Under a full moon
Ratbags sails are billowing out to a warm light south easterly trade the full moon is shining silvery light over a long slow pacific ocean swell. Effervescence bubbles up in our wake, a truly magnificent night.
Sam, Lars and Ina are sleeping below decks, its four in the morning. Soon the sun will be showing its first twinkle of light. Ratbag is gently making her way across the waters towards Suva. This will be the fourth trip this season, each one has had its own special memories and moments. So much has happened during the few months, we have all come so far and experienced so much, Im not sure where to start.
Earlier today one of my crew simply remarked “Life is beautiful” and moments like this most certainly are. Such amazing crew mates and inspirational people all around, and at the threshold of such an increadable project.
As you probably know we all suffered a great loss recently, as our friend Alifereti decided to leave us and move on, the experience that followed his death I shall always remember. It was both a privilege and an honour to know Alifereti, and to be able to share the grief and loss with his family and friends and village is something I just can’t find the words to describe, Gratitude is my hearts memories of this great man, Thank you Alifereti for your gifts to us all.
There is no doubt that it temporaliy took the wind out of our sails, but I am glade to say that we have passed thru the doldrums of that time and it brought us all closer. Ina and I sailed the chefs to Suva on Ratbag and Sam lars and rolly skippered Lia Fal with a crew of villagers, as did Pete and Ali on Hibiscus, the bond between us sailors and the wonderful people of Solendamu has become stronger as a result.
Sam Lars and Rolli have been Maintaining and sailing Lia Fal since the departure of the original delivery crew. Doing a superb job, she has preformed a valuable roll as was hoped and has faithfully introduced many of the villagers of solendamu to the realities of sailing ships and ocean crossings. Shes been thru a mixed bag of weather from tropical trades to white out squalls. Thanks Lia Fal and Sean for passing her on to us, Lia Fals sprit lives on, again bringing attention to important issues in the south Pacific and playing a key roll in change. And respect to her crew for sailing and maintaining her so well. Lars and Rolly you guys are AMAZING, and to Sam her newest captain, I’m sure hell never forget his 21st birthday, being the same day of his first captaincy to Suva, respect to you bro.
Ratbag has been support ship on each of these missions and has become the chiefs boat of choice, I guess that sort of makes her the flag ship of late, my gratitude to the late Curtis Ashford for building such a beautiful, simple and traditional sailing ship. I’m sure he would be smiling if he could see what she is up to now and all the young hearts and minds she has captured and introduced to the ocean and sailing boats. Thanks Curt.
With the move of Sam and Ratbags crew to Lia Fal, Ina our lovely German sailor has stepped up to first mates position, and she is doing an amazing job. In a short time she has come far, she could now confidently explain where to find the “main top throat halyard block and knows how to service it! Once again I am so grateful for my good fortune to have attracted such amazing people into my, our life and our project. With the amazing opportunities opening up I’m sure shell be a fantastic female sailor and skipper.
The project seems to be creating quite a buzz, especially now that we have started talking about it with a wider group. The crew is finally starting to understand the deeper implications and the huge potential of what we are up to, we may just do something that could really change the way the pacific presently travels.
We have been in Suva for a few days now resupplied the boats had another round of meetings, researched some more on timber and qualification opportunities. We now have on board some timber to build a 16’sailing dory upon our return. Presently we are waiting for the weather to improve, hopefully to depart tomorrow. I’m looking forward to doing some practical boat building stuff, and it will be great to get the villagers out sailing in a small boat, that’s the place to really learn. We should be back in Suva within the next two weeks, so ill do my best to update you again then.......