Please can we have some water?

Wednesday 27 September 2017
Moored off Aore Island Resort (near Luganville)

After getting away from beautiful Port Olry at the scheduled time of 6:00am we headed south down the east coast of Santo towards Luganville. As expected, the wind and the waves were on the nose, but still we could maintain around 5 ½ knots. As a bonus we were able sneak inside some nearby islands, where sea conditions were sheltered, giving us a chance to also view some lovely anchorages and on-shore properties, some of which looked like resorts.

Being such a popular cruising region, we saw more yachts in just a few hours than we had in the past couple of weeks. There was also a large cruise ship arriving at the Hog Harbour, Champagne Beach, anchorage as we sailed past; a sign that we were truly back in civilisation.

Around 1:00pm, on arrival at Luganville, we made our way to the commercial wharf in order to find a hose to fill up our water tanks; our tanks being empty and the watermaker high pressure hoses having broken as mentioned in yesterday’s Ships Log.

Getting access to the hose naturally involved us tying up at the wharf, always something to raise your blood pressure, but as it turned out there was a Chimere-sized gap between two island trader ships, right there in front of us. To the amused entertainment, laughter, yells and waves of the various ship’s crews and wharf workers, we first hovered stern-to the breeze a short distance off, yelling greeting and questions back and forth, then we made our approach.

In the end, there were many willing hands to grab our lines to make us secure, and our fenders certainly earned their keep against the rough concrete and steel that passed as a wharf. It must be said, this was a very “industrial” area and in stepping ashore there were potholes, tripping hazards and discarded rubbish aplenty to ruin your day. But amidst it all there were the curious, always-happy locals, and despite the obvious differences between us and our vessels, we shared a natural sea-faring bond. It was also clear that very few yachts tie up here.

“Do you think maybe we could get some water? We have run out” we asked a particularly helpful man, who turned out to be “captain John” off the vessel behind us.

“Should be no problem. The man to ask is in the car over there” came the response

After explaining our requirements to a man in a fluro safety vest … along with who we were, where we’d been, what we were doing etc etc, he felt he needed to go off and talk with his boss, who had gone to lunch and was not here. “But I will go and find him and come back”.

The nearby hose had already been laid out on the ground from the shed to the quay-side by a helpful deckhand off one of the trading boats, but the lock on the tap had prevented him from being any more helpful.

In the meantime we chatted with the local blokes, sharing anchorage horror-stories and learning about each other’s vessels and lives.

We invited Captain John aboard for lunch, (laid out below by Cathy and Annette), and through the discussions we learnt that his older brother was a dentist who works in Luganville and has spent the last few weeks travelling around on another yacht delivering medical services to remote communities. The group’s name was Pacific Yacht Ministries.

John explained what he would do if we weren’t given water for our tanks, but fortunately the man in charge was happy to unlock the tap for us and soon the water flowed.

After a couple of hours it was time to leave and by tightened one line and easing off on another, we soon had the bow away from the wharf, sufficiently clear of the vessel in front, to fast-forward out of there before the onshore wind blew us back. “Retrieve lines !!” came the call and again, with the assistance of a big crowd onshore we were away to cheers, yells and hand waving all-round.

With no work to perform we motored across to the Aore Island Resort where we picked up a mooring and went for a swim and snorkel

Tomorrow, our goal is to make it the 60 miles across to Asanvari on the island of Maewo. Another 6:00am start. At least we won’t have to retrieve an anchor, just unhook the mooring line and drive away.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and please can we have some water

Rob Latimer

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