Monday 25 September 2017
At sea, between Sola and Port Olry (Espiritu Santo Island)
Bags were packed, electronic devices (and their chargers) were retrieved, past Vatu loans and reimbursements were settled and final farewells were made.
Flying out of Sola on the mid-day (Monday) plane were doctors Graeme and Jeremy, dentist Barry and sailor Matt (the younger)
Flying in to join the good ship Chimere is my co-owner Barry Crouch. A man whose generosity and support of MSM extended to him buying half of Chimere six years ago and believe it or not he’s only been aboard – for a sail – for just four days in that time. So it’s a great joy to be able to have him aboard for the next week as we work our way south back to Port Vila – enabling him to get some personal enjoyment from his half of the boat.
The five Ni-Van Amigos are remaining aboard for this last and final 80 mile leg that will take us to the north east tip of Santo, to village of Port Olry. From here it’s an easy drive south to the main town of Luganville and from there a (cheaper) flight back to Port Vila. Although in Jay’s case he will remain in Luganville as he heads up the PCV Health eyecare program there.
Just when we thought it was a simple case of moving people and bags to and fro and preparing Chimere for sea later in the day, a call came through from Richard early in the morning to say that there was a lady with toothache, who missed the clinic the other day and could we prepare the foredeck again for surgery.
Things were still a bit rolly and so after discussions with Barry we thought it might be better to set up onshore under a tree. But after Barry had done a bit of a test run he admitted that the dentist with the injection is rolling at the same rate as the patient, so it should be fine?!
The extraction took longer than anticipated with a small amount of curved broken root persistently holding on till the last.
Good news was the lady, Jenny, went away smiling … sort of.
After waving good-bye to the four returning volunteers, it was just a short hour-long wait for the arrival of Barry Crouch on the next flight.
It was then out to Chimere and a chance to soak in the surroundings. The five Ni-Vans joined us around 3:00pm and by 4:00pm we were on our way south west in the direction of Gaua Island and Port Olry beyond; our morning destination.
Before the sun sank as a red ball in the west (volcanic ash in the air can do that) we’d had two glorious hours of tropical sailing, racing along at 7-8 knots over lumpy but not too uncomfortable seas.
By 6:30pm it was dark and with Deb asleep in readiness for her later watch it was 11 of us in the cockpit having chop suey, prepared earlier in the day by a band of food-choppers, led by Deb.
The crescent moon glistened on the calming seas and one by one people went below to their bunks.
In the lee of the island of Gaua the wind has now calmed off, along with the sea, and we are motoring along at around 5-6 knots. In a couple of hours, as we head more into clear seas, it should become windier and we might even be able to turn the engine off.
There’s not a lot else to report, other than Matt is on watch from 9-:00pm-12:00 midnight, Martin is on watch between 12:00 – 3:00am and I’m on from 3:00am – 6:00am, our expected arrival time, oh, and that dinner was delicious
Smooth seas, fair breeze and comings and goings
PS Have you seen the news that the nearby volcano of Ambae has woken up again and evacuations of those living in the danger zone (approx. 5,000 people currently) have commenced. The earlier village of Lolawai is on Ambae and we intended to travel through the area on our way back to Vila