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Return to Pt Vila

Return to Pt Vila

With the wind remaining strong and the seas high, the return sail from Emae to Pt Vila was always going to be a bit lumpy; especially when out of the lee of the islands.

It should be said at the outset, however, that everyone got though the experience without injury or permanent damage. Although as the years pass the waves may grow from 4 metres to 8 metres and the water taken aboard by “tricky waves with our name on them”, might climb from around our toes to past our waists.
Certainly we were all very happy to make it into Pt Vila harbour in the mid afternoon, after a 5:00am start and for me personally I was extremely happy to successfully back Chimere into our seawall berth without touching, nudging, scratching, or even causing alarm to the owners of the million dollar yachts each side of us. Read more…

Last day at Emae

Last day at Emae

Now snug and warm around the saloon table, Lyndon has been regaling us with stories of each tooth extraction and filling, plus the response from each patient – some very confident, some in pain, some nervous and all very stoic. There was also the local midwife who tried to comfort the anxious ones, keenly observing Lyndon’s hand actions and the movement of root fragments and loose teeth as he levered and cut them free with his hand implements. She would talk in the patient’s ear saying … “it’s coming now … it’s nearly out … just a little bit longer”. Lyndon observed that each extraction sounded very much like a birthing delivery, with her involvement having the desired effect of calming the patients.Read more…

Extreme dentist Lyndon soldiers on

Extreme dentist Lyndon soldiers on

Day 2 of the Emae clinic today and business was booming. Lyndon had plenty of customers and those not able to fit in today will be seen tomorrow. One family, when asked how long they had travelled to get to the clinic said 2 hours walk, but later in the day it was discovered that they had come from a nearby island and that part of the trip had taken a further 2 hours. We didn’t discover which island but with the wind and seas still up I hope they are staying put until things die down. Read more…

Fang and a full day clinic on Emau

Fang and a full day clinic on Emau

Today’s clinic was well attended with a queue forming around 8:00am when the medical team was ready to start work. A local leader (whose name escapes me) and Donald the health worker, spoke to the crowd prior to commencement and thanked the team for coming and explained the process –those with severe dental pain will be seen first and others will be given a number and booked into a time slot over the next two days.

Sunday – The Day of Rest

Sunday – The Day of Rest

After a good night’s sleep everyone was up around 7:00am having breakfast and preparing for church ashore. In the end, Helen, Morinda, Tony, Christine, Lyndon, Jon, James and I took the dinghy ashore and then made the 20 minute walk along the waterfront track to the village of Marae where we were welcomed into the small Presbyterian church building. Read more…

Mataso and Makira – we did our best.

Mataso and Makira – we did our best.

The day began blowier than normal, overcast and not very promising. The initial idea, after looking at the white caps all around and passing showers, was to declare a lay-day. But after obtaining a 7 day weather forecast which revealed that it was going to stay like this for, well, the next 7 days, the idea of declaring a lay-day kind of seemed a bit silly.

In the end it was around 8:00am that James and I slowly putted off to the beach in the dinghy, slowly gliding her up and over the advancing waves so as not to get too wet. The tide was sufficiently high enough to enable us to easily weave through the coral reef and there was Helen and Morinda on the beach, surrounded by friends and a few children, packed and ready to be picked up. Read More…

Full day clinic at Marou Village, Emao

Full day clinic at Marou Village, Emao

It’s hard to believe we’ve been on the water now for a whole week!

Routines have quickly become established – the preparation of dinner, the charging of batteries, the making of water, the transfer of the dental and medical equipment into the dinghy , the set-up and operation of the clinics and the adjustment to the constant movement of the boat.

Having left all the gear onshore yesterday, it was a simple case this morning of transferring everyone ashore in plenty of time to start work by 9 o’clock. As the last of breakfast was being scoffed and tea and coffee cups were being drained, the call goes up … “all aboard for the 8:35am dinghy to the beach”. Some take more notice than others, with some wag inevitably calling out, “I’ve just got to have a shower”, or “I’ve got to put my make-up on”. Read more…

Our man Edmund

Our man Edmund

The anchor came up well and before long we were chugging along into the 20kt breeze bound for the Natasariki Pass and Emao Island a short way off. Whilst the distance wasn’t much, our course took us out from behind the lee of the islands and straight into the 20-30kt trade wind which was raising a fair amount of surf on the reef either side of us in the Pass. The wind came just off the bow at one point as we altered course, enabling us to set the jib and increase our speed from around 3kts to 6kts while at the same time lessening our dependence on the engine; which is always a good thing when on a lee shore.