Gidday, as we Australians say.
My Name is Ross and I am the First Mate on Kwai for Voyage 50. I heard about Kwai from another Australian, Madeleine, who was Captain of Kwai a few years ago. I love sailing with a purpose and delivering cargo to remote Pacific islands certainly fits that description. I have been a professional Captain for 30 years and have circumnavigated the globe around Cape Horn, mainly on square rigged sailing ships. However, the highlights for me have been running a cargo ship to the outer islands in the Solomon Islands and sailing my own boat to Vanuatu working on rebuilding and aid projects after the devastation of Cyclone Pam 3 years ago, all funded by my small town in Tasmania.
Kwai is a very happy ship led by the easy-going legend Brad, from Hawaii, whose knowledge of these waters, sailing ships and cargo operations are surpassed by none. We have Jane, our Irish/ Canadian cook who has worked in posh restaurants and produces great food and Myra, our super cargo from The Netherlands, who is very efficient at her job and a lot of fun. The Kiribati crew, most of whom have worked on the ship for many years are easy going, relaxed and love to laugh and listen to reggae. I struggled to remember their names to begin with as many of them start with T and sound a little similar at first. Toki, Tabura, Teitera, Tematang, Tetaake with Beeni and Arioka the only exceptions.
As we approach our first stop at Christmas Island the excitement is building particularly the Kiribati crew who have been away from home for some months and are looking forward to seeing their families including Arioka’s newborn baby and of course celebrating Independence Day.