Erromango Bound 19 29’S, 169 29’E

After 7 days in Port Resolution, waiting for doctors Iain and Ann Miller to complete their land-based medical clinic work and join us aboard, we are now at sea again loping along with the wind off the starboard stern quarter driving us north to our destination kind of north from here.  It’s after 9:00PM and at this lazy rate we should expect to make Port Narvin, a favourite of last years tour, on the west coast of the island of Erromango (or, land of the mango) by morning.

Iain and Ann have settled in nicely and at the moment are up on deck looking at the glowing volcano off the port quarter as it slips astern.

You might have thought you’d escaped a dialogue about mud bricks, now that we are off to sea, but there is more.  In fact as our parting act Bill, Scott and I made our way to the far beach to meet Chief Jimmy who directed us to his village a short walk up the track.  He’d already sent three lads up the hill above the steam vents to get some clay because we’d established there was none suitable in his village.

While waiting for the bags of clay to return we did a bit of fruitless scouting around for clay deposits in the nearby forest with Jimmy’s son, Jimmy, who was fighting a wicked headache from the previous night’s kava session which was something to do with the return of their soccer team. Meanwhile old Jimmy directed his daughter, home on holidays from the other side of the island,  to wash our clothes while we sat around waiting for the clay to arrive.  After half an hour the clay did indeed arrived and as I reached into one of the bags it was clear this was no ordinary clay,

“It’s hot!!”  I exclaimed.  To which everyone laughed … “Yes”, said Jimmy, “it comes from steam vent”.  A reasonable explanation I suppose.  On closer inspection, this was amazing stuff, with blues, whites and reds congealed together in clumps.  To make it go further we mixed in some of the local soil and pretty soon we had a very respectable line of bricks laid out on the black ground.

After an exchange of gifts, including a woven mat and basket, we got back onto the boat around lunch time and then set about completing the many tasks still left hanging … the wind up torch for Reynolds for the lobster he secured for us last night, the two mobile phones we’d charged for a girl in the nearby village, the photos I’d printed out from pictures taken yesterday, the tusker bottles (3 boxes of them actually) we said we’d drop ashore for chief David to obtain the refund, the old diving face mask for Joe who’d dropped off 6 lovely grapefruit, not to forget the many drums of water to fill the tanks onboard.

Then around 4:30 there was much yelling ashore, which must mean only one thing – Iain and Ann have arrived.  It was then a case of ferrying out their medical boxes and personal gear to the boat, while at the same time catching hold of another yachtie in the bay who was going to the volcano tonight and on account of us leaving tonight would not be able to return the book I’d loaned him; which he raced off to obtain.

It was then dark and as Scott whipped up a lovely dinner we readied the boat for departure – lashing things down, hoisting the dinghy onto the deck, lifting the side ladder, preparing the anchor for lifting etc etc.

So it was that we left Port Resolution around 9:00pm and at last count we were doing 6-7 knots, so we may arrive before dawn, a case of going too fast.  Bill is on watch, Bob has gone to bed, Scott is asleep on deck, Iain and Ann have each found a place inside to sleep and I’m starting to nod off.

For those interested in our next destination, Pot Narvin, why not have a look at last years Ships Log.  We’re looking forward to meeting up with some old friends – Joe, Tom and George.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and farewell Port Resolution

Robert Latimer