Thursday 18 July 2013

Emae to Efate

With the wind remaining strong and the seas high, the return sail from Emae to Pt Vila was always going to be a bit lumpy; especially when out of the lee of the islands.

It should be said at the outset, however, that everyone got though the experience without injury or permanent damage. Although as the years pass the waves may grow from 4 metres to 8 metres and the water taken aboard by “tricky waves with our name on them”, might climb from around our toes to past our waists.
Certainly we were all very happy to make it into Pt Vila harbour in the mid afternoon, after a 5:00am start and for me personally I was extremely happy to successfully back Chimere into our seawall berth without touching, nudging, scratching, or even causing alarm to the owners of the million dollar yachts each side of us.


A team photo will have to wait until tomorrow I’m afraid. Kristie had a photo taken on her camera soon after our arrival, however, she is treating herself to a night ashore (along with Tony and Christine) and has her camera with her.

Thanks to the nifty spreadsheet James put together we should also have a complete set of mission stats tomorrow; how many patients and how many teeth, presentations, examinations, spectacles, mud bricks made.

The reason this Ships Log is so late tonight is because soon after arriving back, securely tying up and having an informal de-brief ashore over a quiet ale, I returned to the boat and fell asleep; only waking again around 9:00pm.

There is so much we have learnt on this first mission for 2013, and the first to seriously include a dental outreach component alongside the eyecare and general medical. It was certainly frustrating not to be able to stop at the small islands of Mataso, Makira and Tongariki; instead, diverting our attentions to the island of Emae on account of its proximity and safe anchorage.

After all the preparation and modifications, it should be said that Chimere performed extremely well. The new seating and shelter in the cockpit has transformed the workings of the boat and increased the comfort level of everyone significantly. The new sails have been well and truly tested and have performed well.


The new 240v generator is a dream and the ability to make freshwater at a rate of 180 litres per hour has allowed everyone to have showers and be more liberal with the use of water. As well as not have to always be looking for ways to fill the tanks – eg catching rainwater and/or finding a water source on shore and running water drums back and forth in the dinghy – and then hoping the onshore water source is sound.

The sleeping and food arrangements aboard, given we had 10 people for about 2 weeks, worked very well and if the weather had been a bit nicer it might have been even better with sleeping on deck being an attractive option on past missions.

We now have a period of a week or two in which we prepare Chimere for the next mission, which commences on 2 August. As for me, right now, it’s time for bed.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and safely tied up at the waterfront Port Vila

Rob Latimer

All images from the mission can be seen either on the 2013 Chimere or 2013 Mission 1 Photo Gallery pages, including a permanent map record of the route.

To read older Ships Log posts for 2013 go to …