Wednesday 7 August 2013

South West Bay feels like home. That’s where we are heading at the end of the day. We stayed at Milipe again last night. This time the wind was not as strong and we all had a good sleep. Even Dave, who was feeling the effects of the sleepless night before woke up full of cheer and whistled away through the morning duties. He might have had a little help from the doctor who ministered to him from her medicine chest. Whatever it was it worked a treat.

As l say, everyone woke full of cheer and enjoyed a nice breakfast before heading off to Carolyn Bay. When we got to Carolyn Bay I was not that keen to anchor due to the number of reefs so we put a shore party into the small dinghy and sent them to shore to see if any patients had turned up. Meanwhile we jilled off shore in deep water. Once it was confirmed that the clinic would be operating Martin surveyed the area from the dinghy and found a wide area of sand into which we inserted our anchor with impressive precision. We then let out a short scope on the anchor so as not to swing back onto the surrounding reefs. I then remained in the cockpit all day keeping an eye on everything. We didn’t launch the big dinghy today to keep operations simple in case we had to leave the anchorage in indecent haste should the weather change.

The clinic went well. Again the dentist was the most popular. In Australia we might not think of the dentist being the most popular. But try doing without him; Like here in remote parts of Vanuatu. The pain people experience with tooth ache is gut wrenching. Often a sufferer will sit under a tree all day and sleep to try and escape the pain. In this context, when a dentist arrives who can do something about relieving the pain he is very popular. Gary and Morinda have been doing a sterling job. Last night Gary wrote out treatment instructions which Helen translated into Bislama and typed them up on the computer and printed them out in multiple copies per page. Gary then cut them into strips so we had penty to hand out today. Alishon again helped in the clinic and he explained the little note to the patients. This was essential because most patients thought it was their receipt!

Everyone has been going the extra mile on this trip. Denis is now almost reaching miracle worker status in the galley, serving out beautiful meals everyday for 11 people. Last night proved it beyond doubt because he started out with 2 small fish and a loaf of bread and fed the multitudes.
Dave has revealed his talent for HF radio and it is only through his patience and tenacity (not to mention technical knowhow) that we get this log off the boat and into the ionosphere and delivered to your web page (with help from Liz Mallen in Melbourne). Dave has to spend more time trying to send the log than it takes to write it due to uncooperative radio frequencies or because part way through transmission someone else in the world transmits at the same time and corrupts the signal. So he starts all over again; Eventually succeeding long after the rest of us have gone to bed. Rhod has also excelled in the clinic as administrator, taking down the patient details, making sure they get the right medications and compiling the statistics at the end of the day.

The clinic finished early today so we were able to pack up and prepare to journey in the direction of South West Bay which makes us slightly ahead of our program and we can put in a full day at Wintua tomorrow. Getting the anchor up was no trouble today as it had been yesterday because of the care in finding a nice big sand patch. However, it must be remembered we were hemmed in by reefs and we had to pick our way back out and set a course for SW Bay. Fortunately Alishon came past in his boat, also heading to SW Bay. And he guided us out an averted trouble.

The trip to SW Bay was memorable and with a lively wind on our tail we made good time and anchored around 4pm. On the way Helena put out a line and shortly after landed a bonito. She is now trying to think how to feed the multitude with one fish as no more were caught.
Martin, Isabelle, Morinda and Helen have gone ashore to make contact with people ashore and make sure plans for a clinic tomorrow are in hand.
We have the generator running at the moment to charge the batteries and to make water. Otherwise those of us left on board are in quiet occupations and generally having a rest.

For those of our readers expecting photos or communications from family members on board I can attest to the fact that reception at the moment is virtually nonexistent. Occasionally one of us might get a surprise with 60 seconds of reception and in that time receive a text message from home. But lack of communication does not mean we are not think of you! [If you do not know the sailmail email, post your comments on the website or facebook and I will pass them along – admin]

I mentioned that SW Bay feels like home and that is because Isabelle’s family (the Wytes) who lived here for some years and on our last tour in 2010 Chimere transported Isabelle, sister Rose, mother Mary Grace and husband Martin to SW Bay to meet up with other family to attend the wedding of Mary Grace’s grandson, Chedwa (sp?) to Jane. The crew of Chimere attended the wedding too and it was a very memorable time. (See log from 2010) So you see, it feels like coming home!


by Andrew Latimer


Smooth seas, fair breeze and Coming Home

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