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Greetings Everyone,

We have been away from the boat for ten days staying at Pem, an isolated island village located on a lofty plateau surrounded by mountains. To get there we poled the dinghy for half an hour along the coast then paddled and poled it for nearly three hours up a windy river then a climb up a very slippery slope to the village. It rained all the time. There had been a death in the village and we had to wait a week, first for the funeral and then for the funeral (memorial) feast. I did a three day marriage and parenting seminar which was well attended. Phil painted their blackboards and showed “Fireproof” with increasing difficulty as our film equipment limped along and finally gave up the ghost.

Phil and Pastor Sigi and another man paddled a canoe for five hours to the yacht to try to fix it with no success and then paddled back again — a long day!! We intended to finish off with prayer on Sunday, however, the five year old granddaughter of one of our friends died of TB and the funeral was on Sunday. A sad end to our time there. From there we returned to the Rosma Bible college for a night then another three hour dinghy trip to Abeleti to replace the radio that had failed.

We are now back on the boat again for a rest before our next job which will probably be at Wale village about three hours in the dinghy from here.

To give you some idea of how isolated this place is, we haven’t found anyone who has even HEARD of the name Donald Trump, let alone that he is the US president!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

The last minute adrenalin rush!! We’d had a fairly good trip, mainly 20-25 knot winds. Wednesday came in with 25-30 knots gusting to 36 knots, big seas on the beam and water flying everywhere as Phil struggled to get the main down and we flew along under a scrap of foresail. The pace was fast and we looked like getting in a bit after midday Thursday. As we were about to enter the reef passage (only a hundred yards wide) under motor with the sails down the engine DIED. Oh No!! I headed the boat back out to sea using a bit of the staysail for steerage and Phil put his head in the engine. I could hear all the tools rolling around the floor as the two metre swells rolled us from side to side.

This vessel has a complicated fuel system with back-up fuel filters and a fuel polishing system. Being the clever fix-it man that he is he soon found what was wrong. It turned out that when he replaced the engine room bilge pump a few days ago he must have bumped a stop-cock on the fuel line effectively cutting off the fuel to the engine; not surprising in the rolling conditions. It took him half an hour in the rolling seas to bleed the fuel system and get it going again.

We then entered the reef passage and anchored safely before dark. Phew!! Thank God this didn’t happen a couple of minutes later when we would have been in the middle of the reef passage –thank you all you pray-ers for the protective covering you keep over us.

Today we are having a REST!!

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

Maranatha is safely moored back in Iluka .. well at least most of it is safe. Not the hard dinghy. We were anchored in the river at Bundaberg .. a fatal place for us .. and at 3.30 in the morning someone crept up and untied our hard dinghy (and motor) from the back of the boat and roared off towing it up the river. Phil woke up in time to see them torch it and release it in a ball of flames to drift past us and into the bank. He contacted the police the next morning and while filling out a report with them they told us the same people stole two other dinghies and attempted to take one from inside the marina. Ours was the only one burnt .. a charred mass and a blackened outboard with only our name visible on the stern. So if anyone knows of a seven foot hard dinghy with outboard going cheap …

We will be going to Sydney in November as Phil has to have a check-up on his eye and will visit family and friends on the way.

Keep praying for us .. we obviously need it.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

We are back in Oz but …. this would have to rank as one of our worst trips home. During the first night out the halyard holding up the roller furler on the big headsail broke and left us sailing underpowered and unbalanced (well maybe the admiral was unbalanced but the skipper is quite balanced, typist) with main and staysail. The winds were light and we limped along averaging 2-3 knots. When a southerly change was forecast we decided to change course for Mackay and go through Hydrographers Passage. The change came in earlier than forecast hitting us with driving rain and 25 knot winds on the nose as we navigated that strong tide passage. The wind against tide kicked up huge short steep waves and we motored flat out to do fifteen miles in twelve hours!! It’s now on my list of passages NOT TO DO.

When we exited and could have used the wind it died completely and we motored all the way to Mackay finally clearing customs nine days after leaving PNG, almost double our usual time.

Today Phil and our friend Bruce spent the morning replacing the halyard … not his favourite job as he had a couple of trips up the mast.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are heading for Bundaberg for a couple of days and then making for Iluka when the weather permits.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

We’ve had a quiet week — at least activity wise. Phil has been busy doing repairs. He brought the HF radio back from the Bible College on the south coast to repair it. He fixed the problem and Peddy took it back over the mountain (a six hour walk) to the college. It worked for a short while then stopped altogether so Peddy walked back with it. The second problem couldn’t be fixed so Peddy walked back with a replacement radio which seems to be working well. It’s a harsh environment for the radios but generally they are going well. The main problem has been the solar regulators — four of them have failed which causes the batteries to eventually go flat and die. We are amazed how much use the radios get. They pass messages all around the Milne Bay Provence with them –school information, health information, trading boat movements, personal messages — there is a constant stream of people coming to the church asking for a message to be sent.

Since then Phil has repaired two generators, the schools whipper snipper (all working), a chainsaw (not working — needs parts) and repaired (fibre-glassed) holes in two of the local’s dinghies. In return two men spent three hours diving on our boat to remove the forest that was growing on it. So much for Fiji anti foul!!

Meanwhile the weather has been anything but quiet with bucketing down rain and bullets off the mountains that keep us spinning like a top around the anchor chain.

They had plans for us to go to another outreach this week but a death in the village has put our trip on hold but I think they will send us to a village on the opposite side of the bay for this weekend (nothing confirmed as yet). We are looking forward to moving and catching some fish. It has been a very lean year fish wise.

Please pray for some better weather and some relief from the Rossel mud. Phil has his soccer boots out to negotiate the slippery slopes.

Radio Australia has been dead for a fortnight so we haven’t had much news from home except what we get from our friend Bruce when Phil talks to him on the HF radio.

God bless you all,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

A friend recently mentioned that the Admiral’s Updates have been very thin on the ground and he thought it was because I didn’t think you would be interested in what I am growing in my little strip of garden. True. I HAVE enjoyed being in a house again after sixteen years afloat, pottering in the garden, swimming and walking on the beach and being established in the local church.

We had planned to leave earlier for the Louisiades but had the usual round of delays and breakdowns. I went for a routine dental check and ended up with root canal treatment. Then the toaster, vacuum cleaner and DVD player broke down and the car engine developed an intermittant leak, the house sitter who was moving in for the five months we’ll be away couldn’t come. Finally, Phil went for a colonoscopy and they found something and wanted further checks with another fortnight’s wait for the specialist. It sounds like the normal course of life but does it ALL have to happen in the week we plan to leave?

Anyway, Phil has fixed everything broken, we have a new house sitter and Phil’s last medical appointment is an operatin on the 27th and then it look like all being OK.

SO, we plan to leave as soon after that as the wind blows. Please pray for strong westerlies or a not too strong south-easterly and a safe trip.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

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Greetings Everyone,

2015 has been a very eventful year as we continued our sailing marathon through the Carribean and home to Australia.

Highlights for the trip were our luxury stay in St Lucia with my English cousin and his wife; Australia Day celebrations on the gorgeous island of Bequia; been loved so amazingly by the church folk in little Bonaire; transiting the Panama Canal; sharing a Jewish Sabbath meal on a yacht in French Polynesia; swimming with sharks and stingrays at Bora Bora; meeting with three other Christian yachting families who will remain lifelong friends; meeting the King and Queen of Tonga at their annual agricultural show; being adopted by a Fijian family where I taught Sunday School and they fed me gorgeous Fijian meals

On the down side — the loss of radio communications after leaving Panama causing anxiety to many of our friends and also with AMSA; the broken furler reeking havoc on a wild windy night off the Colombian coat and Phil’s eye problems, now thankfully under control.

It is good to be home!!!!

I said that when we swept into Bundaberg; when I arrived at the Central Coast, my old home town; on arrival at Iluka where the boat is moored and on returning to Brunswick Heads where we intend to live after Christmas. All up I feel privileged to have seen so much of the world (18,000 nautical miles, about 34,000 kilometers of sailing) to have so many “homes” and to have so many friends who have supported us in prayer and in caring as we made our journeys

Our plans now are to do some maintenance on the boat and then finish loading it (it’s almost full already) with gear and then to return to the Louisiades towards the end of May after Phil has his next eye check-up.

Phil and I wish you all a very Blessed and Holy Christmas and a new hope for 2016.

God bless,

Pam and Phil

 

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