Saturday 6 July 2013

Pele & Nguna Islands

The much-anticipated first clinic occurred today at the southern end of the island of Pele.  The attendance wasn’t large, due partly to some very good servicing from other groups in recent times, and its proximity to Efate and the capital Port Vila.

Getting to the village, 5 miles down the coast from our lovely anchorage here between the islands of Pele and Nguna , utilized the old larger dinghy as well as the new smaller dinghy; it’s first try-out.   We were well loaded down with gear, both optical and dental, including a 3mx3m collapsible mesh tent, chairs, stools, posters, implements, spectacles … the list goes on.  Onboard were Tony, Lyndon, Kristie, Christine, Morinda, Helen, James and me … hence the two dinghies.

Jon and Ramon remained aboard to attend to tasks such as charging the batteries and making water.  With their years of past Australian Navy experience they couldn’t resist observing on the carrying capacity of our big dinghy – “carrying far more than any naval vessel of similar dimensions?!”  (Largely due to standing regulations we suspect)

Some additional “problem solving” was called for this afternoon when it was discovered that dentist Lyndon was without anesthetic; ships stores not having been adequately stocked.  In the end, a phone call to Richard Tatwin had a boxful sent up to the north of the island from Port Vila via minibus.  A 20 minute dinghy-ride from Pele across to north Efate placed Morinda, James and me at the rendezvous point.  Unfortunately the parcel didn’t arrive quickly enough and so James and I raced off around 4:30pm to pick up the medical team before heading back up the coast to the anchored yacht; all before dark.

Morinda remained ashore, in what is actually her home village, and will catch a local commuter long-boat out to the yacht early tomorrow morning, with the box full of anesthetic.

With the aid of a large “bulka bag” and plastic liner and the lifting-halyard, (rope used for hoisting sails) much of the clinic gear was lifted aboard in one smooth action, on arrival back at the boat, with the large dinghy now housed on the new davits at the back; just a wonderful enhancement to our efficiency, not to mention a clearer foredeck.

Tomorrow’s clinic will be at the village of Piliura on Pele, with numbers likely to be greater on account of today’s announcement.  Being Sunday, the clinic will be held after lunch and hopefully we’ll catch everyone after church.

Smooth seas, fair winds and clinic nambawan (local spelling for “number one”)

Robert Latimer

www.msm.org.au