Sunday at Futuna.

Sunday 9 May 4:09 PM

After a magic overnight sail of just 9 hours or so, doing 7+ knots over (relatively) flat seas, we all arrived refreshed after some valuable sleep and once the anchor was dropped around 8:00am in Mission Bay (aka Felava Tafasua Bay) it was time for some breakfast.

After this it was then time to make our way ashore, with the medical team being transported first (in 3 boat loads) followed by their bags, then the medical and optical boxes in two further trips.

The anchorage here at Futuna is described in the cruising guide thus:  DANGER: unsafe anchorage, steep drop-off, surge, do not leave vessel unattended.

Fortunately with the current wind conditions, from the SE, it’s reasonably snug here, however, the first dinghy trip ashore required some assistance from a local lad who actually swam out beyond the reef (fully clothed) into the middle of the bay when we arrived to indicate where we should anchor.  He climbed onto the deck as we motored close and then stood at the front of the dinghy when we finally took the first load ashore, guiding us through the reef in the exact spot where the small swells didn’t quite break.  To ensure we continued finding our way through the small gap in the reef on our own (in daylight and at night after the inevitable movie night) we attached a white float to a small anchor and dropped it in a strategic spot at the edge of the inshore reef; a temporary navigational aid which has already paid dividends.

At 10:00am the church service began onshore and I caught the last hour, while Bill and Tony went for a walk nearby.  The landscape here is really spectacular with the island rising to a plateau of more than 640 metres, much of it cliffs.  I don’t think we’ll get to climb to the top.  Apparently it’s rather dangerous and we probably won’t have time.

Being Sunday it’s a day of no work and lots of relaxing.  Something with which we were happy to comply.  Tomorrow it’s a different story.  The first medical clinic will be held tomorrow at the other end of the island; at Herald Bay.  The plan is for the medical team to walk there, which we are informed is a 30 minute walk.  Based on past experience you believe that at your peril.  Particularly after they said that the children from this village walk there to school every day and upon further inquiry we were told that school started at 7:30am and they head off at 6:00am apparently.  I’m sure all will be revealed tomorrow.

After church and a lovely meal prepared by the people who own the bungalow where the medical team are staying onshore, I managed to have chat with a guy who might be interested in the mud brick making project.  The soil looks like it might be good for the purpose but we’ll give it a go tomorrow.

We have also offered to run a movie night ashore tomorrow night and hopefully this will also include some local singing acts as a warm-up to the feature screening; not sure what might be best – Jurassic Park, or Beethoven, we’ll have to assess our audience … there is a lot of forest here and we don’t want to scare the littlies.

Hopefully we get an early night and our anchor and chain does its best to keep us secure and the wind holds from the SE

Smooth seas, fair breeze and here’s to relaxing on Sundays

Robert Latimer

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