TNS461 15/06/2016 Forward Port Reporting- Ahoy lubbers!
After sailing overnight we arrived at anchor at the beautiful island of
Vanua Balabu south east of the main island.
The crew took the tenders to land to be greeted by islanders where they were
given a welcoming ceremony (Savu Savu) in the community hall which included
the traditional giving of and drinking Kava.
We were very taken aback at the devastation which was still evident after TC
Winston, with their properties still under repair and swathes of the island’s
trees missing we were told that it would take up to 4 years for the main
crop of coconut trees to produce fruit which is their major crop. Asking
the villagers what we could possibly give them to help they told us how
desperate they are for seeds to grow vegetables as the cyclone even
destroyed their small gardens come allotments. Other items that were
mentioned were garden tools and a treadle sewing machine to repair and make
We were surprised at how UNICEF had come to the aid of the islanders in
providing tented accommodation and even a canvas school to allow the
children to still receive education under cover until the school is
repaired. The school was also surprisingly well equipped given the fact that
almost all of buildings and equipment were destroyed.
Fran did not go ashore as he had the pleasure of filleting a swordfish
weighing over 30Kilo which Mike obtained from a fishing boat on Suva – Mike
tried to barter a price but the fisherman gave him the fish for free. The
experience of filleting it left some marks on Fran’s arms so technically he is claiming to be the first shark attack victim on Tenacious.
While activities continued on ship the rest of the crew discovered the
islands reef, snorkelling amongst tropical fish in a warm blue ocean. A
stunning sunset was watched by the crew who were remaining for the last pick
up back to ship.
All safely back aboard dinner was served – a mix of delicious swordfish,
avocado and lime salsa, meatballs, potatoes, salads and snake beans
purchased locally followed by Pilgrim Lime pie.
There was a lot of reflection in the bar later looking back on the day, at the luck of some and misfortune of others.
The next morning saw the arrival of a boat from the island collecting an
eager Chief Engineer who deployed with parts and knowledge to assist in
repairing their ailing generator – he returned a little later with 3 of the
villagers and a car battery to put it on a charge for them. During this
time Mike the Sailmaker was busy collecting left belongings from previous
voyages, sandals, shorts, t-shirts and other articles and the crew rummaged
through their bags for basic first aid items, paracetamol, plasters in fact
anything they thought would be of use to such a remote place.
We left the island a little more aware of the ongoing problems these lovely
people face on a day to day basis.
Heading out under power the Captain navigated us through reefs where we
passed a couple of small yachts, one of which, a Swedish flag flowing
behind, hailed us with the greeting ‘we saw you Tahiti!’
After lunch (did I mention we had a big swordfish?) sails were set and the
Fore Course made good after Dave and Fran went aloft to help release the
Smoko is about to be called so from Port Forward in the beautiful Pacific
islands of Fiji we wish one and all well.