Sunday 1 August 2010 (Havannah Harbour, Efate Is, 17 36.31S, 168 14.60E)

Revolieu Bay on Epi, or “Ravioli Bay” as Lanie would sometimes mistakenly say, is the sort of place to come back to. After arriving late yesterday and enjoying a blissfully still night at anchor we were off again this morning at 5:30; little more than 12 hours later. There wasn’t even enough time to get the dinghy over the side for an explore, but onshore there was a river, a long pebbly “beach” with beckoning children, plus a village somewhere hidden within the dense forest which began just above high tide mark and extended up and inland to the high hills in the distance.

It was still pretty dark as we quietly headed out of the bay and the sea was very calm as we made our way down the sheltered west coast. Occasionally there was a rolly bump for Chimere to climb up and over which seemed to tell of what was to come. In an act of brilliant forward planning, we all had a snack for breakfast while conditions remained calm because as the wind picked up and the effects of the exposed sea curving around the bottom of the island began to be felt, food became a tad difficult to prepare. (assuming we were inclined to eat it)

With the mainsail already reefed, the jib was rolled in a little to shorten sail in order to make things a bit more comfortable. In the end it was a similar run to the previous day, with the wind just staying east of our final destination to enable us to lay a course for Havannah Harbour just around the corner from Pt Vila. The sea was just as confused but with a bigger swell causing occasional waves to hit the port side, shooting skyward only to strategically land in the lap of the helmsman with the aid of the 25+ knot wind. Or the bow to sink into the crest of a wave thereby scooping a quantity of water onto the deck which would then race down the lower starboard side slowly emptying away over time and only once reaching all the way down to the cockpit. It was a fun and lively time, with speed being maintained at around 6 knots, and even faster when rain squalls came through on account of the stronger wind at these times and the way the heavy rain would flatten out the sea.

We arrived here at Havannah Harbour around 4:00pm this afternoon, just in time for a quick swim. Again, there was no time to get the dinghy over the side, as we’ll be away again early tomorrow for the short hop around to the capital city – Pt Vila.

One problem we will have upon our arrival tomorrow in Pt Vila is … where we will be staying?. Last year, and earlier this year. we were easily accommodated at “Yachting World” on the seawall in the middle of town, however, this time the place is reportedly chocka, with several yacht rallys and round the world groups having booked up every berth and mooring for the month of August. Fortunately, we’ve got to know the owner/manager of Yachting World, Elsie, quite well by now. In fact the last two times we’ve stayed in Pt Vila, Elsie has not charged us at all, because she really likes the work we’ve been doing around the islands transporting medical teams. So when I contacted Elsie recently about a possible possy for Chimere for a couple of weeks … her response was … “we’ll see what we can do”. So here’s hoping!!

Lanie commented tonight, with a touch of sadness, as we munched through another lovely meal, that tomorrow will be her last day of sailing after 5 weeks aboard. Mike then wistfully wondered how he’s going to get shoes and socks on again, let alone a suit, when he returns to work soon. Matt was worried that when he returns to Melbourne he might feel inclined to ask total strangers whether they have any pamplemousse they might like to trade, or better still, some bananas. In any case, it’s clear that the medical transport mission for 2010 has come to an end and we have definitely entered the “getting home” phase of the operation.

For tomorrow it’s just a few hours sail around to Vila, so as a special treat, we are all sleeping in till 6:00am. Once again the sky is full of stars and our anchorage is as calm as a marina berth.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and in Pt Vila tomorrow

Rob Latimer