Sunday 25 August 2013

Beach front Resort (anchored off the …)
15 31.36S 167 09.92

We saw the sun this morning – made sleeping in a bit of a challenge. Yesterday had been quite overcast and from what we heard from Andrew and the team, it was much the same for them over the last week.


Being Sunday, Cathy and I set our sights on going to church in the morning, so by around 9:30am we were out on the road walking towards town to find the first one we came to.

We’d heard there was a Church of Christ … “just down there” … with a wave of the hand in the direction of town from a local guy the day before, so we figured it wouldn’t be far.  Ten minutes into our walk we came across what looked like a school and we asked a few happy local lads where there might be a church … “maybe Church of Christ”, I
“You wantem Catholic or Protestant?” came the reply.  “Protestant” I said.  Then followed a discussion on the many forms of protestant before the boys all agreed there was a church … “back down the white road you just come past”.

“…here I show you”, said one of the lads as he jumped out of his chair and led us back through the front gates and onto the main road where he pointed to a road sign and the turn-off.

After a couple of minutes walk Cathy and I found the building and fortunately the start time was around 10:00am as we’d guessed.

No sneaking un-noticed in the back with this congregation.  The building was small, the congregation was small and after taking our sandals off (like everyone else) we took our place on a bench seat – at the back – but given the size of the building it was still pretty close to the front.  Looking around it was clear that the women were on the left and the men and boys on the right, which prompted Cathy to whisper… “do you think I should swap sides?”

Originally a Methodist from wayback, the service had a familiar, simple feel to me – except of course for the language of Bislama, which I expected.  I didn’t expect the readings and songs in French though, and the mix of the languages and then talking to Cathy and me afterwards in English, just reminded us how multilingual many of the people are here.


On the walk back from church, Cathy and I saw the sign for the 1606 Restaurant and a sign that said “Best food in Town” … That’s a big call I thought !!  Got to see this  I thought.  Then I remembered the Ships Log from a few days ago and how the lads had come for dinner here and raved about the beef dishes.  So we wandered in to have a
look around and soon met the owner, an Australian woman called Bev Anti, then her husband Nabil.

It was an amazing meeting because from what Bev was describing she must pretty much run the Rotary Club here and is involved in so many outreach activities, some involving assisting with medical work.  In fact tomorrow she has a meeting with the head of the region’s Rural Health Department , Joseph Mape and others in the field and has asked
if we’d like to come along. When we asked if she had room, she simply said … “I’ve got a ute”.   She also invited us to the Rotary family night on Thursday – a chance to meet many of the leaders and business people in town.

When Bev learned that we were heading north through the Banks and Torres she was keen to sort some donated gear for us to distribute as we go – clothing, sporting gear, all sorts of things.  When she talked about taking desks and chairs to Malekula I almost felt the need to explain that our boat is quite small – but Bev was keen to network and
build on what everyone is doing.

After a lazy rest on the grass in the shade at the water’s edge here at The Beachfront, we made our way back aboard and after a spaghetti lunch we got into a few tasks – Cathy cleaning the kitchen, sorry, galley and then making up a list of medical supplies currently on board, and me, cutting a hole in the bottom of the shower – something
I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

It won’t remain a hole you understand, my plan is to solve the problem of the shower base overflowing by deepening the tray.  I’ll also put a strainer on the outlet drain – no names or pack-drill, but it’s not my hair that finds its way into the bilge pump, clogging the system and burning out the motor.  Stay tuned for more developments !!

Those coming on the next tour … Mission 3, will be happy to know the weather forecast is looking good for later in the week when we head off.   I’ll be checking in more detail as the day gets closer, but the typical SE trade winds look like they are here to stay … although hopefully I don’t regret having said that.


Another task of great importance has been the sorting out of food, in particular what needs to be purchased for the next month – we’ll check out the shops tomorrow.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and a lazy kind of Sunday

Robert Latimer

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