Day 143, Year 2: Happy Birthday to Justin
Date: Friday, September 14, 2007
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny Day
Location: Port Vila, Efate

Today was just a gorgeous day here and we are hoping that September 14 in Albuquerque is an equally beautiful day. Our “baby” boy, now living in Albuquerque, turns 30 years old today. He has always been a ray of sunshine in our lives and he deserves a beautiful day for this special occasion. We really can’t believe our youngest child is 30, but once again, the calendar doesn’t lie. Justin, we love you so much and hope that you and Jo are having a wonderful day. Our September 14th is ending,
but yours is just beginning, so have a great one. We are thinking of you.

Our day today was “interesting.” Mark was up until after midnight last night working with the refrigeration system. He has always used very small canisters of refrigerant and knows just how to top up the system with those. But when we got home from going out to dinner last night, he decided to try topping up with the large tank of R134a we bought yesterday. He either had too much or too little refrigerant in the system and had to stay up and keeping toying with it. By morning the whole system
was not working very well. Our first task this morning was to get on a bus and go across town to Vila Refrigeration to see if they could come out with their gauges and help us balance our system. A young man named Adrian who is in charge of repairs was willing to fit us into an already booked day. He said he would meet us on the dock at 1:30 PM. We were very relieved that he was willing to come and hopefully save the day for us. Once that was settled, we hopped back on a bus (a little minivan
that costs about $1.00 US no matter where you need to go) and went back to the internet cafe to to finish uploading the very last of the picture folders and to continue exploring airline ticket costs for a trip home this winter. Flying home from Australia is going to cost somewhere between $1,600 and $2,000 each. That’s a lot of money. But we keep hoping for a miracle. Last year we were able to buy tickets from New Zealand to Boston for only $800 each, so we’re hoping for a similar deal. It
is not working, but we can be hopeful.

Our next adventure for the day was to go to the Vanuatu National Museum. We had tried to visit the museum when we were in Vila the first time, but it was a holiday and the museum was closed. Today it was open and it was just delightful. Both the museum in Suva, Fiji, and this one are real jems in the South Pacific. They are both small and done in a very simple manner, but both have wonderful displays of artifacts from their respective cultures. We had limited time today since we had to meet
Adrian at 1:30, but we hope to return before we leave here. I was absolutely fascinated with a museum employee who demonstrated sand drawings and played the bamboo flute and panpipes as I have never heard them played before. Paul and Marie of Ranger went with us and they were able to stay longer. It was so special to see so many of the things that we have seen and experienced out in the islands and to get to read the descriptions of those things.

We met Adrian at 1:30 and it took about an hour for him to get things back in balance. The refrigerator and freezer both seem to be running fine now, but we’ll have to watch for a day or so to make sure. When we took Adrian back to shore, we then started our quest to find heavy duty battery cable to make a direct run from our alternator to our batteries. Right now we have a complicated system that might be losing some power. But after going to every possible source of heavy duty battery cable,
we came up empty handed. We were also searching for a new light bulb for our speader light, but that is no where to be found either. So we did lots of running around and saw new parts of town that we had not seen before, but we didn’t find the things we were after. Neither is essential, so we will try again in New Caledonia, and if there is nothing there, we will hope that we can get what we need in Australia.

Tomorrow we hope to talk with our kids on Skype and do some boat maintenance. We are starting to watch the weather for that weather window that will take us to New Caledonia. Right now it looks like we could have a bit of a wait, so we will get to see more of Port Vila.

070914 Day 143 Efate, Vanuatu-
Vanuatu National Museum