Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vanuatu by Plane

Walking to get the bus, house dog accompanying

Mele Cascades Waterfall
Erakor School kids made boats 
Typical Outrigger Canoe, though usually seen floating
Signs and wonders at Outdoor church meeting
Exquisite little beach on eastern coastline
 I flew to Vanuatu and had ten great days with some of my family. We stayed in Erakor Village in an entire house Zoe found through Airbnb. It came with resident cat and dog, had free WIFI a gardener and a cleaner, and amazing views across the water to Port Vila. And was much much cheaper than conventional tourist accommodation.

To get to Port Vila we walked up the road till eventually a minivan with a B on the number plate would appear - one seemed to go by every ten or fifteen minutes -  we would flag it down and be in town in 15 minutes for about $2, and usually have an interesting chat with other passengers on the way.

It was only four months since the country had been devastated by Cyclone Pam, and everyone had a frightening story to tell of hiding from the storm. Many houses in the villages still had tarpaulins for roofs and there were uprooted trees everywhere but few other reminders of the damage done. In the market however noticeably absent were bananas, pawpaw and mango,so tropical fruits were off the menu.

We did the normal tourist things, wandering through the village, tasting the local food, swimming and snorkelling, reading...and it was all over much to quickly.

Back in Fiji, the rigging had all been replaced and the boat taken out of the water so I could replace the propellor shaft fitting and stop that leak. All I needed to do to free the propellor shaft was loosen four bolts and a grub screw. However the bolts were so rusty that I couldn’t move them and was forced to get a local diesel mechanic to do it. Then he broke the grub screw and stripped another bolt while removing the damper to try to get better access...when he arrived with no tools, and headlight with flat batteries that I had to replace I just started to wonder how it would all go...

He then suggested welding a nut onto the top of the grub screw, and various other things and I could see the whole thing spiralling out of control into an escalating series of complications, delays costs and frustrations, as I had with the cam shaft repair last year. I got the stripped bolt sorted by an Engineering firm in Lautoka and asked the mechanic yesterday just to put it all back together and I would live with the leak. Its only ever been a small problem when motoring, and when not  motoring I tighten a hose clip around it and stop it completely...

So, as the boat was out of the water I decided to repaint the bottom with antifouling, and did it myself.

Later today we go back into the water, and looking at the forecasts I think I will be clearing out of here for the last time I hope, in two days time. Ive made it known that I am available to help out in the hospitals of Vanuatu if they could make use of me, but haven’t heard back from them yet.

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