Friday 12 June, 7.52pm (anchored at Craig Cove, Ambrym)

Confession time. Yesterday when scrambling back on to the boat after swimming over the reef, I knocked the mask and snorkel into 8m of water. There it sat on the bottom, clearly visible but completely inaccessible. This morning Tony and Jim were out trying various means to snare it, to no avail. I listened in amazement as one acted as spotter and the other manoevred the dinghy and hook into position. When one method failed, they tried another. Not one single impatient exclamation escaped them over the half hour of the attempted retrieval. Finally they came down for breakfast, resigned but unruffled.

A while later we were in the dinghy setting off on our (unsuccessful) turtle-and-dugong hunt, and Bob was snorkelling about trying to locate the mask again. He disappeared briefly, reappearing gasping for air with the mask in his hand. Jen’s all in favour of absconding to Tahiti and sending him down for pearls.

A light 10-15 knot south-easterly is pushing us smoothly up toward Ambrym and its live volcanoes. Jen set up the trawling line to catch some dinner since we gave most of the last fish away. Much to her surprise, a two-foot long brilliant green and yellow Mahi-Mahi arrived on the end of the line. One of the world’s best eating fish, according to the skipper. We were a bit slow hauling it in, and I’m afraid it got away – but we have the photos to prove it. No fish for dinner tonight!

A couple of dolphins came to play around the bow as we sailed along to our next anchorage at Craig Cove, North Ambrym. After missing the turtles and dugong at Laman Bay, Tony was delighted to spy a giant turtle as we arrived.

A couple of very enterprising young ladies came out in their canoe and sold us a perfectly ripe enormous paw-paw and a small wooden statue. When they came on board to have a look at Chimere, I noticed that one had a weeping open sore on her foot, a common sight through the island villages. We gave the girls a pen and exercise book each. Another visiting canoe with five very small boys sitting in line between two bigger ones at either end scored their share of chocolate.

Showering under the hose on the foredeck under a pre-moonlight pitch back sky, phosphorescence sparked in the water, and the volcanoes over the ridge to the southeast set up a dull glow. It’s raining at the moment and the boat is rolling at this anchorage, which has the effect of everyone wanting to lie about and sleep or read, so it’s an early sign-off tonight.

Ann