I woke up and went to put the kettle on. The fresh water pump was off and when I switched it on it just kept pumping. I walked over to the faucet and only air sputtered out. I turned off the pump as fast as I could when I realized we were out of water. Chris mentioned there was 20L in the aft port locker and I put it in the tank before towing 50L of empty water containers over to the beach.
Derek and Osborne came over to the boat to discuss the consensus reached by the Tehakatu'u Conservation Committee.
Chris went to investigate the Avatai primary school. He was shown around by principal Roselyn Pongi. The school is a community initiative not supported by the government but has had some help from a New Zealand based Christian group during its setup phase.
07/13/2009, Rennel Island
ARRIVED RENNELL 11 41.5 S 160 18.9E
07/11/2009, 11 58'S:160 52'E, Solomon Islands
Testing our satellite phone blog system. We are 12 hours away from the Indispensable Reefs where we hope to do a Reef Check survey if time allows. Next stop is Rennell Island where the community wants to start an MPA. We hope that the remote Indispensable Reefs will be relatively healthy so can act as a baseline for nearby Rennell.
After a knot tying class instructed by the skipper I got a general overview of the brand spankin' new diesel power plant that is right under Chris's bed. He says it keeps him nice and toasty even on the coldest of nights here at 10 degrees south.
We changed our course to head to North Indispensable Reef which is just south of Rennell Island. We've been fortunate with the weather and have had a few days of really good sailing so have a day in hand for what should be a very interesting venue for a Reef Check survey.
July 9th 2009 - Back at Sea
We packed up this morning after a good night's sleep and set sail for Rennell Island . We have 2 Brown Booby hitch hikers who don't seem the least concerned that we're on this boat as well.
July 8th 2009 - Hello Solomon Islands
As we entered Gracioso Bay, Nendo Island from the west through a tight channel we were greeted by a few canoes, a sea turtle, and another pod of dolphins. We anchored outside of Lata to clear into the Solomon's. After clearing with the police in Lata Chris met with John Mwelo, the Senior Education Officer for the Tamotu Province to discuss how OceansWatch could help local schools in the future. Chris also visited the hospital to see how future OceansWatch visitors to Nendo may be able to help (skin creams for fungal infections are the main need at the moment).
If he weren't a more composed man the captain may have thrown the sat phone in the bay today after endless attempts to send and receive email. We need to get a different account for our emails.
July 7th, 2009 - Goodbye Vanuatu
We said goodbye to the northernmost islands of Vanuatu this morning while reworking our rotating duty list (chores!).
A bit of rain and beautiful sailing!
July 6th, 2009 - Sushi!
Fishing attempt successful as we hauled in a ~10kg Dorado. Sushi and steaks.
Alison is SEA SICK!
July 5th, 2009 - Dolphins see OceansWatch off
As the skipper Chris was going over safety procedures Alison spotted some fins far off the starboard side. A few minutes later we were greeted by a pod of dolphins which someone identified as the "Pantropical Spotted Dolphin". We'll be reporting the sighting to OBIS. I practiced being the official Magic Roundabout Pacific Trip 2009 Videographer with the new Sanyo water proof video camera. Check the http://www.youtube.com/user/OceansWatch OceansWatch YouTube Channel for updates. I'll upload new content as soon as I get to the internet.
My first real day in Vanuatu and Magic Roundabout's last day was full of the normal preparation tasks and new people. I met "Schelmi and Isabelle" who are on a lovely new Islander 46' Wharram named "Waka Taitea". Enthusiastic about the project and full of smiles they will be hosting Natalie and Emily for a couple of months. I think you can find a link to their blog on the OceansWatch site as well.
Luc from Sloopmouche, the South West Pacific representative for http://www.noonsite.com demystified underwater videography for me in between helping Natalie and Emily with plans.
Karl owns a Dive Resort at Devil's Point and has spent enough time working on environmental projects to be hip to the lingo. He spent some time with our team sharing some local knowledge. New OceansWatch member Richard with his beautiful Hanse 54' showed a genuine interest in participating in the future.
Elsie from Yachting World Vanuatu was generous enough to provide free mooring to the OceansWatch vessel Magic Roundabout.
After Cleo and Alison finished instructing the PADI Open Water dive course for the new local Reef Check team Magic Roundabout set sail for Solomon islands.
07/03/2009, Port Villa
Hello, my name is Gardner Bickford. I just arrived in Port Vila today after a gruelling trip through 5 different airports in four different countries over as many days. I am OceansWatch member #3. I have been volunteering with OceansWatch since late 2007, working with Martin Chadwick on the website. I am a 28 year old Yankee with a mission to live on every continent for one year. Hopefully after I have accomplished that then I can move on to living on each of the seven seas for a year.
I was fortunate enough to be selected as crew on "Magic Roundabout" for the 2009 Pacific trip. As I'm sure you've already read on the http://www.oceanswatch.org/page/pacific OceansWatch Pacific Project Page, the "Magic Roundabout" team is made up of Skipper Chris Bone, Marine Biologist Cleo Pandelaers, Marine/Environmental Scientist Alison Schmidt and me. Cleo and Alison are PADI Dive Instructors and all of us have a diverse repertoire of skills that I hope will become evident as this blog continues. This year we are focusing on working with island communities to develop local teams that can help to define, create, and maintain marine and terrestrial environmental conservation areas to protect resources which, in some cases, are vital to the survival of local communities. Most of that work for OceansWatch involves equipping local teams with knowledge, allowing them to continue Reef Check work and to come to reasonable communal decisions on environmental conservation topics. On land in PNG we will be meeting with Carey Senior. Carey is an OceansWatch volunteer water engineer who will be helping four villages work together to bring a fresh water source into each village. I am keen to help Carey in any way possible which will most likely involve me getting dirty in the jungle. So, stay tuned for pictures!
Magic Roundabout Set the sails to Vanuatu !!!!
After waiting all week in Opua for better weather conditions, OceansWatch crew has been finally rewarded for their patience. Magic Roundabout took the oportunity of a window opening and safely left New Zealand yesterday.
OceansWatch leader Chris Bone, accompanied by marines scientists Cleo Pandelaers and Natalie Riddler should arrive in Port Vila, Vanuatu in 9 to 10 days.
In the meanwhile, enjoy your trip and hope you'll see some orcas !!