18 April 2018 | Brisbane, Australia
12 April 2018 | Australia
10 February 2018
07 January 2018 | Redland City Marina, Brisbane, Australia
07 December 2017 | Brisbane, Australia
16 November 2017 | Brisbane, Australia
03 November 2017 | Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
01 November 2017 | behind Moreton Island, Queensland
31 October 2017 | Somewhere else in the Coral Sea
28 October 2017 | Somewhere in the Coral Sea
15 October 2017 | South Pacific
08 October 2017 | Yasawa group, Fiji
03 October 2017 | Makogai Island, Fiji
28 September 2017 | Vanua Levu, Fiji
08 September 2017 | Vava'u Tonga
01 September 2017 | Alofi, Niue
20 August 2017 | Palmerston Island, The Cook Islands, South Pacific
10 August 2017 | Mauphiaa, French Polynesia
02 August 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia

An open invitation - Eyeglass Assist - Solomon Islands

18 April 2018 | Brisbane, Australia

Six weeks until D-Day (departure day)

12 April 2018 | Australia
We're back in Brisbane and moving on to the next phase of the project – final preparations before departure for the Solomons. I've heard it said that nothing said in a sentence before the word “but” is not important, however...that is not always the end of the story, as far as we are concerned.

The good news is that we have received the official Immigration Department documentation that grants us permission to enter the Solomon Islands, a process we instigated many weeks ago but has finally been procured. We now must move onto Customs and Quarantine clearance, which, in theory should be easier. In theory...but... (there we are again), we are quietly confident.

On the BUT side:

Since March, 2017 we have been working closely with both the Solomon Islands government and Lions Recycle For Sight Australia to enable the project to achieve it's goal of fitting and supplying 10,000 pairs of spectacles to people living in remote regions of the Solomon Islands. This support is essential for the project to succeed - the Solomon Islands Government: in order to recognize and support a need in their country and to facilitate arrangements to allow us to do what we said we would; and, also Recycle For Sight to supply us with the spectacles.

Only within the last 48 hours Recycle For Sight has advised us that they will not be able to supply us with all the glasses we have previously requested. They recently filled a large order and our request had not been taken into consideration. What this means is that there is now insufficient time left for them to accumulate and sort the number required for our project.

Of the 10,000 pairs requested we have just been provided by Lions with approximately 4,000 pairs and we will hopefully be supplied with another 1,000 before our intended departure date, but there are no guarantees. We have worked tirelessly to make this a reality over the last year and so we are not prepared to give up. We sincerely thank the people who have supported us and understand and appreciate the program's goals, you have our heartfelt gratitude.

In order to undertake the actual voyage to the Solomon Islands and thus embark upon the on-the-ground phase of the project, we must now determine the minimum amount of spectacles needed in order to make the investment of time and effort worthwhile. We have therefore decided that we need to source at least another 3,500 pairs of reading glasses and, because of the time limitations, they will most likely need to be new rather than recycled.

We are hoping that a company will see the value in what we are doing and come to our rescue but at the same time we are trying to source superseded styles from wholesale outlets or importers in Australia and hope that they will supply them without charge. We realize that this is probably unlikely and therefore we may need to buy them. So, we will attempt to raise further funds to cover the unexpected extra cost of the glasses. It is a tall order but we are doing this because we believe it is a good thing and we will do whatever is within our power to ensure the project's goals are achieved.

If anyone has any ideas or is willing to do anything to help us overcome this unexpected obstacle then we would appreciate any help given. We are asking everyone to please just do the best they can to spread our message and help make the project a reality. You can contact us through our website contact page or via our phone number referred to on the site. We need your help.

It is very regretful that this has occurred but we must move forward and we want to stress that, regardless of the above situation, the Lions Club Recycle For Sight Program team work very hard, doing so on a volunteer basis and they deserve everyone's support.

The photo: Frances sorting though the stock of glasses on hand

A huge thank you to our valued sponsors

08 March 2018
On behalf of our organisation Eyeglass Assist, we'd like to thank the companies below for the invaluable assistance they have give us in enabling the project to help give better vision to 10,000 people in the Solomon Islands. Because of your help and understanding of what we are trying to achieve, we can make many people's lives just a little bit easier.

High and dry in Brisbane

07 January 2018 | Redland City Marina, Brisbane, Australia
On a marginal high tide we managed to navigate Monkey Fist up the Eprapah Creek to Redland City Marina ......I think when we relaunch we'll do so on a bit higher tide.

It's the first time that we've been hauled out using a Sea Lift and I must say that we were both very impressed. We felt Monkey Fist was very safe and at the same time handled with kid gloves.

Our plan is to leave Monkey Fist out the water while we drive to Tasmania and along the way do some fund raising and presentations. If any one would like a presentation at your club or for any group, just contact us via our website, we'd be more than happy to oblige. Upon our return in early April we'll start preparing Monkey Fist for the Eyeglass Assist project to the Solomon Islands.

A huge thank you to Ken, Lauren and staff at Redland City Marina for their support of Eyeglass Assist as well as their professional approach to their work.

Eyeglass Assist - presentation at the QCYC

07 December 2017 | Brisbane, Australia
Last night we had our first public presentation for Eyeglass Assist at the Queensland Cruising Yacht Club in Brisbane. We were received well and the audience asked quite a few very good questions at the end of the session. So it was a great start. If there is anyone out there who thinks their club or other organisation or company would like to hear our story first hand we are more than happy to oblige. The presentation runs for about 45 minutes followed by question time. We plan to drive south in January as far south as Tassie, so if anyone along the way is interested you can send us an email via the contact form on our website www.eyeglassassist.org and we'll sort out our itinerary accordingly. If you need a break from all the bad news in the world today, we can share with you a story to shine a little light.

Eyeglass Assist - visit to Lions R4S centre in Brisbane

16 November 2017 | Brisbane, Australia
Frances and I visited the Lions Recycling facility in Brisbane yesterday and met with the Chairman of R4S, Ken Leonard OAM. Ken has confirmed that our 10,000 pairs of spectacles will be ready for us whenever we want to take them. I reminded him that we wanted to take sunglasses with us also. He said "how many?" I said "10,000". He said "not a problem!". Now we've just got to work out where we're going to fit them on Monkey Fist.... keeping in mind that our long time friend, experienced sailor and nurse, Caroline Phillips, is keen to accompany us. Won't be an issue we'll have Frances the expert packer on the job.

Back in the Land of Oz

03 November 2017 | Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
We arrived at the Customs Clearance station at 3 am and tied up to the dock, sat back and had a quite glass of our favourite poison. This is the first time that Monkey Fist has been back in Australia since February, 2011 and only the second time for us personally. It will be interesting to see how much has changed since we left. Time to hit the bunk as we have to be up in 3 hours to be cleared in after only 10 hours sleep in the last 3 days. I'm not really sure how that happened but that's how it goes sometimes and I'm not complaining, it's all a part of a life on the sea.

And just in case you are wondering... no, we are not finished yet.

Photo: Moonset under the Gateway Bridge in the Brisbane River
Vessel Name: Monkey Fist
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 43DS
Hailing Port: Darwin
Crew: Paul and Frances Tudor-Stack
About: After spending over 20 years in the NT Paul and Frances returned to the sea in 2008. Their first trip was into the Pacific via West Papua and over the top of PNG and then back to Australia where they sold their old traditional boat "Sea Spray" and bought "Monkey Fist"
Monkey Fist's Photos - Main
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