ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
We are very blessed to have Georgie Mitchell, HBYC Committee Member, on the deck in Vanuatu for us. She's the most sober of the lot, as she flew in, so here are some reports and pics. Thank you, Georgie.
"Lots has happened since I arrived. I'll start at the beginning and hopefully be able to send you some photos this arvo to back it up. If i can't get the photos through today, as the internet is a bit flukey here, I will send them in the morning from Australia."
"I got here at 2am Friday and was greeted by Tim (Beau) at the airport, checked into the hotel and walked down to see the boats. We jumped on The Secretary and had a few drinks with George and Robyn, who had only been in a hour or so. Robyn was exausted from her marathon effort of the previous couple of days. Angus was onboard too. We went from there over to Samskara, to be greated by a very 'tired and emotional' Colin Leake. Nic Foa was on guitar and the rest of the crew were there singing along."
"The next morning, Colin woke up with a trussed up Cockral in bed with him, aboard Tevake II, and giggles coming from another boat who had been waiting for the coq to go off with the sunrise. Colin, who has a thing for chickens, soon had it on deck and was stroking it lovingly! He tried to blame Samskara who was most unimpressed with it's arrival, as it stank and had fleas."
"As you know, there were plenty of updates from the Ship's Cat on Samskara, so we presented them with a real one. She's called Mrs Chippy, which is the name given to Ernest Shakelton's cat. They loved it!"
"There was plenty of swimming off the backs of boats and begging for showers and clean clothes. The Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club have put a marquee on the shore, in front of the boats, for crew to use. On Friday, Tusker donated two kegs of beer, which were fired up about 4pm. All the crews and families arrived soon after, we even had the Scarlet Runner mob and Brian Pattinson there, the owner of Gusto. Leon Berry got the afternoon skeds and we all drank a beer, or five, for our friends who were still out there. As Vanuatu's Independence Day is coming up, there are fireworks on sale at the moment and the locals are allowed to let them off on the forshore, just near the tent between 6 and 8pm, so we got a bit of a show, as well. It may not have been Hobart or Geelong, but it was enjoyed by all, none the less! The kegs were done by about 8pm and the boat groups slintered off for dinner. Tevake II's choice was the Flaming Bull, where the band played the same song all night long, the cocktails were great and the steaks big. Samskara has loads of kids over, so most of them are over at the Irriki Resort, lapping up the luxury."
"Yesterday was Race Day (Vanuatu Cup and the only day of racing all year!) It's the biggest social event of the year, here. The yachts had been invited to the corporate Tusker tent. Now, how can yachties say no to free beer??!!! Everyone turned up except Samskara. By the time they had organised the troops, it was too late, so they went off for a 6 hour 100,000Vt lunch (AU$1174.00). Well done, I say."
"We arrived at the races to many huts made of palm fronds, with open fires, selling meat galore. Of course we headed straight for the free beer, more free beer and then sin of sins, the Tusker beer tent ran out of beer! This didn’t matter to the yachties, however, sweet white filled the gap! Again all the crews were there, Brian Pattinson representing Gusto, the Scarlet Runner mob and also David from Bona Vista, which is a motor yacht from Brighton. They came over for the race end, as they had done with their sailing boat, Point of Sail, for the 2006 M2V. I’m glad to say, that unlike last year, all the horses finished with their jockey’s still on them!"
"Some of us went on the the Saloon Western Bar, where you buy beer tokens. There are stuffed animals and maniquins everywhere, it was all good until the mozzies started biting and the marlaria paranoia set in! So back to the boats we went, to wait for Garisenda, who got in around midnight As there are no shops open between midday Saturday and Monday morning, three boats had to be raided to raise the mandatory slab for them! Tradition goes that the the boat before them, which was Samskara in this case, has to shout, but with a huge day at the horse races, the bottle shop was certainly missed!"
"The Turbo crew go a bit of religion this morning, at the local Presbyterian church, lots of beautiful signing and somehow, they seem a little purer now. Slinky arrived today, to a fan fare of fog horns and George’s bugle. A covert operation to find beer, in a place where you can’t buy it on the weekend, saw four crates appear from the beer Gods. Again, unfortunately no photo's at this time for you." (May well be incriminating, anyway...)
"George has found a home for the water pump (donation from our Star and very anonymous donator) on a remote Northern island of Vanuatu. It will help get the water to the hospital and school. It is a great story and Robyn said she would try and send an update later on all of the humanitarian efforts. Delivery crew have been arriving today, so everyone is busy."
Now the Ship's Cat (who may well have been cut cat after the races), also got a chance to put the hands to the keys. Thank you, Kim.
"As I type, Slinky Malinky are signing in for their last sked and that means they are an hour away. We are sitting in the Nambawan (#1) Cafe, with Angus and his VHF radio and the Slinkies sound very happy to be so close. I have plenty of stories for all, but I will pass that information over to the ORCV, with pictures, on my return tomorrow."
This morning (Sunday) as they await Slinky Malinky.
Georgie Mitchell and Ryan Blackstock (HBYC Rear Commodore) at the races...
There will be more, eventually...
By John Curnow