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Archive for April, 2014

Greetings Everyone,

A yachties nightmare!! — a dark night, storm and pouring rain, a gale in excess of 37 knots blowing, a lee shore, the anchor starts to drag and the engine won’t start. Phil disappeared below, prised up the floorboards and discovered the starter solenoid wasn’t working (turns out a micro-switch in the solenoid circuit which prevents the engine starting if the propeller shaft brake is on had failed) and shorted out its terminals with a piece of wire to get the engine started — all in less than a minute. It gets worse; between us and the shore was a roped off swimming enclosure with small floating buoys every metre or so. We went over top of them into less than a metre of water under the keel. The dinghy was down and the enclosure rope got wrapped around the dinghy outboard. All this in the anchorage highly recommended for the prevailing conditions at Bodrum.

I backed the engine off and Phil got in the dinghy and worked it free. You can imagine how much fun that was in the dark. We re-anchored — five times. Each time the anchor dug in and held for an hour or so until the wind went over 37 knots then off we would go again. The bottom was mud, weed and kelp and after it dug in it would lift out whole chunks of the kelp then drag.

About 1am a Turkish man from another boat came over in his dinghy and led us closer to the shore near his boat where the holding was slightly better. He stayed talking for over an hour. Needless to say neither of us slept all night.

Early the next morning we took off for another bay a few miles away and dropped anchor in SAND. Thankyou for those who pray constantly for our safety.

Regarding the Louisiades — the HF radios I installed at Misima and Rossel are working. Bruce and Dianne Bentley who used to do similar work with us over there have been keeping in contact with Misima. Dianne has organised to raise funds to send to two of the pastors we trust so they can buy food and other necessities to distribute to the more remote islands of Sudest and Rossel where the worst of the damage was. It is very important over there to make sure funds go to people who will distribute it to the really needy and not just to their own “one-tok” (family). If anyone is interested Dianne’s number is 0409693171.

We are waiting on Warren and Jan Jolly (friends from NSW Central Coast) to arrive on Monday to spend a few weeks with us sailing around the area.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Just an update on the situation in the Louisiades following cyclone Ita’s damage. The placed marked ** are where we have been working and have friends.

The following is the official government report as of two days ago:-

“The preliminary assessment report from the outstation confirms massive destruction to food gardens as well as dwelling units and local water supplies. No loss of lives was reported from the cyclone. However communication through Digicel mobile had been a problem with HF radio forming the bulk of communication throughout some parts. A report from Bwanabwana LLG also noted a missing boat MV Saga carrying 23 people on board still at large.

Table 1: showing number of homes destroyed by TC Ita. These figures are preliminary and the estimated number of houses destroyed is about 1160 and destroyed gardens about 5390.

  • ** Panaumala – Population affected 501, 18 houses destroyed,all food gardens destroyed
  • Bagaman – Population affected 335, 12 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed, VSAT communication affected
  • Motorina south – Population affected 295, 28 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • Motorina North – Population affected 416, 7 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • ** Brooker Island – Population affected 556, 25 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • Panapompom – Population affected 675, 11 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • ** East Panarati – Population affected 1024, 9 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • ** West Panaeati – Population affected 843, 10 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • ** Kimuta – Population affected 695, 15 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed, aid post building destroyed
  • Sabra – Population affected 1183, 39 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • Grass Island – Population affected 970, 5 houses destroyed, all food garden destroyed
  • ** Western Point – Population affected 548, 23 houses destroyed, all food garden destroyed
  • Tagula station – Population affected 69, 4 houses destroyed
  • Nimoa – Population affected 789, 15 houses destroyed, all food gardens destroyed
  • ** Rambuso – Population affected 783, 2 houses destroyed, food garden destroyed
  • ** Rehuwo – Population affected 721, 23 houses destroyed, food gardens destroyed
  • Jinjo – Population affected 1084, 1 house destroyed, food garden destroyed
  • Njaru – Population affected 645, 2 houses destroyed, food garden destroyed
  • Pwambwa/** Saman – Population affected 744, 4 houses destroyed, 10 gardens destroyed
  • Ware – Population affected 955, 57 homes destroyed, all food gardens and classrooms partly destroyed
  • Kwaraiwa – Population affected 575, 7 homes destroyed,  all food gardens destroyed

There was no report from the south side of Sudest Island at that time but the latest information is that Jelewaga has been totally flattened. Nor has there been a report from Damunu on Rossel Island

The most critical problem is the fact that all the food gardens have been destroyed. These people are subsistence farmer and have virtually no access to alternative food supplies if their gardens fail or are destroyed. The pastor at Kimuta Island reported that the people were eating the coconuts that had fallen from the trees during the cyclone and when they are gone there is nothing else.

God bless,

Phil and Pam

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Greetings Everyone,

Just a brief request. We are very concerned to hear that cyclone Ita which did so much damage in the Solomons then travelled directly across the Louisiades, at one stage being centred on Sudest Island. The information we have received is that it has flattened Rossel, Sudest and Nimoa Islands creating huge floods and landslides which have wiped out their gardens (the only source of their yams and other foods) and destroyed their homes, schools and other infrastructure. It is difficult getting any information as there is no communications with these islands now. As the Louisiades are “the end of the line” so far as the PNG government is concerned the likelihood of official help getting there quickly is remote. In fact their local parliamentary member, who is based in Alotau on the mainland, didn’t even know that the cyclone had hit the Louisiades until he was contacted by one of our friends in Townsville asking for information about the damage. Rossel and Sudest Islands are the ones we spend most of our time at when we are over there and we would appreciate your prayers for these people. Most of them are close friends of ours. We don’t know whether there has been any loss of life at this time.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

 

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Greetings Everyone,

This is really weird! We are anchored in a large bay near Dacta. There is a paved path over 1 1/2 kilometres long around the bay and all along are attractive apartment buildings, some 2, 3 or 4 storeys high with gardens and fountains and statues — but no people. Well there are some — all gardeners, painters and repairmen getting them ready for the May influx. There would have to be over 500 rooms. It was like being in a ghost town. They have village markets here and we were able to stock up on fresh veges but other than us there was only a handful of people.

One was a German lady. She and her Turkish husband had bought one of the apartments but he later died. She was very friendly and we had morning tea with her one day. She told us that come May the place would be swarming with tourists and all the apartments would be full. By October the place would be deserted again.

We also asked her about another puzzle — a beautiful bay further east with what would once have been a well established camping ground about a hectare in size with toilet blocks, kiosks, powered sites, picnic settings, water sports — all now totally derelict and just left — even the rubbish all stacked in trailers. She told us the big complex where she was together with the demise of scuba diving in the area had killed the camping ground and it was just left. We felt very sad as the area was fabulous for camping and hiking and appealed to us much more than the glitzy tourist places.

There is so much money tied up in tourism and it is all highly competitive. Meanwhile we are enjoying having some space to ourselves — deserted anchorages beautiful surroundings and the chance to meet interesting local people before the rush starts at the end of this month.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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