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Date: 24 Apr 2015 10:24:28
Title: Fishes in the trees 20:7.99S 169:49.65E

This morning we took off with two local guys on board, Nelson who is our interpreter/pilot and a friend of his, David a happy old fellow with almost no teeth.
Our plotter went banans on the way up so we had alarms going on, I had to reset the system and with that came all the functions that had to
be reprogrammed. First time we had any problems since we installed the new autopilot in NZ. It all went well and hopefully it will work without problems. One thing that could be the source of problems was that Ellinor had stuffed metal cans right next to the compass that gives the headings to the autopilot.
Both Nelson ad David had never been on a boat like this before and most probably they asked themselves what good all this electronic stuff does as it kept me busy like we were flying to the moon.
Before entering Port Patrick I really wanted to make sure that we had all in place.
Once we got here it was no big deal to get in, it felt wide and deep.
We dropped anchor at 20 meters depth which is a lot, but there is a river here that brings a lot of red mud and that in turn makes visibility to zero.
As planned it was only Little Explorer and us that seailed up here. ChezNuis is waiting for KWA a cargo ship that has 1,8 tons of supplies for this village. No sign of them yet... Can you believe how funny it sounds when you call them on the radio? You are supposed to call the ships name three times in a row: KWA;KWA:KWA, sounds like a duck that has been shot...
Once here Courage, the local guys from our boat and I went ashore to greet the chief and ask permission to help.
 
How shall I describe what we see here? Think of a giant bulldozer, about as wide as the entire coastline here in the north, that has cleared land 300 to 400 meters up from the beach, 400 meters that is almost half a kilometer!
This happened even with dense reeefs that protected the shoreline. After these 400 meters you can see how vegetation has got into a fall color, because the saltwater has killed it.
Then comes the village which is really spread out, all their gardens are more or less destroyed, especially banan trees etc. The kasawa I have been told is chopped off so the root remains in the ground without the part above ground, that is to protect it when the hurricane strikes. Otherwise the wind will turn them up and then it is gone.But big trees have fallen over their gardens and many of them cannot be saved.
So the víllagers open up new land to plant and grow.
Nobody died from the hurricane, they all took protection in a church made of concrete. The houses here are build with natural material and it is surprising to see how many that made it. But the families that had houses within the waves range lost everything, just everything.
Three waves came and one of them almost took Joshua, a young guy that understood that one crippled woman was missing, he went out for her and while carrying her to shelter a wave took them, he managed both back ashore and escaped a second wave.
 
Meeting the chief was no problem, and after 3 pm we had the doctors ashore to help at the aid station. The aid station is runned by health aid person, Sandy. The medicin she had was just some aspirins and band aids.
The building was very small and all built with leaves and with mats made of leaves inside.
 
On Little Explorer there is a chiropractor and you might think that she is not much needed. It is the opposite, most people here have back problems and other pains due to hard physical work. The people here have worked like crazy to clear the land from all the fallen trees.
There is almost no signs of fallen trees left! Then comes clearing of debris etc.  So Kim the chyropractor has more job than the doctors.
Tomorrow the clinic will work on while Courage and I have a chainsaw to fix so they can be more efficient. We also have families that need help with rebuilding their houses. We will see what we can do for them.
If ChezNois turns up we need to organize landing of the supplies.
 
As I walked around the village  I was told how it was when Pam hit. Ironically right after the strike there is too much food. All the fruits, bananas etc has to be eaten before it rottens away as it has fallen to the ground. Fish, they had fish everywhere, even in the trees!!!!
Here is also a landed whale, a humpback and according to the villagers it is surrounded by sharks that eat from it at high tide.
I think we have to look at it tomorrow.
 
Finally let me tell you how proud these people are, I met Marseile, a 40 year old man with wife and 4 kids.
Their house is no more, not even a print of it is left.
So  asked:
What is most important now?
To bulid a new house further up the slope, we do not want to live down here any more.
Do you have tools?
Not much.
Do you need machetas?
Yes
Can we bring you tomorrow?
I did not ask for it.
No, but I ask you.
OK then.
How many?
Is two OK?
Yes, do you need hammers?
No we have two.
Nails?
We need nails.
So I ask you, do you want nails?
If you ask, yes.
We bring tomorrow.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
 
 

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