Saturday 1 July 2017
Aniwa Island

It’s now very quiet here at anchor on the west coast of Aniwa. It’s around 8:30pm and the string band music is playing on the CD.

All the clinic and survey equipment has been loaded and lashed to the fore-deck and all the sailing and medical folk are aboard – dentists Antonio and Tami, doctors Doug and David, nurses Annette and Deb, local health care workers Morinda, Bob and Dick, plus sailors Gerry, Martin, Peter, Daniel and myself – 14 in all.

The fresh bread is out of the oven and everyone is settling down for a good night’s sail to Futuna. Some of the medicos are already testing out their allocated bunk and Martin has finished putting waypoints into the chartplotter.

Communications are still poor – read, non existent – and so sending emails and photos are out, but the Iridium satellite is getting a word out; although those satellites don’t always line up the way you’d like, making for frustrating delays and temperamental transmissions

The full day clinic on shore was indeed a “full day” with the two doctors and nurse (Annette) seeing 79 patients including around 30 kids with conditions as diverse as epilepsy, malnutrition and what the doctors describe as “grotty ears”. There were a lot of “giggling girls” who arrived in groups.

A rewarding aspect was working with the local island nurse, Anne Marie, who helped greatly in explaining each person’s condition and made assurances about future ongoing care and follow-up where necessary. There were also the usual back and chest pains from hard work in the gardens and life generally, plus high blood pressure likely caused from cooking with salt water.

Another occupation condition amongst a select group of men and boys was ear problems caused from deep diving.
We were shown great hospitality, despite our unexpected, impromptu arrival, 2 days early.

Anyway, it’s now getting close to 10:00pm and the sailors are doing what they must to prepare Chimere for sea … closing hatches, stowing things low, starting the motor etc, and directing the medicos to their bunks for some much needed sleep.

I’d better sign off now, and pick things up later

Smooth seas, fair breeze and night sail to Futuna

Rob Latimer

 

Just arrived Futuna

And they have Internet!!!!

Dentist Tami and Antonio work the lens!!!