The thrill of a left hand break

Tuesday 25th July 2017
Lambukiti, Tongoa Island

Todd and Vic were off to shore at 7am to load the three big bags of medical goods and bring the four staying on shore back to Chimere.

After loading and tying everything down for what was expected to be a rough, wet ride with 20 plus knots on the beam we were ready to raise the anchor to head for Tongoa Island. Would you believe the anchor winch wouldn’t go. After trying a couple of things away she went, we were off.

It turned out to be a fairly pleasant couple of hours crossing the 12 nautical miles. We traveled conservatively with two reefs in the main and the the stay sail out.

Pretty easy to find an anchorage although quite rolly. As soon as the anchor was down the medicos had lunch and the crew swung into action hoisting the big dinghy over and loaded both dinghys ready to go to shore.

Approaching the shoreline they could see there was a really nice swell running (if you are a surfer) . They battled their way through and managed to get all the goods on a waiting truck for transport to the top of the hill. Then I’m told the truck ride up the hill was just as exciting.

It was an ordeal although on return this evening the swell was more severe with some two foot waves breaking over the dinghy. Fortunately all returned wet but safely with no damage to equipment, well done Todd and Vic.

While up the hill getting things ready for the clinic they pulled a casual five teeth. The local people are so grateful for the instant relief from the excruciating pain.

All hopped in under Vics guidance to make Casava patties, very nice.

Fair winds, smooth seas and the thrill of a left hand break

Phil Wicks


Report from Mission 2 doctor … Nic Allen

Found through the online MSM medical Vanuatu adventure sailing “dating site” …   UK doctor Nicholas Allen explains a bit about himself and how he’s found himself half a world away from where he calls home…

As I sat in my kitchen, rain beating against the window on a dark and stormy February day in England, I began planning my 12 month Sabbatical. Sailing was one of my passions, and expedition and adventure medicine my theme for the year. I began an internet search of likely options, after many false dawns I eventually came across the MSM blogs from previous years and began reading intently. This would fit the bill, sailing whilst seeing the world through more than a tourists eye, hopefully helping a few people on the way and somewhere warm and sunny. Perfect! Primary care was my day job at home, but in a developing country, (from a luxury 53 foot yacht, I was promised) going back to basics in medicine would be a real challenge. An old University friend lived in Cairns, so tagging on a visit to see him and his family sealed the deal in my mind.

After some very prompt, enthusiastic and encouraging correspondence with Rob, I was sold on the idea and pencilled in the dates around my other adventures.  I sailed the Atlantic in a 72 footer in November/December with a youth Charity called Tall Ships completing a long held dream to cross an Ocean, then worked in Nicaragua /Costa Rica for 3 months with Raleigh International, a charity promoting sustainable developmental work in rural Central America. This focused on water and sanitation projects, involving the local villagers, with Raleigh bringing together technical assistance and also youth volunteers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and also Europe to add energy and endeavour. After 3 months of hard graft, we had dug a trench 4.5km long through jungle, across a river and finally succeeded in delivering fresh water via a gravity fed water supply to a small rural community. To cap off an epic trip, our final challenge was a 300km trek across Costa Rica, unassisted and with only 1960’s maps for guidance, we managed to lead 12 venturers from the Caribbean to the Pacific amid great celebration!

  After all this preparation, I now felt ready to take on MSM! With my recent experience of sailing and rural living, I was excited about the tasks ahead.

After 3 days of the voyage I have not been disappointed……

Dr Nic Allen

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