Well it is Monday the 29th and here we are in the Island paradise of Buka. The sun is shining, exotic birds are singing', happy young couples are walking hand in hand through the coconut groves and along the white sand beaches. There is power here so we are enjoying cocktails freshly made at the bar on the beach and the condensation on the frosty glasses sparkles like translucent pearls in the rich tropical sunlight.....
Actually no :-(
We are still on Nukutoa.... a storm has been raging for a few days meaning we are out of solar power and have had to borrow a generator while we wait for the Sankamap to return from Tasman Island where it has been since about last Wednesday or Thursday. First the boat stayed a night at Tasman as it always does and should have left the next day, then there was a party so they stayed another night (most of the crew are from Tasman), then they developed engine trouble and stayed another night then the engine trouble mysteriously went away much like those mysterious headaches one gets after consuming lots of alcoholic beverages. Then it was raining so they couldn't load the cargo. Now finally they're ready go the next day except now the storm is upon them.
Yesterday (Sunday) they tried to load the ship but must’ve failed due to the weather. Overnight they lost all three of the ship’s anchors so now the boat can't keep in position for people to board. Apparently it has to leave the choppy Tasman lagoon and go into the ocean where it will wait for the passengers to come out over the reef in small boats and board the ship in the gentler ocean swells. Going over the reef is no small feat. According to Richard you stand in waist deep water beside your boat on the lagoon side of the reef then when the boat driver feels there is a gap in the breakers everyone clambers in and you head full speed through the waves to the Pacific Ocean beyond.
If this happens successfully today at Tasman the ship will begin the 24 hour trip to Takuu (that's traveling at 6 knots in fair conditions - it will probably be longer with the weather). If the lagoon is calm when it arrives in Takuu, the ship will come through the channel from the ocean and, unable to moor due to lack of anchors, it will steam slowly round the lagoon while we chase it in small fibreglass boats and attempt to board it while still moving....That's plan A.
Plan B (The B is for Ballsy): If the lagoon is choppy we will have to brave the reef as outlined above. Sponsors need have no fear though, because all the gear is insured....right Lyn??? (Ed’s note – yes, of course, absolutely).
Luckily my will is up to date. My sister Renee will do very well in the event of a reef crossing calamity, however I fear my wishes for my ashes may go unfulfilled ;-). I'm afraid Briar's next blog may have to be the bequeathing of her worldly possessions.
Meanwhile on Nukutoa Briar is making use of extra time here to get more of our footage translated (although I think our translator Sio is hiding from her) and we will have the chance tomorrow to film the kids back at school, which reopened today after the holidays. At the moment I'm being slowly asphyxiated as I type beside the smokey generator while keeping one eye on my lunch to make sure Briar's rat doesn't eat it.
After lunch Briar has organised to interview Apava, both the oldest and scariest man in the village; he's kind of a cross between Grandpa Sinpson and Hannibal Lector.
Anyway as this is probably my last blog ever and sometime either tomorrow or the next day my body will be dashed to a bloody pulp against the razor sharp coral lying beneath the monster waves that crash upon Takuu's outer reef (affectionately known as 'The Widowmaker'), I have to say to any rich, attractive girls reading who have unspoken desires for me, this may be your last chance to express your true feelings.... Well I'm not really expecting a huge response there, but it's worth a shot.
That is all for now....And perhaps forever..DUMMM DUMMM DUMMMMM (that's my dramatic music outro)
"The Widowmaker" and the wreck of the last ship that tried what we will attempt.