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Friday, October 2, 2009

Sept 11th remembering our homeland as we sail into Port Vila

We wonder if September 11th will always send a chill up and down our spines as we have our morning coffee and ponder how violent life has been in these beautiful remote islands of the South Pacific. These dear people, innocent and sheltered in their own civilizations, protected from the impact of cultured nations have many times over fallen victim to Western, Asian and European Nations' struggles for power. They have known more death and suffering than most others ever will, and that is just because of their location on the map. They have been invaded, dominated and stripped of natural resources by the superpowers and then left to lick their own wounds and to repair their own lands. Amazingly they remain childlike and ingrained in their own traditions and values. They are precious and proud. We have tremendous respect for them. After coffee and a leisurely breakfast we bid farewell to simplicity and then weighed anchor in anticipation of reaching Port Vila in time to book dinner at a nice restaurant.

We had an easy day sailing up around Devil's Point (known for the underwater currents that have claimed many a ship), and into Port Vila. We cheered as we entered the anchorage full of yachts. John on "Windflower" had made sure that a marina berth was reserved for us, and as we were settling in we heard a familiar voice on the VHF; "Destiny, Destiny, This is Mai Miti, do you copy?" James was here! We have somewhat adopted James. Whenever we see him we treat him as we would hope others would care for our kids if they were out and about so far from home. James is the same age as my daughter, Jen, yet in many ways he is far older. He is our peer out here and we consider him family.

To compress our Port Vila experience -
We met with Sam from Kaleva Yacht Services to arrange for the batteries to be dealt with ASAP,
We ate out as much as possible,
We paid $100 for two weeks worth of internet that was crummy but at least it worked about 25% of the time,
Frank played golf,
I sent lots of laundry out to be done (who cares that it cost $15.00 per load!),
We watched two All Blacks Games at the Anchor Inn Sports Bar with James and a bunch of Kiwi friends,
We watched NY Giants play the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday Night Football on Monday afternoon at The Anchor Inn Sports Bar,
We found out that for the second time in 2 ½ years, our very expensive house batteries needed to be replaced,
We ordered new batteries and fought with Lifeline over warranty issues,
Frank played golf again,
We found out that we would be spending our children's inheritances on new batteries to be shipped from Australia and installed,
I uploaded some pictures to our website,
We ate Ice Cream Sundaes at Jill's American café at least 5 times.
We shopped at real grocery stores,
We shopped at the 24-hour open-air market,
Frank played golf,
We went on an excellent shore excursion to The Cascades waterfalls,
We got our Australian multiple entry Visas,
We ate a righteous Sri Lankan dinner buffet at a local 5-star restaurant with Jaime, Christine and James and toasted Andy and Melissa (they are getting married in Sri Lanka in March of '10),
We bid farewell to James as he left for New Caledonia,
We made lots and lots of new friends and had the time of our lives. We loved Port Vila.

On September 26th I baked brownies, banana nut muffins, boiled eggs, and prepared a meal-at-sea and then at 5 PM, we departed for New Caledonia.

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