Dawn at Luganville

Saturday, 02 September 2017

Luganville, Espiritu Santo 

Thump, thump, crash, crash, rattle, rattle, whirr, bang, crash. Woken from my sleep by the sounds of the crew on watch changing sail settings. What time is it? I’m not due on watch yet.
Later, more noises, but quieter. Time to get up (03.00). Captain Jon was sitting looking at the chart plotter, on-watch crew, Ray and Grant, were steering and keeping watch. Outside there were lights indicating that we were entering Luganville Harbour. The other islands we have visited are dark, very dark. Our plan to arrive at first light has gone terribly wrong – we are here three hours too early, despite reefing the main and furling the jib. With the care and planning of a retired naval officer, Jon coaxed Chimere into the port, past the shipping area into the yacht basin where we safely anchored. I stayed on anchor watch while the others retired to their bunks. Watching the dark night gradually change to grey. Soon, everyone will be on their way, to their separate lives.


To celebrate the completion of another mission, we arranged to have breakfast at the nearby resort, and to take the obligatory group photo. The medical team walked into the city centre whilst the sailing team caught up on their sleep.

Tonight will be another crowded night on board Chimere, but tomorrow all but Jon and I will be gone, on holiday in Espirito Santo, or back to Australia. Then will be the clean up before Rob arrives on Monday and preparation for the next mission will begin.


From a personal perspective, I am honoured to have participated in the Oral Health Survey – as I sat there recording the wellness or otherwise of someone’s teeth, I thought, “This is why we are here” to provide the Vanuatu Health Department information of their people’s oral health, from tiny villages and remote islands. However, I enjoyed the looking after of the vessel more, and at times I had to pinch myself, “It’s like I’m in a dream, but I’m awake”, living on a yacht, in the tropics, doing boaty things.

Mark Stephenson

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