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Flotillas of Hope - Logs from Ruth, Stavros, Lance


AustHumanRightsNews Flotillas of Hope - Logs from Ruth, Stavros and Lance

Hello Everyone

I've been chilling out with no messages to send, no angst ridden moments of wondering whether the pictures I have been sending are OK resolution wise and whether they will be received by you all. Well, the pix sending has been successful as well as the few video clips. I feel so relieved that this part of the project was successful. In many ways I can say that I'm incredibly proud that we have achieved our mission. OK, we didn't get to meet the refugees caged at Nauru BUT we know that they were enlivened and hopeful that we made every effort to reach them. So, the first objective was reached and the second one of highlighting their plight was also achieved from the interviews we did by our satellite phone. Here are some of the networks we spoke with >> ABC, SBS, NBN, TEN, NZ Radio, BBC, UK Guardian, Houston Indymedia, Sun Herald, Wellington (NZ) Dominion and many others I can't reme

Thanks to all of you who have written SMS messages to us. They mean so much - you probably don't have any idea - sailing in remote deep blue Pacific Ocean, not knowing whether we are remembered BUT receiving the SMS messages keeps us in touch and we get telegraphic news items. From what we read on the SMS, there seems to be much agitation caused by our action for both the Australian govt and Nauru. Again I want to repeat that we consider our Flotillas of Hope action a united coalition action with you giving us the ground support and we just a tip of the Action iceberg.

We are now island hopping through the Solomomn Islands. Forget the images of ethnic tension and civil war between the various groups. Whilst it may sound weird coming from me BUT the assistance of Australia and New Zealnd to bring peace to the Solomons is working. The Solomon Islanders are very appreciative of Australia and NZ's help in reestablishing peace. We are very fortunate in that there are VERY FEW boats and yachts visiting these islands in paradise because of the bad press due to the ethnic tensions. The people here are so beautiful, so friendly always smiling their welcome to us. WE have made some very good friendships with the locals of the various islands we have been visiting. When we tell them why we are here and explain the mandatory policy and the incarceration of the refugees in Nauru and other concentration camps in nAustralia we immediately gain their support. We

When we were in Santa Cruz after I told the community that we (Australians) were brothers and sisters with the neighbouring Pacific Islanders, Brother John, a Melanesian monk told me that the Pacific Islanders view Australia as Father and NZ as Mother whilst the other Pacific Islanders as brothers and sisters. If this is the case then we have a Mother who is compassionate and a Father who is abusive and aggressive. We were also told that there were oil expeditions in various locations and just as Australia gives with one hand and takes with the other tenfold what it gives as seen in Timor with the oil deal, perhaps the generosity of the Howard govt to the Solomon Islanders is really another ploy to steal their oil. Sorry for sounding so cynical but after all the situational ethics displayed by our Aust govt I can't help it.

After Joty left for Britain via Aust we left Elliot behind in the Solomon Isalnds because he is returning to Santa Cruz to live there for a while. So now there are 3 of us on Eureka - Lance, Ruth and myself. We left Honiara about 5 days ago and we first went to Savo. This island has the most active volcano in the Solomons. Surprisingly it has 4000 inhabitants who live on the coast with the most amazing backdrop of an active volcano. Ruth and I were determined to climb to the top of the active volcano and to experience the sulpherous air, molten lava and the general power of Mother Earth. We befriended the traditional landowner and another local who became our guides. Their names are Noel and John respectively. Right now while anchored off one of the 99 islands scattered within thye Russell Island group I can't believe that we actually climed thru the dense jungle. We walked along ri

After Savo we visited Yandina an Island about 3 hours sailing tme away from Savo. Yandina has a certain resonance with me because the Australian Yandina in Queensland was the location of the Starlight Community which began a couple of years before the Nimbin Aquarius Festival. I had a few friends who joined this community way back in 1971. It was an experimental community which I visited to spend time with my buddies. So, to revisit a place named Yandina in the Solomons gave me flashbacks and a way to measure our need to create a real sense of community. We have so much to learn from the Solomon Islanders (ethnic tensions aside). Their sense of community, their subsistence life styles where they live off the land, their carefully maintained villages hidden in the midst of the jungle, their open hearts and generosity makes my heart weep at what we have lost in the Western world. We c

Sorry for the "preachy" nature of this log. We will be going to another island later today which will require us to sail overnight. Our destination is Gizo in the western province. After Gizo we will be heading back to Australia. We are expecting to be in Cairns around the 19 or 20 July. Our expedition, our odyssey will be over and we will be immersed once again in the mythic realm of "progress and civilisation", hopefully not too hypnotised by the sleeping disease of our 21st century western culture. I know the irony of this log ... here am I making these statements AND sending it to you using the latest technology. I don't care, my heart longs for the simple life supplemented by appropriate technology. In many ways I feel transformed by this journey of hope and maybe one tiny product of this transformation is the certain feeling that an alternative world exists NOW - we don't hav

in hope, peace and solidarity

AZADI

stavros

Hi, Our position is in Viru Harbour New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Lat 0830S Lat 15744E.

We have had a few stops since Honiara, at Savo Island, where Stavros and I climbed the volcano (well not your bubbling lava sort - but steaming sulphur pits). Than we went to Russell Islands - one night at Yandina, a copra factory, and the next at an uninhabited anchorage a few miles from there.

Today we have found an idyllic anchorage with two small villages across from each other. We are planning to go ashore and have a little wander. The locals are so friendly and one guy told us we (yachtspeople) are well thought of, because prior to the start of a recent logging company, we were the only source of cash into this economy. Makes one feel either important or someone who changes economies. A bit scary really!

Have a few emails to get out to you from Lance.. so will do that tonight. Just discovered the adaptor for this computer has burnt out, so may have to rely on the other for all emails.

Lots of love Ruth

From Lance.... Flotillas Update

After our epic 1,200 mile round trip to Nauru and return. We arrived at the prewar capital of the Solomons, Tulagi.

To get easy access to the shore after two weeks at sea we rafted up to an inter-island ferry awaiting parts from Australia. Walking on land again was an effort, I was stumbling along like a zombie.

Like we were to find everywhere in our travels, the economy is a basket case.

The ferry crew provided us with drinking and washing water.

Next step was Honiara after a lovely day's sail across Iron Bottom Sound, so named because of the large number of Japanese and Allied warships sunk there.

We anchored off the yacht club which was a great rendezvous point for visiting yachties and locals. We spent two pleasant days at Savo Island 20 miles north of Honiara. On arrival we were invaded by 30 children.

Just six hours sail west we came to the Russell Islands. The capital Yandina is a pretty place. The homes are set amongst tropical gardens. we spent our last night in the russells in a pristine bay before departing for the New Georgia Islands.

Lance

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