Lakona Bay, Gaua Island

Monday 18 September 2017

The day dawned sunny, no sign of rain, with the wind abating. The distant roar of the surf on the outer reef seemed to have dropped a notch and all seemed right with the world.

After last night’s later-than-expected-return from their inland bush walk, the folk off the neighbouring yachts were keeping a low profile with no sign of life on deck or in their dinghies.

All the dental and medical gear was ashore from yesterday’s well-attended half-day clinic in the Anglican church building so one of Richard’s first jobs was to obtain a local truck to assist in relocating everything to the regional clinic building a short distance away.

Barry Stewart remained aboard sorting supplies on deck, leaving the dental work to Wellan and Pakon.

Everyone else went ashore, in two dinghy loads, and assumed their assigned roles. Matt and Matt, got to know the enthusiastic local nurse Stephen very well as he showed them the faulty solar power system that would not run the clinic fridge; a problem that had persisted for many years. Stephen dubbed our two Matts … Senior and Junior … and was truly over- joyed when a faulty, corroded wire was diagnosed as the problem. After fixing the wires the fridge once more began purring in the corner. A wonderful thing !

Meanwhile Martin, Jay (the eyecare worker) and I, walked off to the local Primary School armed with a bag of tools, repair-goo and teflon tape to fix the tap on the school water tank. (Plus a bag of tooth brushes to give away) While doing this we met principal Benjamin as well as Chief John Star, again, but this time also his wife Susan. While there, I inquired about the supply of fruit – bananas, pamplemouse (grapefruit) and whatever else might be available – that I was promised by school chairman Mark yesterday in exchange for the epoxy and fiberglass matting, not to mention selection of small-diameter rope for starting such things as generators, brush cutters and motor mowers.


“Maybe he lie to you?!” exclaimed Chief John. I said I welcomed his honesty and made the point that it was quite expensive stuff that I had supplied.

“Yes, that was valuable materials and he said he would give you some fruit” replied John.

Maybe Mark came good with his side of the bargain after we’d sailed out. But I’d made it clear what time we were leaving and so this is probably a long-shot.

“No worries” I said to John and Susan as we made our final farewells.

After running what turned out to be a half-day clinic we were all aboard and “lunched” for a 2:00pm departure.

The wind blew consistently from the south east at around 20 knots, pushing us along at around 7-8 knots; blowing from behind, then off the port beam, then finally on the bow as we made our way around the island in an anti-clockwise direction.

The blue-sea-swell of around 3 metres, approached from the stern causing us to first rise, then surf down the face, as the foam from the spent wave gathered on each side of the bow. The process was repeated over and over again, all the while the deck remained virtually level with the 15 of us either resting under the boom, chatting in the cockpit, sleeping below, or singing and playing guitar on the deck. It really was a dream-sail, with even the engine given a rest for much of the time.

Our arrival at Lakona Bay a short time before the sun sank in the west was made even more special with the arrival of a pod of dolphins, which seemed to leave just as soon as they had arrived.

 

The Five (Ni-Van) Amigos – Richard, Jay, Wellan, Bob and Pakon – were dropped ashore and soon the message was received on the radio that they had found their accommodation and will report back early tomorrow with specific set-up details

Meanwhile on board Chimere, Annette coordinated the cooking and presentation of a wonderful dinner and we all chatted and reviewed the day’s amazing sailing experience.

Smooth seas, fair breeze and the stuff of dreams

Rob Latimer