The April arrival of the MS Westerdam to Hawaii before it sailed to Fanning Island was a true blessing to so many people, including Rich Smith the director of Pacific CARE Missions.
The purposes of helping the many passengers of the Holland America ships that would be sailing to Fanning and hopefully be delivering and donating school, medical and personal items to the residents of Fanning, happened in many ways.
They heard so much from the driver (Rich), who also passed around many photo albums of Fanning Island that Rich had taken since 2003. There was even an opportunity to play a DVD info video about Fanning in the rented Van while traveling on the highway back to the ship. This opportunity to help these passengers could have many benefits as they would be helping to get the word out to others on the ship. The funds for the “volcano tour with Rich” would be used to support the efforts and materials for Fanning Island. As with any mission, food is key and there was a great snack break at the turnaround point of volcano national park.
They also so wanted to do a run to Wal Mart to buy some last minute supplies to donate to Fanning when they visit there (hopefully). It was determined later that the ship did not get to call on Fanning due to weather and large swells.
The next day, Rich of PCM set up an information table on the Kona Pier and there were so many opportunities to meet with the ship passengers during their visit to Kona before sailing away to Fanning in the evening.
Even the ship lecturers were able to share their info and get some news from Rich, especially that there is now the possibility that an aircraft will be flying to Fanning from Christmas Island on a charter type basis.
It was also learned that the ship provided information and collection receptacles for the passengers donations.
Let’s hope it is not what it looks like!
New updates below from the passengers, are after the ship left Hawaii:
Update #1: news from a passenger 4/13/16
Rich, Hi, just to advise that we arrived off Fanning Island this morning. The weather unfortunately was not good, heavy rain squalls scheduled for the whole of the day and the swell not good either. As we approached the atoll you could see all, the next minute nothing. The skipper decided on erring on the side of caution and sailed on. I can imagine the disappointment from the Fanning population as they must have been gearing up for this for ages. A disappointment from our perspective as well.
We were not able to safely tender in to Rarotonga this morning, but a tender took in the donated supplies to the Red Cross people in Rarotonga. We also had to offload passenger with a medical emergency, but other than those two tenders, no one was allowed off the ship.
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