Wednesday 5 August,8:16 PM (Ai Creek, Havannah Harbour, Efate) [check out the new ‘Vanuatu Flora Gallery‘ – admin)
After a brief 18 hour stop-over in Lamen Bay, it was up this morning at 04:30 and away at 05:00, roughly south, with Pt Vila in our sights. Unfortunately, the wind has continued to come roughly from the direction we were headed, which made for lower than expected speeds and at times uncomfortable sea conditions.  Suppose that’s why they call them trade winds.  Best to work with them, not against them.

Knowing that we weren’t going to make it into Pt Vila before dark, our plan was to stop over here in Havannah Harbour, on the island of Efate, with Pt Vila just a short hop down the coast.  Tomorrow, it’ll be away again early so that we can find a berth at the Yachting World, hopefully against the sea-wall in the centre of town.

Yachting World were very kind to us when we were there in June, halving their usual fees, on account of the volunteer nature of our work.  In a recent email to confirm the latest booking they actually said they would waive their fees altogether this time, which was just wonderful.  The region generally is known as “The Waterfront”.  Thank you very much Yachting World!

So looking back on today, there really isn’t a lot to report.  No rain, but the sky was a patchwork of grey on grey, rising from a grey sea.  The wind was a touch on the chilly side, and the spray from the pounding bow was kind of wet as we inched our way closer to the hazy (grey) silhouette of land – always in the distance.  Not the sort of tropical paradise you see in the brochure!!

With all the statistics floating around of late, both cricket and medical, I thought I’d throw a few recent sailing “location and distance” statistics into the pot.

Now these stats aren’t for the total mission, just the most recent tour north.  They start in Luganville, on Santo, (11 July) where the previous mission out to the island of Ambae ended and include the relocation back to Pt Vila tomorrow (6 Aug)

Without a map of Vanuatu by your side, the following names and distances may be a bit confusing.  If you have access to Google Earth, you might like to use it to familiarise yourself with the region. [zoom in (+) on the Google map alongside the Post for the return to Pt Vila – Admin]

The stats go something like this …

Legs Running total
(Miles)
Running total
(Km)
Medical team transportation
Luganville, Santo to Mere lava Island 97 156
Mere Lava to Losolava, Gaua (aka Santa Maria Is) 113 210
Losolava to Tolap, West Coast Gaua 136 252
Tolap to Losolava, Gaua 160 296
Losolava to Vureas Bay, West Coat Vanualava Island 183 339
Vureas Bay to Sola, Port Patteson Vanualava Island 207 383
Sola to Mota Island, then back to Sola 222 411
Sola to Mota lava Island 238 440
Mota lava to Ureparapara Island 260 480
Ureparapara to Loh Island 308 570
Loh to Hui, then back to Loh 337 623
Return to Pt Vila
Loh to Luganville, Santo 506 937
Luganville to Lamen Bay, Epi 600 1112
Lamen Bay to Havannah Harb, Efate 651 1206
Havannah Harb to Pt Vila 676 1253

Right now we are enjoying a very still, dry anchorage after the day’s long-rinse spin cycle.  Onboard “Ships Chef”, Mike, is preparing a beautiful (why would ya wanna eat anywhere else kids) meal and it’ll be an early night all round.

We are all excited by the prospect of meeting up with friends and family when they fly in tomorrow night for the “7 Day Holiday Package”, staying at the Melanesian Resort.  In putting the package together with the local travel agent, I hope I didn’t say anything about guaranteed sunshine and crystal clear water and tranquil, balmy evenings. If I did, I might have to leave town early if the current weather forecast doesn’t improve.  But from what I hear almost anything would be better than the chilly weather being experienced in southern Australia.

First call for dinner.  It’s on the plate and I’d better go

Smooth sea, fair breeze and just one more sleep

Rob