Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tsunami Torn Indonesia gets Windjammer Relief

Now that the Tsunami disaster in Asia has faded from the public eye, media reports are few and far between. But like most natural disasters, work to rebuild and recover goes on long after former Presidents, movie stars and rock musicians have moved to the next cause "celeb." From the sailing world we have the dedicated efforts of Captain Ray Williamson and his team from the Camden, Maine-based Windjammers Cruises. Captain Ray runs the Windjammer Relief Effort in Jakarta, Indonesia. According to this article from a local paper, Captain Ray and Ann Williamson, owners of Maine Windjammer Cruises, were in Indonesia for the holidays and were visiting near the islands of Nias and Simeulue on Dec. 22, 2004. Williamson was meeting with the owners of an Indonesian-built and owned commercial cargo carrier to discuss a long-range plan to use the vessel to deliver humanitarian aid in the region. It was supposed to be a two- to three-year plan — in the future. The time line accelerated when the devastating Tsunami hit…the Williamsons immediately chartered the 900-ton cargo ship Maruta Jaya to bring supplies to the survivors. The Maruta Jaya is a motor-assisted sailing cargo ship of 900 tons. Built in 1990 in Surabaya, Indonesia, she is 200-feet long, a beam of 38 feet, a draft 15.5 feet and carries 13,000 square feet of sail.

"Everywhere we went, men and boys in canoes would paddle out to greet us," Williamson said. "Even though their lives were decimated, the children we met were friendly and warm, wanting to touch me at every turn. I'm sure for them I was one of the first Westerners they had ever seen."

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