Aneityium Is, 2:00am Wed 5 May 20 14.19 S, 169 46.70E

Let me say at the start, the day ended well.

We achieved our objective of safety landing the medical team, comprising Max & Yvonne, Iain & Ann, Jun, Ruth, Richard, Bob (not skipper Bob) & Shirley plus local health worker Morrison at Aneityium. Not that there was ever any doubt, but as we ferried everyone ashore in the dinghy I gingerly asked my passengers what words could be used to describe the day’s events, wishing to be honest, but at the same time not wanting to alarm anyone’s treasured kinfolk back home. The words flowed … challenging, painful, long, uncomfortable, character building … OK enough, I think you get the idea.

To give you some idea, I casually asked Scott as we made our way back to Chimere after the third and final ferrying trip, what time is it? “12:40am came the reply” “20 to one in the morning!!” said I.

I couldn’t believe it, the last I looked at a watch it was about 7:00pm and we were making yet another tack in the rough direction of this island. Given that we set off at 8:00am, yesterday (about 17 hours ago) and battled head winds most of the way and an absolutely horrible confused sea for 95% of the time, I’ve just got to say we had one tough bunch of medical volunteers aboard today. They handled it really well. They may not say that. But it was not a day for the faint-of-stomach and out of the 16 aboard there might have been 3 who did not reach for a bucket or the side railing (downwind please) at some stage; and I was not amongst those 3.

Then for everyone to stage something akin to a Lazarus rising as we neared the anchorage, got stuck into the muesli bars and chocolate, then set about cleaning up… all I can say is “impressive!”

Fortunately we are here for a few days and the next island we visit, Futuna is kind of north east, so the hope is the wind will be favourable by then.

As we sit here at anchor the medical team should have found their shore accommodation by now and whilst the wind is now gusting to 30kts it is thankfully off the shore and we are anchored quite close so it’s very still. Sleep will come easily.

I have no doubt more will be said and written about today’s journey, but for now it’s farewell from MSM and the crew of Chimere.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and may they arrive by Friday.

Robert Latimer