Craters and ash

Saturday, 19 August 2017
Lamvetlam, Ambryn

Hello Shipmates,
Chimere remains at anchor in the crystal-clear waters off the village of Lamvetlam on north Ambryn, which is in the Malampa Province, but Pentecost Island continues to beckon – so close and yet a world away.

It was an early start as Jon, Deb, Ray and Grant ventured back into the village for a 06.30 start up the volcano on their “team bonding” expedition with their guide, Rueben. Mark kindly ferried them ashore before returning to mind the boat with Bob and Dick. The weather was kind, providing a layer of cloud to keep the intrepid adventurers cooking in the tropical heat as they climbed ever upwards. Steep tracks, endless ridges, long ash plains and fine volcanic dust were the order of the day.

They reported “Finally by about 1045 the end was in sight but nothing could prepare us for the awe- inspiring views when we reached the crater rim. Peering down deep into the abyss we were greeted by a cauldron-like pit of bright red lava, boiling and spitting as we viewed a microcosm of how the island began. With vents emanating smoke and steam the sulphur coloured cliffs added a perfect contrast to the lave and dense black sand and rock that had been blasted in every direction in times gone by. Finally, it was a bitter-sweet decision to begin the trek back down although our exhaustion was mitigated by Rueben knocking fresh paw paws and coconuts from trees in his garden to provide a refreshing and rehydrating afternoon tea with his versatile machete.”

Despite the poverty of the villagers, they were very forthcoming with gifts of paw paws and coconuts. To thank them for their generosity the adventurers took Rueben back to Chimere to provide him with a selection of clothes, hats and snorkelling gear to share amongst the villagers.
True to form, the mission’s masterchef, Mark cooked up a storm with a delicious dinner of apricot chicken accompanied by a loaf of freshly baked bread.

Those readers who track their daily steps with a Fitbit or similar may be interested to know that the bonding team climbed over 1,000M from sea level to the crater rim and walked more than 45,000 steps in their ten hour trek.
An early night awaits the adventurers and with a slow start, a relaxed sail is planned for 0900 tomorrow to reach Pentecost Island and set up for the first clinic.

Fair winds and smooth seas
Ray Rees

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