Sunday 24 May, 9.51pm (Port Narvin, Erromango)

The day started well. The forecast was good. Spirits were high. Bags and bodies were all aboard for a 7:00am exit from Port Resolution and after 30 minutes Erromango Island was fair in our sights.

It was about then that the rain started, the wind went on the nose and the waves got a bit higher than expected.

The story does have a happy ending, but it took until mid afternoon before the wind and sea started behaving and we finally saw the sun. For a time there, I must confess, the mood definitely took a dive as the rain came down, with the only saving grace being that the rain at times helped flatten the waves.

With the sun, moods began to look up, however, as we closed on our final destination – Port Narvin on the north east corner of the island, darkness overcame us. Don’t let the word “Port” confuse you. Any resemblance to the “ports” with which you or I might be familiar, is purely coincidental. In this case, the port, is a slight indentation on the coast where the rocky headlands give way to a short stretch of beach.

Approaching at night was a fun experience as we combined the electronic might of the radar, gps chart plotter, depth sounder and DVD cruising guide for an instrument landing. Whilst we had things pretty much under control, the final confirmation that we were in fact inching into the right piece of pitch black 400 metres of coast, between two coral reefs, was obtained by sounding our fog horn and then Richard Tatwin yelling out in Bislama from the bow of the yacht. In response, a chorus of voices could be heard from the shore over the sound of the nearby breaking waves. Plus there were all the torch lights aimed at us from the beach. (The village is quite spread out along the coast and there seemed to be only one or two permanent lights ashore.)

It was certainly a good feeling to have arrived and if the winds had been kind it would have taken 8-9 hours. As it was, it took closer to 12, after having to do a few tacks; wind from a northerly quarter being most unusual for this time of year.

Soon after arriving, Will and Kathy had dinner organised for everyone, while Will and I ran Richard and the Govt health worker from Tanna, Morrison, ashore to find accommodation for the medical team – which was done in quick time.

It was then a case of transferring bags and bodies to shore for a good night’s sleep.

Which is where I’m off to now.

It will be good to see the anchorage in daylight !!

Smooth sea, fair breeze and safe arrivals.

Rob

PS There is no mobile phone coverage here … it’s as primitive as can be …