Ready to leave Whangarei
Position 35:43.70 S 174:20.04 E
Date 04 May 2015
When we returned to the boat before Easter from our wonderful 10 weeks touring the South Island and the south of the North Island we plotted 5 May as our intended departure date. Oh how far away that looked then and how much time we would have to get ourselves and the boat together and gather the second hand clothes and other items that we wished to take with us for our aid mission to post Cyclone Pam Vanuatu. Such are the delusions of the mind and time over matter. Where did it all go, and where were the leisurely days off that we promised ourselves?
No matter, what was important was that we achieved all objectives and the boat is in good order with most jobs completed and we are well loaded with items that we have collected and that have been donated. Whangarei has been a great success providing ready access to good people to work on the boat, excellent sources of equipment and spares and all of the facilities of a major regional and boating centre. Of special note is Carl a 22 year old German man from Weimar who had crewed his way across the Pacific on a variety of craft. He took on the job of polishing the stainless steel and did a great job working over the cracks and crevices with a tooth brush. He also was ready and willing to go up the mast to sort out a variety of issues and any other jobs that required doing. We were sorry not to be able to offer him a berth but Caduceus is definitely a 2 person boat, especially now that the spare berths are jammed full of stuff.
The Mates knee is obscuring the word “Tennis” as in a bag of 200 of them. She is in the process of corralling a mountain of clothes donated by friends and acquaintances and purchased in bulk from the Hospice Charity Shop - $1 a bin bag, clean and sorted.
We both attended the Installation evening at the Masonic Lodge Star of the North where Elizabeth gave a talk to wives and partners on our experiences and our plans for returning to Vanuatu whilst the husbands indulged in more secret goings on. The generosity of the Lodge members brought in a large quantity of clothes, household items and of course the tennis balls which will have great potential as play items. We were also given a bucket of marbles, a game that we had seen played during our last visit to Vanuatu.
Donations were also received from fellow sailors, people who worked on the boat and others who just heard about what we were doing. We even came away from the cottage that we stayed in whilst the boat was out of the water with three large bin bags of very good quality but slightly faded towels and a heap of children’s books. (Birchgrove Cottage – a highly recommended place to stay about 8km from the centre of Whangarei)
On the home front my UK Masonic Lodge, Easterford of Kelvedon, Essex, contributed £1,000 and our family a further £1,000 to provide funds that will in the main be used to purchase food, tools and other items once we have arrived in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu and cleared in through customs. We even received £50 from our Tuesday evening pub preservation society, the Coggeshall Academy. Thank you all.
On the medical and support front we made contact with the Butterfly Trust. The Trust is based in Auckland and has for some years, before the cyclone, been providing aid assistance and with the augmentation of medical and dental facilities in South Malakula and the Maskalyne Islands; the areas to where we are particularly interested in returning. Ongoing, Lynn of the Trust is assisting Elizabeth to become accredited by the Vanuatu Ministry of Health so that she can assist them medically on the ground during our intended four weeks in Vanuatu. We collected 6 boxes of mainly dental supplies from Auckland on their behalf which are destined for Lamap in South Malakula.
Used sails and rope secured to the aft deck. All donated by fellow cruisers. These will provide some useful raw materials for sailing canoes and roof covering