01 Sep 2007










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Losing sight of paradise

Taia's eye condition is treatable if she can get to Australia  BW Media
Sail-World Crusing Editor Nancy Knudsen. heading west from Bora Bora in the South Pacific has just left Palmerston Atoll and is sailing west to Tonga with husband Ted, they expect to arrive there mid-next week. Today Nancy has sent is news of a young 17 year old with a treatable eye condition sending her blind… here is an extract from Nancy’s story..

'Palmerston Atoll, part of the Cook Islands, is situated midway between Tonga to the west and Bora Bora to the east – about six hundred miles in each direction. A freighter comes but once every three or so months and medical help is almost nom existent...

It's only yesterday that we sailed into this atoll in the South Pacific, but already the young woman stands out, impressive, languorously graceful, moving like a young deer, alert intelligent eyes. Her name is Taia. She's seventeen, smart, serious except when she smiles, and then it's a transformation, like a sunrise – warm and golden and lighting up the world around her– but then, bit by bit, the daunting, horrifying truth begins to emerge from small comments dropped in passing. Taia is losing her sight.

So what about Taia? I talk to Jock Marsters, the only nurse on the island – there is no doctor. 'I am quite angry with the doctors and the hospital in Rarotonga' she tells me frankly. 'I told them about Taia's condition more than a year ago when her sight began to fail, and they would not do anything about an operation. Now, there will be no eye surgeons in Rarotonga until next April, April 2008. A quick calculation tells me that's eight months away.

Jock goes on explaining. 'About eighteen months ago, Taia began to have shadows in her 'lazy' eye. Now she has lost all sight in that eye, and her 'good' eye is starting to fail – she can only see out of one corner of that eye.' She shakes her head in sadness, but there's no empowerment here – she accepts that Taia will 'just have to wait' until April next year.

I talk to her parents. 'Yes,' her mother tells me, 'we understand that Taia can have eye surgery, and we are hoping that she will be able to have this next year, and then go to nursing school.

'Last time we went on the freighter to Rarotonga to see the specialists, we waited and waited, but they didn't come to Tonga, so we had to come back here without Taia getting any medical attention. We are now hoping next April...' Taia's mother's voice drifts off, leaving a worried trail across her forehead.

However, since writing this story, Sail-World's Cruising Editor Nancy Knudsen has been able to arrange for a top Sydney eye specialist to treat Taia pro bono. Now all it remains is to raise the two or three thousand dollars or whatever it is for her airfares to and from, and work out how we can quickly as possible get her from the island to Rarotonga where she can catch an aeroplane. (freighter? yacht? Australian Navy?) to Australia for treatment.

She has a grandfather in Armidale, where she can stay during any necessary recovery period.

If you feel you might be able to help Taia, please read Nancy's full story and please email Nancy at cruisingeditor(at) sail-world.com. When Nancy reaches Tonga (mid-week) she will respond.


By Sail-World Cruising



Taia - Losing sight of Paradise
By Nancy Knudsen,
It's only yesterday that we sailed into this atoll in the South Pacific, but already the young woman stands out, impressive, languorously graceful, moving like a young deer, alert intelligent eyes. Her name is Taia. She's seventeen, smart, serious except when she smiles, and then it's a transformation, like a sunrise – warm and golden and lighting up the world around her– but then, bit by bit, the daunting, horrifying truth begins to emerge from small comments dropped in passing. She is going blind.... [more]

APEC tall ships open three days at Museum
By Shirani Aththas,
The Australian National Maritime Museum will be the home for five tall ships next week (5-7 Sept) showcasing the significance of tall ship sailing in Australia’s maritime history and the important contribution of youth crews in sailing these vessels today.... [more]


New Commodore for Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
By Peter Campbell,
Prominent Hobart yachtsman and yachting administrator Alastair Douglas has been elected Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, one of Australia’s senior yacht clubs.... [more]


APEC Restrictions -Sydney Harbour
By NSW Maritime,
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week 2007 will take place in Sydney from Sunday 2 September 2007 to Sunday 9 September 2007. There are major restrictions on Harbour use.... [more]


47th Brisbane International Boat Show opens
By Bob Wonders,
Graeme Avers, president of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) officially declares open the 47th Brisbane International Boat Show.... [more]


Palmerston Atoll - the Cook Islands
By Nancy Knudsen,
It's so silent here. So quiet, with just the soft wind noise whirring through the halyards. I can hear our tiny courtesy flag trilling a flat song in the 25 knot breeze. It's almost dark now, shshsh, don't make a noise, one solitary light towards land, three anchor lights from the other boats here. We're in Palmerston, in the Cook Islands.... [more]

More WA Government funding for boating facilities
By WA P&I Department,
More than $1.15 million has been allocated to improve recreational boating facilities throughout Western Australia.Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the latest round of Recreational Boating Facilities Scheme (RBFS) grants would support 18 projects... [more]


Sometimes the Eject Button looks attractive
By Nancy Knudsen,
I often wonder if it is just an ironic coincidence that the lifelines on a yacht so closely resembles the guard rails round a boxing ring. It happens after we've left Bora Bora on our way to Tonga. Its thirty-three degrees in the shade and the wind has veered. We need to put the pole up........ [more]


Escaped Aussies at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
By Helen Hopcroft,
They’re the sort of people you would expect to be unbearably arrogant: wealthy young men with high paid corporate jobs in the world’s richest cities. Every year they get together and sail at an international regatta or two, choosing an event on the basis of location and reputation. They call their network of friends the ‘Escaped Aussies’ because they all have some kind of connection with Australia, either as citizens or they were posted here for their jobs. This year they sailed on board a Beneteau 47.7 chartered by Mariner Boating in the Premier IRC Division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. It’s the kind of activity that you would expect to be popular with this demographic.... [more]


First test sail of the X-34
By Robert McClelland,
The X-Yachts test crew, headed by Lars Jeppesen, sailed out on Monday the 20th August for the first test sail with the new baby, the X-34. The sun was shining and the wind south easterly 10 to 15 knots.... [more]


Sea Stallion arrives in Dublin
By Preben Rather Sørensen/Henrik Kastoft,
The crew spend the entire Thursday making the Sea Stallion ready for its journey through the streets of Dublin. The ship was emptied for equipment, cleaned and late Thursday night a big truck drove through Dublin with a magnificent cargo. Many crew members were in the streets to follow the ship on its last journey through Dublin city.... [more]


2008 Geelong Wooden Boat Festival
By Bob Appleton, OAM,
The 2008 Whyte Just & Moore, Geelong Wooden Boat Festival is on during the weekend of 8th, 9th and 10th of March, 2008 at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and, because there's no festivals being held at Hobart or Goolwa, the Geelong event is guaranteed to be bigger and better than ever before!... [more]


Lost in translation - Barrabas faces gales
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I have been anchored off Ostrov Peschanyy for a week now and during that time have had to move position eight times. There is, as a rule of thumb, a gale per day lasting between 8 and 12 hours.... [more]

Moreton Bay Marine Park zoning
By Karla Steen,
The EPA is still only in stage 1 of the Review process which is collecting information and data to feed into the development of a draft zoning plan for Moreton Bay Marine Park.... [more]


Tip toeing to Tonga from Tahiti
By Nancy Knudsen,
Sail-World Cruising Editor Nancy Knudsen reports from the South Pacific by Iridium satellite phone.... [more]


Synthetic Rigging - System of the Future
By Des Ryan,
Both racing and cruising sailors have benefited over the years from fantastic innovations, making racing sailors sail faster and faster, and cruising sailors sail easier and easier across the world's seas and oceans. Now here's another one, which promises rewards to both racing and cruising sailors.... [more]


The ultimate sailing holiday
By Helen Hopcroft,
One of the great things about sailing is the friendships that the sport generates. You end up becoming friends with people that you probably wouldn’t ordinarily have met. In yesterday’s racing in the Cruiser/Racer Division at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week an Elan 340 called G-Whizz had eight people on board who had all met because of a common interest in sailing. They were different ages, nationalities and work in unrelated occupations, yet the common goal of racing a beautiful little yacht had drawn them all together for Race Week.... [more]


Today's Cartoon - Audi Hamilton Island series
By Rob Kothe,
Race.... [more]


First Marina in Aust gains EPA accredited licence
By Natalie Perkins,
The Marina Hindmarsh Island was recognised and rewarded for its excellence in and ongoing commitment to sustainable environmental practices in a ceremony which took place on Thursday 16 August at The Marina Hindmarsh Island.... [more]


Letter from the Med: Finisterre in Bilbao
By Ian and Andrea Treleaven,
Some days are just beautiful and we wouldn’t trade for anything else, but then you get a bad day and we are just in the wrong place!... [more]


Father’s Day a breeze at Whitworths
By Media Services,
Father’s Day is fast approaching and all over the country Dads are dropping hints, leaving DIY store catalogues prominently displayed on the kitchen bench and checking out new products online. Whitworths Marine and Leisure have a huge range of products for both power and sail boats; their range even includes fishing and camping gear, clothing, books and tools. Their website is bloke heaven and you can even encourage your loved ones to buy you a gift certificate online.... [more]


Cruising Bavaria 50 at Audi Race Week
By Helen Hopcroft,
People buy a particular type of boat for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes their partner liked the lounge, often they buy a brand they have sailed on previously and occasionally they follow the advice of family and friends. Nearly all the time money is a factor in their choice of vessel, with most people buying to a particular budget. The aim is to get a boat you like at a price you can afford instead of feeling twitchy whenever letters from the bank arrive.... [more]


The Borneo Cup - for Cruisers too..
By Sail-World Cruising,
Starting on 1st September, The Borneo International Yachting Challenge doesn't sound much like the title of a beer-can cruising rally. However, there are five categories of participation – from heavy racing to VERY heavy cruising. One couple who'll be there are Ley and Neil Langford on Crystal Blues... [more]


Blackwattle - Small Tales of Schizophrenic Bora Bora
By Nancy Knudsen,
'Securite, securite, securite... it's a far distant voice in my sleep...'....wave of one to two metres...' maybe I am dreaming... but the voice drones on, French accent, .'stay away from the shore...' but now a small alarm..I'm not dreaming.. it's the VHF radio..... [more]



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