Last weeks in Vanuatu
11 August 2008 | En route to PNG
Picture is of OceansWatch PADI SCUBA trainer Leila Cara with 3 of her pupils who can now do their own ReefCheck surveys by Scuba.
Week 12th July
Jegs, Irene, leila met in port vila for the first time, over dinner.
they discussed a game plan to retrieve boat from Malakula which had
been been held up due to bad weather.
The following day Rachael joined the party and began the documentary
shooting. The team broke off into two groups, Jegs and Lleila flew to
Nostrup in Malakula to retrieve the boat and bring it safely back to
Port Villa. They spent hours in the heat of the day peacing together
local dialogue that eventually landed them a ride. they were given
pride of place at the front of the truck, Two hours in a taxi service
that was more like a full scale delivery service, exchanging news,
money, letters and goods throughout the exciting journey.enabled them
to make there way to the boat to meet with James and Katie,.mean while
Rachael and Irene ventured deep into the Vanuatu jungle with fit
machete wielding natives who demonstrated the traditions of Kava
planting harvesting and drinking rituals.
It was dark by the time Lala and Jegs met with the boat, after a few
hours sleep the boat set up for a long beat to windward. Thirty hours
later the boat made it to Port Villa, a relief after their battle with
30 knot head winds and seas to four meters. Although a little slow
Magic round about behaved her self perfectly tacking easily and making
The team was was reunited. Everyone was happy to be on dry land,
enjoying a pizza and open air cinema at " Nambawan " Cafe. On screen
we all got to see Lalas debut performance on the Thailand shores of
The next day was saved by Rachael as the oceanswatch crew were put in
a bit of a pickle. After the entire supper market was impressed with
the three full shopping trolleys of food, they were less impressed
when the OceansWatch card declined. lucky for everyone Rach had a
financial back up.
With the unexpected delay of the boat reaching Port Villa due to bad
weather the project was now seriously behind schedule. the crew had to
move fast to succeed in the important task of training the Nuna Pele
locals to dive. We all looked forward to exploring the marine
protected area and play our part in helping secure its success for the
On the way to Nuna Pele we were lucky to experience the village Katie
had been calling home for the past two years. We presented the Chief
of the village with a tuna that we had caught during our sail. We
spent our time going over fish identification and important notes for
our Reef Check training. This is the place we parted ways with James
and Katie, it was sad for us all, but exciting for the new crew to
look to the horizon and set sail for the following weeks of our
Week July 21st
Our first challenge was met when we arrived at Nguna Pele. The reef
extended nearly two miles from the island making it impossible for the
crew of Magic Round about to off load the compressor and dive
equipment. Luckily the local MPA (Marine Protected Area) were geared up to assist and with the
use of their MPA inter-island ferry we were able to transport what we
needed to the Island and begin the dive training.
We had two principle objective, firstly to get our team trained in
Reef Check to enable us to extend ReefCheck methodology in isolated
areas, the second was to train a team of locals to scuba dive. Rex
and Felix work with Vanuatu Fisheries and JICA (a Japanese NGO) and they would use there
scuba training to help monitor, protect and replenish the stocks of
the Giant Clam, Green snail and Trochus shell. John, the third
trainee was involved with the Nguna Pele MPA. This area
was set up by Chris Bartlett, a former Peace Corps worker, who still
actively works to extend awareness and activity in the MPA.
This area has become a model for other Marine Protection
Programs in Vanuatu due to its success. One of the ways funds are raised is by
encouraging tourists to "Adopt a Turtle" during the tagging process.
We were always on the lookout for other ways to provide support. We
assisted John as he completed the sinking and boy placement of a
safe mooring that protected the breathtaking coral gardens from anchor
damage. We were also invited to design, investigate funding and installation
of four yacht moorings to provide visiting yachtsman a safe place to
moor - this will provide a small cash flow for the local MPA.