Monday 22 June, 8.19pm (anchored at Ndui Ndui, Ambae)

The news from your end of the world is that based on the latitude and longitude we’re reporting, Google Maps more often than not places us well away from where we claim to be, often on dry land. The mismatch with the GPS (providing accurate coordinates) is an interesting one. While we were anchored at Santo and rocking gently in the swell, apparently Google Earth showed us as parked in the main street of Luganville. It would have been quite handy and a saving on taxi and bus fares, but a lot more complicated when it came to embarking for Ambae.

Today, a glorious early morning brought a coastal trading boat in next to us at Ndui Ndui Anchoage, looking rather like it was going to be a tug-boat when it grew up. The occupants unloaded a battered dinghy (tinny) and made for the rocky outcrop supporting the pier. We saw why the dinghy looked like a car that had been rolled a number of times when it docked by dint of crash landing straight into the rocks. The chunks of coconut lying out drying in the sun were collected, bagged, and loaded onto the trader to be transported to Santo for the manufacture of coconut oil. It took all day, the bagging and transporting and loading of the copra (coconut raw product). Everyone looked very relaxed, kids played around the stacked bags, the work got done, and everyone appeared to finish the day in good humour.

The medical team trucked off to a neighbouring village early this morning to run the eye clinic half an hour away. Jen, Martin and I made our way over to the health centre to see if we could be of any use. The elder we were instructed to speak to immediately showed Martin the solar-powered battery, which had been supplying power for the whole clinic. It had broken down and looked like it had the same problem as we’ve had with the house battery on the boat – the lead plates in the battery were sulphated up so they won’t take a charge. Martin brought with him from Australia a you-beaut intelligent battery conditioner charger which has rejuvenated the boat battery.

Tomorrow we will head across with the hydrometer, the charger and the generator to get the clinic battery going, provided it is recoverable. Jen and I will help with the eye clinic, and I’m hoping to ferret out other things that could do with the expertise we have brought with us. I will also get a report from the medical team on today’s clinic to send through in tomorrow’s post.

What can you say when days pass like pearls on a string?

For us, each morning (well, most mornings) getting up to sun on the deck, looking over the glorious contrasts between rich jungle green and black volcanic rock, meeting and visiting the wonderful Ni-Vanuatu, diving off the boat into deep water and coral reefs, lots of chat and laughter, the steady work attached to maintaining boats and humans, and cool drinks on the foredeck before dinner.  New experiences every day and excellent companionship, provide a continuous, sharp-edged sense of wonder!

Ann