Sunday 22 September 2013

Nopul, Ambrym

Working our way down the west coast of Pentecost ended up taking a bit longer than we’d expected.  We got away early, around 4:30am, but found progress a bit slow, with a few tacks necessary into the SE wind.  Then we adopted a new strategy – get close enough to shore almost to anchor, then use the calm seas to basically drive south, making sure to stay in deep water.

It was grey and blowy and as we started out I’m sure Matt was heard to say, “at least it’s not raining”, not long before passing showers began to turn into rain.


The exposed water between the islands threw up some more challenging conditions, with the still  anchorage here at Nopul, on the northern
tip of Ambrym, being a welcome reward around 2:15pm.

Our key reason for dropping in here was to visit a new friend, Rose Wuan, whom we’d met by chance in Pt Vila some weeks before and who turns out to be friends with people I know in the Vanuatu Fellowship group back in Melbourne.  Rose has been working hard for several years to establish a computer and IT vocational training centre here at Nopul, a region her family has had strong links with going back many generations.

On arrival I gave Rose a call and pretty soon her and her friend Annie, the local nurse, were on board Chimere enjoying a cup of tea.
Our plan was to go ashore tomorrow to learn more about the region and to see if there is clay for the making of mud bricks, however, a short time ago we looked at the most current weather forecast and the prediction is for the gusty SE wind we are now experiencing to be replaced with an even more gusty NW wind – quite rare in these parts but great for heading south!

So, while we are currently enjoying a lovely sheltered anchorage in the lee of the land, by morning it’s all set to reverse, making our north facing anchorage a bad place to be.  In preparation, we have lifted the dinghy aboard and will keep a weather eye out for the arrival of the change.  It will be a big disappointment, not to be able to spend more time here with Rose and her friends and family, but there’s not a lot we can do.

In other news, there isn’t much.  Newcomers David and Sally have fitted into ship board life well while old salts Matt and Cathy continue to keep things running, it’s significantly quieter without the medical team aboard.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and plugging our way south

Rob Latimer

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