Wednesday 31 July 2013


Port Vila


by Andrew Latimer


Independence Day is over, so today, apart from a few locals who might have celebrated too much and weren’t feeling too good, everyone was back at work; including us. Peter (dental equipment technician) picked us up at 9am and drove us to the clinic. Peter was to install the new suction equipment and Dave was to install a new power point. As it happened, the suction equipment is a mobile unit and didn’t need installing. So Peter showed everyone how to maintain and operate the gear then helped Dave.


Richard was very distracted sorting out visa issues for the incoming volunteers and he left us to our own devices. Morina pointed us to the tool shed so we set about finding the tools needed for the job. Then we sorted through the stores to find electric cable and power points. What we couldn’t find we bought at the hardware store and another store run by Chinese which has the usual eclectic range of merchandise. We wanted double sided tape which they decided they didn’t have after a search of the premises by several staff. But we persuaded them to sell their own half used roll of tape which was found under the counter. After several forays to the shops we had everything we needed. Meanwhile Dave had been progressing as far as he could until the materials arrived. There are now two new power points above the dental nurse’s bench. Richard was very pleased with the result.

At 1:30pm Richard came down to the yacht for lunch and a planning session. Lunch was prepared by Denis which he called frangipani meatballs with wilted greens and honey banana and was served with lime water. Naturally the meal was devoured without effort!

The planning session was very useful. During the meeting we emailed Dr Duke in Melbourne to ask if he was able to organize medication for Yaws disease as we had heard it was prevalent in some areas we are visiting.

Richard noticed that there was a mistake in the proposed return flight arrangements for the local health workers. They are to stay on board until Santo rather than flying out from Norsup.

We went through the proposed anchorages one by one and several of these in the latter part of the trip may not be suitable due to the depth of water and rock ledges. We will get some local information when we get to that part of Melakula and also survey the area. If necessary we might have to skip some of the itinerary or at least arrange for patients to come to alternate points on the coast.

Tonight we decided to make water to make sure our intensive training had not been forgotten. We did pretty well but had to stop as we noticed the sump pump up forward was not working and the tank was overflowing. Water making had to stop and repairs had to start. We need some replacement parts so it will now have to be finished tomorrow. Peter has offered the use of his car again which is great and will speed us up no end. He will also help us transport all the drums of outboard fuel we need to get.


Smooth seas, fair breeze and there’s Work to be Done


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