Friday 20 September 2013

Lolawai, Ambae

Away at 5:30 from Luganville this morning, it was a mixed bag as far as the wind was concerned.

It started out from the south east, then later in the day went easterly, then north easterly, then north westerly, then hard on the nose from the east southeast.

It took us a bit longer than expected, with quite a few tacks finally getting us across the 50 odd miles by around 3:30pm.

You might do a Google search on the bay here at Lolawai  it really is a lovely spot.

lolowai-oh-lovely-lolowai

On arrival, we wandered up to the hospital after asking a few people if anyone had any bananas.  We are keen to get hold of some bananas! They seem to be in short supply.

Up at the hospital, and the visit was purely social in case you are wondering, we asked around for Mary Tabi – a nurse we had got to know well on a previous mission, and a man called Hope, who was in charge of the anti malaria program when we were here in 2010.  At the time, (in 2010) Hope had taken us on a long and rough 4wd (eventually unsuccessful) ride in search of clay – to make mud bricks.  (surprise surprise)

P1010244

Well Mary wasn’t about, but Hope was, and we chatted for a while like old friends.  Hope was no longer into chasing mosquitos, as he described it,  because he’s been suffering hypertension and has just stabalised his health after a few months in Pt Vila.   His wife is a senior midwife and sadly they had just had a still birth in the hospital earlier in the day.

Hope was at pains to pass on a Lolowai welcome to me and the crew and emphasise that we are always welcome to return, anytime.

I asked about the anchorage at a place called Asanvari on the island of Maewo, about 20 miles away, and whether it was true that Chief Nelson had passed away.  “Yes, that is true” said Hope “three months ago, in fact tomorrow is the 100 day gathering to remember Chief Nelson, you would be most welcome if you were to go, free kava and food, you must go”.

Further in our conversation, Hope told me that he has 5 children, one studying IT in Vila, one is a pilot and in Fiji, one is training to be a nurse and one is in year 7.  Hope also said that Chief Nelson was his father … at least one of his fathers … which means an uncle.

So it is settled, tomorrow we get away early and head the short distance across to Asanvari – all in our quest south to Pt Vila in a way that avoids too much tacking into the steady SE trade winds.  At Asanvari we may also get to meet Nelson’s son, Nixon, whom we got to know quite well when we were there in 2010.  My son Matt played violin while Nixon played guitar – particularly Hotel California (or at least the introduction)

We might have some photos on the computer we can print off and laminate as a way of remembering Chief Nelson and the brief friendship we established 3 years ago.  (At the time I had a go at fixing Nelson’s boat with some fiberglass we had on board, taking over from another yachties efforts when he told me he was running out of resin and needed to get away)

In seeing me typing tonight’s blog Matt called out that I should mention we had fish again tonight for dinner … “that 20 kg fish just keeps on giving” … did I say 20kg fish?  You know sizes can be quite deceptive and now that we think about it, the fish was much the same weight as a suitcase you might check-in … probably around 20kg … very heavy!!

And I see that today it is Friday 20 September, which means that in just 7 short days, the Supporters Tour begins in Pt Vila with 30 people coming across for a time of island experiences and a lot of fun – thanks again to travel agent Ari from Excuse2travel for her most generous donation of all profits made on organizing the tour – a total of $4,500!!   Not many sleeps now.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and lovely Lolawai
Rob Latimer
www.msm.org.au

To read older Ships Log posts go to …
http://msm.org.au/category/2013-ships-log/