4th of December 2018, Back at Christmas
Washington Island passed by like a breeze. The sea was so calm, it was almost eerie. Too bad that we had no copra to load this time. Because the Copra Authorities owed us so much money, a statement had to be made. We would not load copra this time. What a shame, because the entire population of the island depends on us to transport the copra to the main island Christmas. This is the moment that people get paid for their work. I’m glad to say that the statement had the desired effect. Part of the debt has been paid, so we will resume our copra operations as soon as we are beck from our voyage through the Cook Islands.
On the second day in Washington, Chrissy took some of the crew ashore to set up a Kwai store. Shaded by the tropical trees, many people came by to look, touch and buy. Nowadays, the tablet is in great demand. It is literally a window to the outside world that we call civilization.
After my regular maintenance on the ship was done, Evy sent me ashore to retrieve a water pump from a broken down tractor. This item he brought ashore in Fanning island the next day to fix the Kwai tractor that we use for our operation there. Although the tractor was from a different model, Evy made it work. This is what he does best: juggling with the means on hand.
Supercargo Chrissy had a bunch of crew members help her organizing the warehouse that we rent in Fanning. A large amount of totes with ‘floating cargo’, or ‘rejected consigned cargo’, or however it is called, was transferred to the ship and added to the (now 100+) Kwai store totes. Soon a Kwai store on shore was organized with great success. It’s obvious that we fulfill a demand in the remote Kiriabti islands.
In the morning of our departure from Fanning lagoon, we noticed that the aluminum barge (and outboard) was missing. Apparently, it had worked it’s way loose from the mother vessel and went adrift. The sharp eyes of Boota were needed to spot the vessel that was washed up on the beach near the old rusty Barge. Luckily the current had dragged it towards this closed bay, instead of dragging it out to sea. Success!
For the first time since I joined the Kwai, we were able to set sail on our way back from Washington to Fanning. Even our trip between Fanning and Christmas we were blessed with fairly calm seas and a mild breeze, averaging 4,5 knots in stead of the usual 3,5 knots while motoring back to Christmas.
In Christmas the operation was singular. Once our passengers and luggage were unloaded, we brought on board more than a hundred drums of petrol for our customers in the Cook Islands. Tomorrow morning a group of pearl divers will join us, destined for the island of Manihiki, one of the few islands where there is still an industry of pearl farming. We’re looking forward to sailing South, crossing the Line again. Hopefully with the Westerly winds that have been predicted. Hoist the Blue Peter… we’re going South!