Busy week just gone and a frantic one ahead.
Four cubic meters of gear arrived from China and is now onboard ICE. Yesterday our 8 cubic meters of equipment, 1.25 tonnes arrived on a ship and is now on the dock..hopefully by Friday it will all be onboard ICE along with six more crew and all their personal kit too..there will be standing room only( 10 people 20 cubic mtrs of cargo personal bags, food and water for a month, your kidding me..Hmmm???) as we make our way to Nomuka on the 9th July to set up..Not even sure it will work, but we can always put people/gear on the ferry for some of it, which was always the plan, but then we thought it could be fun if we can all squeeze onboard..it is only 10 hours steaming to Nomuka..the sad news is our fridge is still not operational..no parts from USA for three weeks, so we cannot use it to transport fresh stuff to BLUE BASE..we have gas powered fridge and freezer for the Base, but we have to get the gear there??
We have had some productive meetings with various key players here and there are more to follow. Last night we met with the EUA Wreck committee to discuss operational plans. We hope to make our first presence there in early Sept. as soon as the new high speed dive boat is built, then again for up to three months in Eua over Jan/Feb/ March/April next year…it is all preliminary survey work planned, actually hunting potential wreck sites, which is exciting stuff for the three man team in the boat, but not without its risks/challenges.. No one in Eua seems to know exactly where they are, but all feel confident they are there somewhere…and the stories are very colorful. For us, there are real practical challenges in Eua. There is nowhere to moor a big boat, no anchorages around the coast, so the team will have to live on the island and go out daily from the only little harbor, only when the weather allows. Any wrecks are sure to be deep and exposed to wind and wave, so this one will be a real adventure.
There are big Church celebrations , festivals and conferences happening in Nuku Alofa at the moment. There are no eggs left on the island , no bacon etc..eggs are being flown in from New Zealand at $16 a doz.. John and Greg keep getting invitations to attend “Feasts”, clocking up four in the last few days. Even John our culinary expert has been stunned at the quantity and quality of the food presented…Crayfish, Octopus, Clams, fish, pigs etc etc…till they return to ICE “stuffed” for a quick recovery before heading out again at 2100hrs for the regular “Night Shift”..retuning about 0300 and appearing the next day just in time to set off for the next feast..
This week is the big local “Shop”,for building materials, wheelbarrow, re-bar, axe, nuts bolts nails wire, rat traps, mosquito coils, fly-spray, brooms,14 baby mattresses( for 7 camp stretchers) and all the food for BLUE BASE. The good news is that we may be able to get medical Oxygen here..and we have 20 dive cylinders to fill before we set off.
Been a bit windy and raining some days, Jane lost our umbrella and I still spend way too long on the computer…so all is good here. We are all looking forward to getting the “real” job done…After another seven months of intense planning and preparation it is all about to begin. Fun, Hard work, Frustration, Excitement, Boredom, Adrenalin, Fear,, Hot , Cold..all part of life hey!!