Humpbacks at Manihiki shore

On Saturday evening we left Rakahanga for Manihiki with two passengers on board. A few hours later the passengers were picked-up by the local tender at Tukao village. After this we moved to go on anchor near Tauhunu village.

On Sunday we were granted a day off and, as if orchestrated, three Humpback whales showed up alongside. The two adults and calf were obviously interested in the ship and its crew because they chose to come and check us out several times during our stay on the island.

On Monday we moved back to Tukao and started our delivery of cargo, fuel and own trade. Although we always try to take the best care of our cargo, sometimes items get damaged. This time we discovered that rainwater had infiltrated in a tote full of candy, so I sent it to the galley to be sorted out. Later I found half the crew working on the aft deck, sorting the damaged sweets from the good ones. This went as follows: “one for the bin…”, “one for the store…”, “and one for the mouth”! Oh well, at least one third of the cargo got salvaged. After lunch Kelly (Super Cargo), Shoni (Engineer), Banu (Kwai Store manager) and four ‘Kiribati policemen’ were sent ashore to manage the Kwai Store sales.

At five o’clock we rapped-up our business in Tukao and moved to Tauhunu to perform the above operation once more.

At this is moment we have a few cases of skin-infection on board, one being me. Skin-staph infections in the Pacific are really common because of the excellent conditions in which the bacteria can thrive. Besides the humidity and ideal temperature, the coral reefs are sharp and infested with bacteria. Without knowing the exact strain of bacteria, it is hard to find the right antibiotics to combat the infection. Only a few islands have the facility of a laboratory where swabs can be examined. I have been suffering from Staphylococcus Bacterema for months, where the bacteria spreads through the bloodstream, and I ended up using five different types of antibiotics in three months. One month ago Mama Kwai advised me to try a different method. Since then I have been following a strict diet which lacks sugar, flour, rice, potatoes, yeast, colorful fruit, coffee and alcohol. No new infections have erupted, and the existing boils I have treated with great results, using a herb called ‘Te Uri’ and a mix of raw sugar and Betadine, straight into the open wound. This was actually advised by the clinic on Christmas Island, and I now am a firm believer of this local treatment. Seeing is believing!

Bengineer