Rest day at Futuna

Rest day at Futuna

Sunday 2 July 2017
Futuna Island

The Admiralty Pilot (book) to the Pacific Islands Volume II refers to the anchorage at Futuna as: “…W coast of NE point, steep-to except for foul ground, indifferent anchorage at a depth of 44m … landing on sandy beach in small cove. ” And at the main village in Herald Bay …  “no anchorage on account of the great depths, landing is reported to be precarious”

So here we are anchored in Mission Bay, Futuna Island, in 20m of water with the anchor and chain resting below us on coral and rock, more like a mooring, than a real anchor, with the 630 metre high island rising dramatically from the water just 500m off our starboard bow.

It’s a stunning sight and ample reward for the night sail from Aniwa; a time of (mostly) sleep on the part of the medical volunteers and attentive shift-work, and sporadic rests for the sailors. Whilst the wind was largely on the nose for the whole of the 40 miles, the seas were mercifully low and so we could motor sail at an average of about 4-5 knots, arriving around 9:00am this morning.

On arrival and after Daniel had done a brief snorkel over the side to confirm the best spot (out of a generally bad area) many went for a swim and generally mucked about – it was Sunday after all.

I ran Bob, Morinda and Dick ashore in the dinghy to discuss the next day’s clinic and survey, only to find that the nurse and pastor/elder were at the other end of the island at Herald Bay.

Some of the sailors grabbed an opportunity to catch up on some sleep, while most went ashore in the afternoon to wander around and explore
On arrival we were met on the beach by a young 12 year old lad, Lenson, who later swam out to the boat. I saw him sitting with a towel over his shoulders in the cockpit drinking a hot chocolate and felt compelled to inquire whether he was a stow-away, or he’d been kidnapped. The answer was a bit unclear, but I got the computer out and showed him some video and photos of our previous visit here in 2010. Pretty soon he could identify his 5 year old self in the old photos and pointed out … “that’s my mother” … “that’s my sister … my brother” etc

He was a very pleasant young man and was finally dropped back to the shore by Daniel, complete with backpack, shirt and cap.

With no clinic today it really was a chance to relax and catch up on things. In my case, and out of necessity, I did some clothes washing and even had a shave. Others read, slept or explored ashore.

After much radio communication back and forth between Bob and myself, it was confirmed that the clinic and survey will be at Herald Bay on the other side of the island, despite the poor anchorage reports. If needs be we will drop everyone off around 7:00am tomorrow and return to this anchorage to wait the day out. But contrary to what I’ve read, the locals say it has an OK landing and anchorage, so I’m keen to discover more.

Morinda, Bob and Dick are staying ashore, leaving 11 of us aboard for the night. Today’s two loaves of freshly baked bread and herb rolls came out perfectly once more, with Antonio taking charge of the galley tonight in pursuit of the most perfect Italian Pasta Creation, after which he performed wonderfully on the guitar to everyone’s enjoyment.

The sea can be heard crashing on the nearby rocks and beach and there’s a gentle roll to Chimere’s motion.
Being such a different island to Aniwa it will be interesting to hear from the medical team at the end of tomorrow whether any real difference can be observed in the general health of each island.

With so much having been packed into this last week it’s hard to believe that it’s only a week since the high-drama rescue of the two Germans and their yacht at the entrance to Port Resolution, Tanna.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and rest day at Futuna

Rob Latimer


Monday 9am

Herald Bay, Futuna

PS Sorry about the lack of photos and replies to email etc – communications  is poor at Mission Bay but much better from Herald Bay

Dropped Oral Health Survey team off onto small beach at Herald Bay then retreated back to relative calm of Mission Bay where we will run clinic for those in need

Gerry does a great job hovering in the rolly Herald Bay while we run the Survey team ashore

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