Endings and Beginnings

Monday July 6 8:53 PM (Luganville Beachfront, Santo)

As the taxi bounced along the road this morning taking a good deal longer than I thought it should to cover the few kilometers to the airport, I said to the driver: “Is this the back road?”
“No” he said, the back road is rough one.”
What was supposed to a ten-minute  trip turned out to be closer to twenty-five, and we arrived just as the plane was landing. Rob, Mike, Terry, Jo and Chris alighted, having done the red-eye special with a midnight landing in Vila at last night, getting to bed at 2 am after being delayed in customs, then up for a 5 am start for the flight to Santo.
Fortunately they were charmed by the beauty of the Palikulo Bay anchorage we had brought them to. Despite their fatigue, breakfast, a swim in the turquoise water and the glorious surroundings revived them wonderfully. Chris took off with enthusiasm to catch a fish, and succeeded almost immediately in pulling in a 2kg trevally. Jo tackled it determinedly to recapture her scaling and filleting skills. Those of us who have managed to catch only one fish in 5 weeks could only watch and marvel.
On the first day for crew 3 and the next to last day for crew 2, it was a fitting transition to have a sail together. This afternoon we beat into a 15-knot breeze back down the coast to Luganville, motor-sailing under the main and staysail and moving along nicely at 5 knots. It’s funny being on a boat with so many people who know what they’re doing and have spent a lot of time together. An order from the helm is just as likely to be greeted with a wisecrack as immediate compliance.
At the fisherman’s wharf we took advantage of the long hose belonging to the boat we pulled alongside to refill our water tanks. Local fisherman came aboard at Rob’s invitation and crowded into the saloon to peer at the computer maps of the planned journey and offer advice on anchorages. Our arrival there coincided with two large pizzas being pulled out of the oven for lunch, and I felt a twinge of discomfort that I only had enough to feed our ten crew members and not everyone. I was relieved when the men appeared at length clutching a bundle of chocolate and a couple of brand new Geographic magazines Rob had given them.
A tour and a few essential transactions in town were topped off by drinks and dinner together on the foredeck – a delicate coconut curry using Chris’ fish supplemented with another from the market, the introduction of island cabbage and snake beans to the incoming team, topped off by plum pudding, custard, and a video of medical tour 1. It looks like they had almost as much fun as we’ve had!

4 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings”

  1. every beginning contains its ending – i’m looking forward to seeing a bronzed ann changed by a remarkable experience. bon voyage!

  2. Ahh, it brings tears (of joy and sadness) to read the last chapter of Ann’s Medical Sailing Miniseries. Will we ever get to find out the true story of why Rob & co were delayed at customs?

  3. Hi Hilary,
    Many thanks for your many comments over the past few weeks. I’ve enjoyed reading them from the comfort of my home in Melbourne. Being away from the boat gave me a new perspective on it all after writing the daily epistles throughout May. In response to your comment, I’m not sure Ann was overly bronzed on the outside, (you spend most of your time avoiding the sun here) but Ann was certainly bronzed and beaming on the inside. Though she had become well adjusted and attuned to her new surroundings here, I sensed Ann was keen to be reunited with her young ones back home!!
    all the best

  4. Hi Graeme,
    By the time this gets up on the website, you’ll be onboard. Hopefully your experience through Customs is a little quicker than mine. Although you might be able to do a “Doctor voice” which will smooth the tracks. Hopefully Richard has obtained the extra letter of authority from head office.

    Actually, I didn’t get to read Ann’s last two Ship’s Logs, so I don’t know what she said in relation to Customs, leaving the boat, or anything else for that matter. No doubt I’ll get to read it when next I can get on the web. Maybe you can paraphrase it for me tomorrow. Certainly, Endings and Beginnings was a good heading. Now we’ve got that “other lot” off the boat we can spread out a bit.

    Safe travel Graeme, and Sue, we will look after him. And if we leave him on any islands to assist with running clinics, we’ll take extra good note of which island it was and how to get back there to pick him up.


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