This was followed by a personal demonstrations!

After dinner Rhod and Martin applied themselves to the chart plotter while on shore Dave found a local girl who had collapsed on the grass. That was after he noticed someone from another yacht walk to the toilets stepping over her on the way! Our medical team went ashore to help and asked the security officer to call the ambulance. The ambulance came and attended to her in a very professional manner.

We are all back on board now enjoying a nice cup of tea. I’ll head off to the airport shortly and we’ll head out to sea on return which will be about mid night.

 

 

Smooth seas, fair breeze and we’re counting down now

 

www.msm.org.au

 

To read older Ships Log posts go to …

http://msm.org.au/category/2013-ships-log/

To see additional photos of Mission 1 go to …

http://msm.org.au/2013-mission/2013-photos/?album=3&gallery=43