Sailing the Pacific

09 November 2010
07 November 2010
05 November 2010
26 October 2010
19 October 2010 | Somewhere between Fiji and Vanuatu
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
03 October 2010
15 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
02 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
08 August 2010
29 July 2010
25 July 2010 | Bora Bora
20 July 2010
16 July 2010 | Moorea
16 July 2010 | Moorea, Society Islands

medicines sans frontiers

23 May 2010
Isabelle, feeling much better.

As i reclined into the couch in the cockpit with sweeping views of the bay and mountains in the background, i looked up through the skylight to see a Tropic Bird flying past with it's two long tail feathers trailing behind. Then i opened my mouth for the Dentist to look inside.
Yes, this is the most scenic dentist's surgery you will find!

Michel on Mariposa kindly offered to take a look at a troublesome tooth of mine. He is a largely retired dentist who travels with pretty much a full dental set-up on his catamaran, doing mostly charitable work wherever he goes, with the locals who often lack complete medical care.

We've had great luck with medical care way out here in the middle of the Pacific.

First, Isabelle came down, or rather up with some lumps in her neck on the way across from the Galapagos, still about 1000 miles from land, so we had to use the satellite phone to call Dr Rowan Sawers in Melbourne for advice. Then, after arriving in Hiva Oa her condition was getting worse. Fortunately, someone knew someone (as it often seems to be the case here in the cruising community) who was a doctor on another boat. Sophie, on board the boat Shark, is a French medic and she generously offered to take a look at Isabelle after we rowed over to see her.

She was able to diagnose and also had the right medication on board. She wouldn't take payment either. She said the medicine was all free, courtesy of the hospitals in France. And her time? Well, that's what friends do here, even if just new.

Still, Isabelle didn't get much better, but even worse afer a brief improvement. So we trudged off to see the doctor at the Hospital in Atuona. We were surprised to learn that there was no charge for seeing a doctor here. We were met by friendly, smiling, relaxed staff and directed to one of the doctors. The nurse, who was also husband to the doctor, told us he is a kite surfer, and needed a repair. At least we could return a favour here. They drove us home to their house which happened to overlook the yacht harbour, so we could have a look at the job. Not quite in our line, at least we could supply him materials to repair the kite valve. They were happy, and also gave us some pamplmouse, mangos and passionfruit to take with us.

We didn't get charged once, not even for blood tests or for tablets preventing elephantiasis (which are available to anyone).

It would be nice to think that Australia, and other countries, would also include travellers in their medical benefits.
Vessel Name: Dagmar
Vessel Make/Model: CAL 39
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Australia
Crew: James Thomson and Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hello and welcome to our new sailing blog! Our dream is to sail across the Pacific Ocean this year starting in Costa Rica and finishing in Australia. [...]
As we have been told by fellow sailors, when you live at the mercy of the elements plans are like "Jello and Sand"- wobbly and unsteady like Jello (jelly for us aussies) and when you write something in the sand often it will be washed away with the tide. It is for this reason that we didn't finish [...]
'Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain
' I felt my pulse beating with suppressed excitement as I threw the mooring bouy overboard. It seemed as if that simple action had severed my connection with the life on the shore; that I had thereby cut adrift the ties of convention. The unrealities and illusions of cities and crowds, that I was free now, free to go where I chose, to do and to live and to conquer as I liked, to play the game wherin a man's qualities count for more than his appearance. 'Maurice Griffiths, The Magic of the Swatchways.