Tuesday 16 July 2013

Emae Island

Day 2 of the Emae clinic today and business was booming. Lyndon had plenty of customers and those not able to fit in today will be seen tomorrow. One family, when asked how long they had travelled to get to the clinic said 2 hours walk, but later in the day it was discovered that they had come from a nearby island and that part of the trip had taken a further 2 hours. We didn’t discover which island but with the wind and seas still up I hope they are staying put until things die down.


Jon, Ray and James went for a long walk today and in their travels caught up with fisherman Michael from the other night. After trying to sell us pamplemoose yesterday Michael declared that he had another 4 coconut crabs if we wanted to buy them. Ray said he’d need to talk with “the captain”, which we all agreed was a bit of a cop out… so hopefully we don’t have a 12 midnight visit again !!

Morinda gave a dental talk to new mothers and Helen continued with testing eyes and dispensing glasses.

I spent the day aboard Chimere, and even made some very acceptable bread while everyone was away. (Those pre-packed bags of flour are an enormous success Linda. Tank yu tumas)

After gaining a lot of interest in the mud bricks at the demonstration yesterday, it looks like we will be doing it all again tomorrow; this time for the older children at the local school. Also a man named Joseph from the next village along the coast was very keen to do it in his village.

It’s an early start again tomorrow and there are now two extra yachts in the bay – getting a bit crowded after our solitude of the past 10 days. One small 33 foot yacht has come all the way from France; a solo yachtsman whose wife has flown out to join him and his small cat. Yes, a cat. A cat that apparently will prevent him from entering almost every country you can imagine on account of quarantine. (the cat’s name is a word that in French means “little pest” – very appropriate) We learnt all this when we had them over for coffee and fresh bread this afternoon. Their English was a lot better than our French it must be said, despite their protests to the contrary. They even said that they liked the Vegemite I gave them, although it might have been politeness or a desire not to create an international incident. All being well, our French friends Johnny and Christine will join us first thing tomorrow for the ride over to the clinic in the back of the truck; they are keen to see the clinic and mix it with the locals.

Tony was given a very large pamplemoose when healthcare worker Donald drove Tony, Morinda and Helen to another village for a home visit – it was a very large grapefruit and Tony couldn’t resist drawing a face on it and naming it Wilson (from the movie Castaway if you are wondering)

I’ve mentioned the strong wind we’ve been having, well Ray, Jon and James made it to weather coast during their walk and managed to take a photo looking out to sea with the (currently) inaccessible islands of Makira and Mataso in the distance – the wind just hasn’t let up. Back at the clinic, Lyndon and Kristie described the effect of the wind on one very large tree which toppled over, hitting the ground near the clinic with an almighty thump and a rain of twigs and branches, one of which landed on the roof of the rather solidly built toilet; a “facility” that Kristie was building up the courage to visit just a few minutes earlier. I think in a quiet moment Kristie might claim to have been “looked after” when considering what might have occurred.


With tomorrow being our last “clinical day” thoughts are starting to turn towards the return sail to Port Vila on Thursday. The wind remains strong and hopefully it remains east of SE, so we don’t have the weather on the nose. Strong wind is one thing, but strong wind on the nose is quite another – very unpleasant.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and last day at Emae tomorrow.

Rob Latimer