Short of sailing in convoy with Sam, an idea that we dismissed as we felt Esper wasn’t ready for such a long journey, Liz and I wanted to do something constructive to help Sam and his cause. The only thing I’m vaguely any good at is web design so we agreed that we would develop a site that would tell people about the Chagossian plight and document the progress of Cindik and Musichana, the boat that his father and Jon Castle would be sailing from Asia.
A Google map is used to mark the various waypoints of the two boats. Each waypoint is clickable and takes the user to the log entry relating to that position. Sam, using SSB radio, sends progress reports via email whilst at sea, whilst Pete is organising delivery of a satellite phone, which will enable him and Jon to send their updates from Musichana.
We wanted to get the website visitors more involved, however, so we set up a Pledge page where anyone who visits the site is able to pledge their support to Sam and Pete’s cause. This has been hugely successful and people from around the world have already sent their pledges, including MEPs, farmers, students, housewives, authors, film directors and land-lubbers. If you have a moment please do visit this page and pledge your support.
On top of this we have created the People’s Virtual Navy, offering any sea-faring person to join up and be part of the People’s Navy, either indirectly or directly, depending upon any future projects the People’s Navy may undertake. This could be helping Chagossians on Mauritius to build their own boat, or taking Chagossians on board their vessel to visit the islands. Bear in mind this is currently very difficult for Chagossians to achieve. Despite their status as UK citizens, entitled to the same freedom of movement that you or I have, they are not allowed to visit the Chagos Archipelago. So perhaps it’s possible for a group of yotties to get together and help these people directly some time in the future. That’s what the People’s Virtual Navy is all about.
After one month of going live the site has received over 250 pledges, been translated into French, received 40,000 hits (or 4,000 unique users) and will be translated into German, Turkish and possibly Spanish. If you would like to get involved in translating into a language, please do get in touch with us.