The episode today is an interview with George Larfield who has been doing some wonderful charity work in the Vanuatu Islands. George has been taking aid to islanders in his ferro cement yacht, Australis, in the Banks Island group in northern Vanuatu. vanuatuislands
You will find many photos from the trip on the page below and the show notes for Episode 4, which are located below the media player.
You can contact George by email –
We really enjoyed listening to George’s story and not only is he a really nice person but he has put a lot of effort into this fundraising and a lot of thought into how best to help these people without imposing on their idyllic lifestyle
Click on the media player below to listen to episode 4
This is the Sailing Podcast with David and Carina Anderson – Episode 4. We would love you to come and join us on our journey.
Hello everybody and welcome to the fourth episode of The Sailing Podcast. Thank you for joining Carina and I on our journey. The episode today is an interview with George Larfield who owns a ferro cement yacht. He has organized a wonderful aid project to Vanuatu. George has been sailing supplies to the villages in the Banks Island Group in Northern Vanuatu. We really enjoyed listening to George’s story and he is a really nice guy. He has put a lot of effort into this project and a lot of thought into how best to help the Banks Island people without imposing our values on their idyllic lifestyle.
George lives in Gympie. He has got his ferrocement yacht in Tin Can Bay just near Frazer Island in Queensland. I think we’ll get straight into the interview today and let George explain how he put everything together. He gave me some photos from his trip and I put them up on the website along with some links to resources about Vanuatu and you’ll find this along the Episode 4 show notes at www.thesailingpodcast.com/vanuatuislands. You can have a look at some of those lovely photos that George provided there. We pick up the interview just after I asked George if he still has his boat in Tin Can Bay and how we got it ready for sailing.
George: My boat is a called Australis.
David: Yours is Australis?
George: Australis and it’s actually on a mooring, just at Tin Can Bay so I spent probably two years rebuilding it while I still had my current business in Gympie.
George: Weekends and whenever I could get down there and throwing money up for a couple of years until it was in really good shape. I rebuilt it from one end to the other.
David: What sort of boat is that?
George: It’s actually a ferro cement yacht, it’s built by Samson Marine. It’s a 50-foot design ketch with all sails roller furling which is quite unique for the age of it. It was designed and built in 1975 in Sydney.
David: Okay. So, where do you sit with that argument of people looking at them, if people look on trading post and someone puts up a boat that 1975 ferro cement, I mean a lot of people say “Don’t go there.”
George: Of course! Of course! It’s a bit funny sometimes, people asked me “what’s your boat made of?” and I might say “GPR – gravel, rocks and plaster. (all laugh)
David: Yeah! Yeah!
George: Because a lot of people don’t like ferro cement boats. They’ve got a bad name because a lot of people built them in their backyard and they were inferior, but this was designed by marine engineer, Pat and June Sampson. They had their own business in Sydney and they were clever people. Everyone that worked for them was a partner in the business.
George: You know, they had all the best interest at hearts. So in 2005, I finished rebuilding that boat and I sold my business.
Carina: What was your business?
George: I’ve had mechanical business for 18 years so a lot of my clients said “What do you think you’re doing? You can’t go and leave us.” And I think my most favourite comment was “You don’t have to be rich to have a rich life.”
Carina: I love that comment!
George: So, my customers, they said, “We don’t want you to go and leave us. We need your skills and we enjoy bringing a vehicle in and having…” You know, the most common comment that people used to make when I wrote the invoice and handed it to them was “Is that all that cost?” and “It’s done already?” So, I took a lot of pride in my work and that was reflected in the finish of my boat. So, in 2005, in April, I sold the business and I sailed up and down the coast in 2005 and 2006.
Carina: Up and down the coast where?
George: Basically from Frazer Island to Cooktown, so I found many beautiful anchorages along the way and met many cruising people and was interested in their different lifestyles and seems like there are all walks of life out there cruising around…
David: Who you used to sailing with?
George: Well, I did spend a lot of time on my own but my girlfriend came along for two or three months at that time and then she went back to our workplace.
David: So, you could handle the boat by yourself? You could sail it alone?
George: Yes! Yes! It’s very easy to handle with all the furling sails.
George: So yeah, it was quite good, but you never really alone because whenever you pull up at an anchorage, every boat that’s around seems to come over and say ‘hello’ or ‘would you like to come for a beer on the beach this afternoon we’re having sundowners.’
David: Well if nothing else, being by yourself is probably an advantage like that?
George: Certainly! Certainly!
David: You sort of sit there and everybody’s going to go “Yeah, we’re not interrupting him are we? We’re just going to say ‘Hi!’”
George: Yeah! After travelling, a little bit of overseas on my own for many years, and it’s probably the best way to meet people, as you say, so being alone wasn’t my problem and with this – the system on the boat with the sails, it was quite easy to manage. so, I think quite a lot of the coastguards or VMR, when you logged in and go up the coast, you would say 1 POB, and I’m sure you know they’ll be thinking in the background “What the…”
David: Yeah! Yeah!
George: But anyway, the 2007 trip came up and I think I picked it up through a magazine called Cruising Helmsman, there was a Brisbane-Vanuatu rally.
David: Ah yeah! I’ve seen that one.
George: So, that was organized at Rabi Bay and then left about mid April towards the end of April and they always organized it around the waxing moon to full moon and about there was about six yachts participated in that particular rally and there was as usual, a great bunch of people and we had a fantastic trip and when we got there, some people continued on thinking that they’d see some more of Vanuatu, particularly the north more remote regions and some of that people took some basic medical supplies and school supplies etcetera.
David: Yeah! Because isn’t one of the guys who organizes that, at that stage was a doctor?
George: Yeah! Dr. Alan Profke organizes that and I became quite good friends with Alan and Debra over the years. He is very much into the aid. He has a beautiful home on Aore Island and on one side is an office-type clinic so he can treat all the local people and particularly…
David: And Aore Island is in Vanuatu?
George: Just on Luganville in the island of Santo.
Carina: Does he live there permanently now?
George: No, he has, like a month back, he in his path at Raby Bay so he spent a month back at work and then a month in Vanuatu. So over the period of time of the years, he has taken a lot of medication and supplies over there to help out the locals. So, they will know that on Tuesdays and Thursday, they can come to his clinic if they have a health issue and it’s free and he hands out his medications which are all natural of course. so, yeah, I guess, he was the key behind me going initially and that particular year, a lot of the boats branched off and did their own thing but he and I, and maybe another boat, ventured it up into the remote regions of the north into the Banks Islands where people are still very happy and content but they don’t have the everyday things like they do more around Luganville or Port Vila.
David: Okay! So, I’m just going to ask you a question because my geography is not great but say, from Port Vila, how far north do you sail to get to the Banks Island group?
George: Well, there are number of islands, as you know, there’s about 83 islands on the Vanuatu group but Port Vila is on the island of Efate which is probably the third most southern island and then from there, north, I guess, if you sailed continually, you would just sail overnight, maybe two days and a night to get to Espiritu Santo, which is the biggest island in Vanuatu, and that’s the other port of Luganville in Santo. So, from there, it’s a jump of a day sail to the top end of Santo and then another day sail into the Banks Islands Group which does have a number of islands, maybe six or more. But they are very much remote in that the copper boats that actually service the islands may come once a month or once every three months. So, they don’t have very consistant supply. If you run out of something, it’s pretty tough but the people are very wonderful, happy people, always happy and smiling and the kids, as they call them, the pikininis are very healthy and fit and sports minded and they gather fresh fruits and veggies from their garden everyday. So, in the morning, they go to the garden to gather food for that night’s dinner. I think some people, especially the young probably see the bright lights or like Port Vila and they might leave the island in the north, go to Port Vila. They have to find a job, they have to find accommodation, then they have to buy food and pay for their electricity. So, at the end of the week, that wears off so most of them go back to their island where there are no bills, they live in their woven huts, they sleep on their woven mats on the ground. They’re very happy, they don’t have any demands or consider materialistic things like we tend to do sometimes here.
Carina: A lot here, don’t we?
George: Yeah, exactly!
David: When you went up, that was the first year? 2007?
George: 2007. So, in venturing around the islands, I see that they have no clothes, they are walking around in rags. They have very little like, at that stage…
Carina: The rags, wearing rags around them on the outer islands is common thing?
George: Yes! Just the clothing is just falling off their backs. And another issue was the Vanuatu government didn’t sponsor any education so all the kids, as they call them pikininis from grade I, the parents had to pay to send them to school, but that has changed in 2010. The Vanuatu government sponsored the children up to year six. Now, the adults have to pay for each year they send them after that. So, the bottom line was they didn’t have much education because the parents did not have money to send them to schools.
David: Does that mean sending them to a different island to get to school?
George: Yes! That’s true.
Carina: So, what do they have to pay to send their children to school?
George: I am not sure exactly but it’s probably not allowed in our terms but to them, to sell a few vegetables and make a bit of money, it was certainly on big scale for them. So, they were always looking when you pull up at an anchorage, the dugout canoes would come out with either adults or beautiful little curly headed girls with their gorgeous little smiles and they would never call out or whatever, they might just paddle around the boat and try and catch your eye or they might just whistle a little and it look up and there are big beautiful white smiles and you’d say “Hello!” and perhaps if you offer them something, they might have some vegetables in their canoe just to trade. So, if you offer them something, they would always offer something in return. So, generally, walking around the islands and meeting the people and doing the walks, I say an environmental issue where they had a lot of used batteries that were strewn around the islands. They’re not very good on taking care of their waste. Of course, anything that runs batteries, might be good for a little while, but then they didn’t have a source to replace them or the money to.
David: And batteries are really quite toxic. I mean if you don’t dispose of them properly, it’s pretty nasty environmental issues.
George: Yes, I agree. So, basically, I returned from Vanuatu, I spent actually six months away but I spend four months to the day in Vanuatu. That’s the length of time you are allowed to stay. So, during that time, I did a lot of repairs, whether it’s patching fiberglass tanks to repairing dugout canoes with a tube of sikaflex or repairing some of their wash containers. They wash their knives and forks and plates and stuffs and they would have cracks and they you to fix them. They are looking for things like empty paint cans because they have a well and they are trying to get the water out. So, it was quite, an eye opener in 2007 and being an ex-life member of Apex in Gympie, we always have a portfolio that was ‘international relations’ and at each meeting, the director would get up and say “No report.” So, I was constantly thinking while I was there, “Wow I’m going home and I’ve got a report for you.”
David: Yeah! Yeah!
George: Which you know Apex is a community-minded service club. So, I’ll approach them, the Apex club on my return and says, “You know, this is what I’ve discovered” and in our ideals, we get up and stand up and say “We know we want to promote international understanding and friendship.”
David: How would you describe Apex as a group? Is it a volunteer organization of business people or it is everyone?
George: It is a voluntarily organization where you find… There is a lot of business people and to start with, people really thought that it had to be a business person to join but realistically, that wasn’t the case. You could be a council worker to mechanic like me…
David: That’s a funny thing because I just had that in the back of my mind. And obviously, it’s a misconception.
Carina: What do the letters stand for – APEX?
George: That’s a good question. And being a life member, I should probably be able to answer that. (laughs) It’s a young men’s service club, 18 to 40.
George: Unfortunately, when you get a few years up, they say “Here’s the door” but it has actually, it has changed a little. They changed the age to 45 instead of 40.
David: Apex does have an age limit range?
George: They do.
David: Oh, I never knew that.
George: Not like Rotary or other service clubs – because it has always been a young men’s service club.
David: Right! I learn something new everyday.
George: So, I went back to Apex, to the meeting and said, “Look in here, we have this portfolio that we never does anything with, here is an opportunity for us Gympie Apex that put together the country music muster and most times its a pretty lucrative event and we’ve been donating money to the flying doctor and youth suicide and many different things all the time,” so I approached the club and I am very enthusiastic and they know that I’m serious about what I tackle in and I told them what I was up to and they said, “Well, why won’t you put in a submission for muster funds and see how it goes” and I did that.
David: The Gympie Muster’s is a big country music festival, isn’t it?
George: Yes! It is quite huge and you’ll have 40,000 people at that event so yeah, the bottom line is I wrote an application. It was accepted to the value of $10,000.
David: Wow! That’s a pretty nice amount of money.
George: It was really good and I attended a Gympie/Cooloola Rotary meeting and told them of my ventures and what I plan to do with the solar systems etcetera that I’ve haven’t yet but they said “How much is it going to cost to put in three solar systems?” and I said, “About $1,650.” And they said, “Who do we write the check to?”
George: So, the bottom line was that I managed to, with the money that Rotary gave me, I used a local electronic place and he gave meal I needed at basically cost price, I sourced a lot of things myself like the LED light and the thermal batteries out of my own pocket, but the $10,000 that Apex gave me, I really wanted to maximize the value with that so, I decided I will try and source dynamo torches so no need for batteries and some wind up lanterns, so same deal.
David: Did you find, I know I’ve got a cheap dynamo battery for Christmas and they run out as soon as I stopped winding, did you find some good ones?
George: Sure, we did. We did.
David: Did they stay light a bit longer than my five second wind up from Crazy Clarks?
George: Yes! You’re right. There is a degree of different qualities and I had China sending me samples at one stage until I found something that I thought was suitable. I took the sample to a local electronic shop and he was equally impressed. He said, “Wow, we could sell this.”
David: Because, I guess it’s the battery that probably is important factor to really hold some charge.
George: Sure! So, buying the actual twist and not a wind that that was going to break, the dynamo torches were a very good thing. And they were waterproofed to a degree. The only problem was we had to buy 3,000, as a minimum.
George: But that’s okay. I managed to buy, just 100 wind up lanterns so I have friend with a clothing company in China so I was able to use his shipping company to transport the equipment to Brisbane in a container. Because, we were bought direct, we maximized the dollar that Apex gave us, so you could say three times over really.
David: Because you’re not paying retail.
George: No, that’s right and free freight into the country because of my friend involved. So basically, container into Brisbane and then load all that into the boat. So, many boats go over there, take a few bits and pieces – but in saying that, we have to be a little bit cautious because sometimes we’re not meant to be taking quite as much as we do into these countries.
George: So, we basically load the boat in Brisbane and take the boat from Tin Can Bay to Brisbane and last year, in 2010, I’ve been skippering this bigger yacht that’s a 63-foot steel ketch it’s a Borrow design. It was built in Fremantle of steel and owner who had it manufactured in 1994 or 1995, took it actually around the world. So, it has done circumnavigation.
David: What’s his name?
George: Howard Wright.
David: And the boat’s name?
George: The boat’s name is Alliance.
David: What was your boat’s name?
George: My boat’s called Australis.
David: I’m kind of getting mixed up.
George: I have to be a little cautious there when I’m on the radio.
George: But I was offered a job on Alliance as a skipper.
George: It’s owned by a private businessman in Darwin and he needed a skipper and thanks to my friends from the 2007 year in Vanuatu, they actually live in Darwin where the owner lives and had recommended me.
George: So, I basically ended up being a skipper of this yacht and this was my fourth year. So, we spent five months away in 2010.
David: Five months?
George: In 2010, we went with Dr. Alan Profke and took that much stuff as we could bring in. We spent days and days loading the boat. What wouldn’t fit in a cupboard box, we took it out and individually place it so there weren’t too many vacant spaces and we had medical supplies. I had a homeopath friend also who made up jars with very simply printed labels with creams for cuts and infections and I had a lots of school supplies.
Carina: What sort of school supplies did you have?
George: So, we normally take pencils and pens and textbooks, writing pads. I took a lot of library stuff, kids stories books, novels for the adults and even magazines that had a bit of age on them, they’ve never seen them though, like Take 5 or Woman’s Day or whatever. So, we did all the school supplies have to be… I worked out that time that it’s important that this stuff be handed out in correct way. You just don’t go in and give it all to the chief because I’ve found that the chief ends up with a lot of it. So, what I do now is, I learned something new every year of course, and now I go in this particular day and when I arrived I assess how many people, how many families, how many villages, talked to the chiefs and say “Look, I had some things onboard I am prepared to bring in and give away, but I would like everybody present. Perhaps tomorrow if we can come ashore with everything and lay it all under the shade of the tree and have everybody gather around so everybody in the community can see what we brought.” So, for instance, the lanterns, I made sure that we had listed the families and each family would come up and take one lantern, so one lantern for each hut.
George: And everybody would end up with a dynamo torch but we’ve worked out a list so it wasn’t doubled up too much. The clothing was always lay down on the ground and male, female, boys and girls and no one is to touch anything and it were all laid out and then they have a look and they are allowed to come up and just select an item.
George: And everybody gets something. Fishing lines, I took a lot of fishing line that they called string, fishing hooks are really important to them.
Carina: The clothing, is that brand new clothing or is it second-hand?
George: Oh, I did have a lot of brand new t-shirts, maybe a thousand t-shirts in 2010 but this year, we had a lot of issues, as you know, earlier in the year with floods and some problems and I didn’t want to be asking people for any funding so I gathered a lot of really good second-hand clothing and the feedback there was overwhelming so, I ended up with an awful lot of stuff, that’s very, very good quality. So the locals are very happy.
David: Nice one!
George: And of course I would take guitar strings for the string bands because most times, their guitars only had three strings.
David: Wow! That’s funny isn’t it? They are the really basic necessities in the island, guitar strings, torches, the clothes… You really stood back and had a good look at just what they had. I mean, for us, if my kids break something, I can just go to the shop and grab them something else. Meanwhile there, what do you do? You snapped a guitar string – that’s a tragedy up there.
George: And they play, in the string band, they have the all tea chest bass and most of the mandolins and ukuleles are all handmade, but most of the guitars are all bought but they’re very happy to have some strings. So, given the time I’ve spent there in 2007, I’m always soaking up everything that I could to see what was best needed.
David: I’ve got some lovely photos what Missy emailed to me and hopefully she’ll let me put them up on the website as well, but the other thing I saw was I love the picture you’ve got with the guys with the soccer balls and footballs.
David: So, they’re outdoor people out there. I mean, to have a new football, I mean, my kids love having a new ball but we can just walk down to the shop and get it.
George: Yes! They’re very athletic and very fit. After you’ve done the aid work during the day, normally in the afternoons before sunset, you go in with the football and cricket bat so the young does come out and they were very athletic with their football and the little pikininis, they’ve really enjoyed playing French cricket on the beach.
Carina: I guess it’s really important too that you do bring in the right things to Vanuatu because as like you said the boat only comes there once every three months. So to get stuff off the island if there is rubbish, I don’t know, do they take rubbish off the islands or does it all stay there.
George: Most of it is buried in pits but they really waste nothing so, for us, even an empty wine bottle, you would never dispose of because they would use that.
David: Something to do with it.
George: Make a fishing line of it or they would use it for something, like a water bottle, because they really do have nothing.
George: And that’s not like if they get a hole in the bucket, they have to fix it or there is something to try and make do. But also another issue was rope. I’ve taken a lot of rope over time, they use rope to tie up their cows and pigs and whatever they can actually move them around to different areas because they don’t have fences so they would just escape. So, the local fishermen have an excess of rope down at Tin Can Bay so their fishing association are donating rope every year.
David: Well, you’re saying, there is probably a lot of that rope that they need to replace, it’s probably still perfectly useful rope.
David: It’s probably like on a sail boat, we’ve got something go “Oh, I might swap that,” and then you got a 50 or 100-feet of rope and it’s actually okay, just as you didn’t want it to snap on you if it’s under a big stress.
George: Exactly! Realistically, we think we’re doing the right thing. When I say “we” I guess I’ve been the origin of it…
George: But like you say, we’re not trying to introduce phones or televisions or change in their life, in any way, just trying to make their life a bit more comfortable and the kids can actually maybe do their homework with some light at night rather than the only light they had before was the flames from the fire.
David: Yeah! So, I saw you did some big solar, like on the pictures I’ve got, they’ve got some big solar installations as well?
George: Yes. On three different islands, I’ve put in solar. I made a structure and added it to the roof and run the cabling and the battery and some LED lights.
David: Well, those installations you did, do they have some sort of community building that you are putting that in?
George: That’s true. It wasn’t going in the chief huts. It was going in an area called a nacamarl which is a meeting area for everybody in the villages. So whether there will be a Sunday school or the ladies meet there or the men to gather to speak about whatever, so it was quite a big community area so used to be shared by everyone. This year, I’ve been back to make sure all of those are functioning and some of them did have some issues and I was able to fix them and get them up and running. They have been out of action for short while, two of those. So, I keep spares and I think that’s another good point. You know when I come back and give Apex feedback as a look a lot of people go and do one off things but there’s never any follow-up which is important. It’s a waste of time if you don’t make sure it’s all working and you maintain it.
David: That’s also seeking of how hard to get a warranty on a Vanuatu island. It’s pretty hard, you bring something like that. I mean, even I, just buy an air conditioner and six months later I’m calling up because something has failed and that’s always going to happen. If you take them a big item, it could be a complete waste if nobody goes back to check on it.
George: Sure! Certainly, they are not very technically inclined, but when I do leave, I try and give them some of the basics. I have photocopies of the parts and wiring that I leave with them and I show them, “Here are the spare fuses and here’s how you replace it,” but more than that, I have to rely on incoming yachts with some expertise. So, at least by labelling the wiring circuit, even it is an incoming yacht, they can actually have a look and see how it is wired…
David: Pretty good chance isn’t there? I mean, I was going to say 9 out of 10, maybe not 9 out of 10 but the majority of the yacht are going to have a solar system themselves and have some idea of what’s up with it.
George: Yeah! And most people on the cruising yacht some have skills because in Vanuatu, if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
Carina: It’s wonderful, what a great, great thing that you’re doing for the Vanuatu people.
George: Ah, they really appreciate it.
Carina: And they are lovely group people, lovely nation.
George: They’ve been labelled the happiest people in the world. And they are so happy. Well I mentioned that, that people actually know that they’re happy.
David: Well, we went to Port Vila a couple of times, I’ve been there three times now I think because that’s where we picked up our boat, but we were amazed that the people just walking everywhere compared to us like you don’t see people walking. This was in Port Vila which is like meant to be a big city.
David: But we just went around the town going “How lucky are they because they’ve got time to walk somewhere. I felt like we’re so time-pressured we’re even sitting but looking at our clock because we got kids to get to and things but to see their lifestyle really made us jealous because here were these people they had time to walk with their family just down the road. Do you remember that?
Carina: Yes! Yes!
David: It was just, they really made us step back and go, we don’t take enough time to walk somewhere.
George: I think my friends are giving me a hard time when I return here saying “Come on, you’re on island time now.
David: Can I ask you about the sailing around that area? You must have a pretty good local knowledge now.
George: Ah yes! Yes, I do!
David: Just the trip from Brisbane, do you normally sail directly Brisbane to Port Vila to check in there?
George: This time I did. I went Brisbane to Noumea…
George: Then cruising to Port Vila but last year I went from Brisbane direct to Luganville and was across the top end of New Caledonia.
David: I was going to ask you that, I’ve heard some people, we sailed down, we sailed just back from Port Vila and we went through Noumea. When we left Port Vila, there were people who are going to go North of New Caledonia and down.
George: Yes! It’s interesting like if you go straight to Luganville across the top of New Cal on the way over, you’re heading into the trade winds a lot working your way from Santo down to Vila. So, this time, I though maybe I’ll just do it in reverse and it worked very well. The sailing was much better.
David: That was going through New Cal.
George: Through from New Cal across.
George: Because we had the trade winds and the currents so it proved a lot better.
David: Well, that’s good. And cruising around the islands, I mean, have you cruise other places? Did you like cruise in New Caledonia as well?
David: I mean, how would you rate Vanuatu if like you’re a travel agent and you are saying to people, “Go sail Vanuatu.” I mean, it’s not a huge sort of destination for sailors but I imagine, it’s probably up there, it must be a beautiful places to cruise around.
George: Certainly Vanuatu has some beautiful places and beautiful anchorage but it’s not quite like the Whitsunday’s. Inbetween the islands, there is quite open sea going…
George: And sometimes it can be rather windy and choppy, but around Noumea, within the Outer Reef around Noumea and down was the Isle Pines, there are a lot of protective water wells and beautiful island and beautiful water, but the water temperature is a little cooler. Vanuatu is much warmer.
David: Is it really reefy, sort of going from to point in Vanuatu, is there a lot of reef to watch out for?
George: Not really. No.
David: It’s a bit more open?
George: Yes! It’s very much open sea going which was surprise to me in 2007 after being in the Whitsunday’s for so many years just imagine 74 islands in Whitsunday’s and 83 in Vanuatu, it was quite different.
David: Did you have a particular sailing guide that you use? Like, I’m thinking on my boat, I’ve got a New Caledonia book, is there something that is specific to Vanuatu, a cruising guide?
George: There was a basic cruising guide that was put together by previous cruising book way back maybe in the 80s.
David: That’s what I’m wondering whether I have got a photocopy of something about Vanuatu…
David: Some of the anchorages there but there is not really a commercial book out there?
George: Not that I know of. There is a disc available.
David: Maybe that’s what I’ve got, the disc somewhere I’ve seen.
George: But I’ve just had a copied book, maybe a better lot about what you’re speaking about and it has been completely printed properly since I think and it is quite in good form now but the one I’ve had is the kind of like it’s has got pencil sketches of the beach and there is the dingy part and here’s the chief’s house and it was very informative and very accurate like the chief’s names and etcetera.
David: Well, you must have a pretty good knowledge enough to put a book together. You ever thought about that? How much sailing you’ve done? How many months total would you say you’ve been sailing in Vanuatu? You must be like the Vanuatu specialist now.
George: Well yeah! It’s quite handy that I think the owners of the boat are quite happy to come visit because I know the best place is to take them.
George: Yeah, I do know my way around pretty well.
David: Do you use a particular chart like the electronic charts that you’re using as well?
George: Yes, we do have. We have a few different electronic charts plus paper charts but it’s all pretty easy. Vanuatu sometimes has a bit of a problem with electronic navigation. it seems to be about half a mile up to the east so maybe people have to go in and change the data.
Carina: That’s a bit of a worry being half a mile out?
George: Certainly coming into a place at night, being half a mile out to the east can be a bit tricky.
David: Yeah! It has been nice to have a steel yacht though.
George: Yes! Yeah!
David: Have you had any problems?
George: No, I haven’t.
David: That’s great!
George: But there have been many times that people would say “Okay, it’s nearly dark, you can take the destroyer and will follow you.”
David: Right! Right!
Carina: Someone who is listening to this Podcast and they wanted to become a sponsor for you and donate some money towards the cause, how would they go about contacting you to so they could make a donation?
George: Oh, certainly, that would be most welcome and whether it would be minor or major degree, it’s certainly most welcome but I’m basically contactable just by phone.
David: When we put the Podcast up on the internet, we’ll create a page and are you happy for us to put an email, your email address there so if somebody listens to it, they can just look at the page and maybe send you a note or something if they’re looking to see what’s going on and if you’ve got some plans to get some more stuff over there.
George: Certainly, they would be most welcome.
David: What’s your email address, could you say it for me?
George: My email address is just my name email@example.com
David: That’s good and I’ll check with Missy and hopefully get some of the photos up which are from this year’s trip? Is that right?
George: Sure! They were my photos, yeah!
David: That will be your photos? So, I wasn’t sure who owns them you’ve sort of got that issue that you going to make sure we’re not putting up somebody else’s photos. So, it’s good. So, they’re your collection.
George: For some reasons, I wasn’t able to send that bigger file.
David: Okay. , can I put some of the pictures up there as well?
George: You’re most welcome.
David: Well do that. And we can put a link to your email address if people want to contact you or if they email us, we’ll put them in contact with you.
David: And maybe keep an update if something else is happening, we can always have a link. We’ll just say “here’s the next group that are going over” and things like that.
George: I’m always interested to talk to other people that are involved with the aid as well. It’s always somebody has a different version of what they think is appropriate and how to improve things and what they might be doing.
George: And between us all, hopefully we’ll get it right.
David: But you’ve done it, you made a real change in some people’s lives but not in the sense that you sort of just, you know, some people might just think, “I’ll send a whole bunch of money somewhere” and that probably doesn’t get distributed. You’re really doing like on the ground work.
Carina: You’re like at the coal face.
David: Yeah, at the coal face. That’s what I’m trying to say. That’s awesome. Thanks for your time.
George: Oh, thank you. It’s been very enjoyable.
Ferro Cement Yacht
I would like to thank George for thanking the time to let us about this project and he said in the interview, he’d love to hear from anyone interested in his work or in putting together aid packages for Vanuatu or similar projects. George’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll put that address up on the website along with the pictures that George sent me from his trip. They would be all with the show notes at www.thesailingpodcast.com/vanuatuislands. I also added a link to an article in the Gympie Times, that’s a newspaper, which has some coverage of the trip that George did. We would invite you to go there, have a look, leave us a comment and let us know how you enjoyed this episode. Of course, you can always just email me at email@example.com.
Out next interview is with Claude who sailed his 18-foot yacht that he built himself from Montreal Canada through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific and all the way back to Australia in the mid 1980s. He has got quite a few interesting stories to share about his journey. So, don’t forget to go iTunes and subscribe to the show. If you got a chance, please leave us a review also in iTunes. I think about leaving a review, you’ll help us to get the word out about the show.
Thanks for listening. I hope you have a great day and thank you for joining us on our journey. You’ve been listening to David and Carina Anderson of The Sailing Podcast.
George is based in Gympie and has his boat in tin Can Bay just near Frazer Island in Queensland. He has worked with local community organisations to raise money for purchasing items for the Banks Island locals.
There is a gallery of photos below and you can click on the photos to see a larger image.
Some of the items taken to Vanuatu included:
- Clothing – both new and nearly new
- Wind up dynamo torches
- Solar installations for meeting houses
- Fishing hooks, lines and batteries for diving torches
- Wind up lanterns for family huts
- Footballs and sporting equipment
- School supplies for the children
- plus loads more
The Vanuatu Aid Project photos (below) are provided by George Larfield. You can contact George by email – firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to support him in providing aid to the Banks Island group in Vanuatu.
You can find additional information in this article about George and the work he has done in Vanuatu.
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Thank you for joining David and Carina on their journey