Sunday 30th July, 2017.
Liro, Paama Island
After a reasonably peaceful night with occasional strong gusts of wind to send the wind generator into a frenzy, we welcomed the overnight land party aboard and immediately set sail in the direction of the source of the fiery glow we had observed during the previous evening to the north of our anchorage in Lamen Bay, Epi. With a brisk Easterly wind and swell around 2 metres, Chimere appeared to relish the challenge with a steady speed of around 5-6 knots under main and foresail. The anchorage site at our destination, Liro (Paama), was almost perfect and provided shelter from wind and swell just 200 metres from the beach.
Following the established routine, the Ni-Van members of our team went ashore to make contact with the local church and health clinic personnel while the rest of the team rested on board. Early afternoon we received a call from Bob that we were expected to join the local parliamentary representative, MP Taso, as special guests at the opening ceremony of the Paama Island Yam Festival, which was apparently instituted in 2015 as part of a drive to encourage tourism to the island. Following a small group of men in traditional costume we entered a grassy clearing where the people of the village had gathered, men on one side and women on the other with dogs and chickens in between. We were all presented with garlands of flowers and ushered to the seats behind MP Taso, local Council leader and chiefs.
Several speeches later, including one from our very own Morinda, who was invited to speak on behalf of MSM Medical Team, we were treated to the Yam story delivered by one of the men in traditional dress. The MC finally announced the program of activities planned over the next couple of days and we were all invited to inspect the varieties of Yam on display, some of which were enormous. I couldn’t help think that my mate Robert should be here with his video camera with a view to putting it up on You-Tube with the slogan “Equally best public toilet in the South Pacific.”
Evening revealed the glow of the volcanoes on neighbouring island, Ambrym and a great meal of Tuna bake ended a wonderful day of sailing, camaraderie and culture.
Fair winds, smooth seas and a yam of a time!