Thursday 6 August 2009, 6:09 AM (Pt Vila Waterfront Marina, Yachting World)

After a wonderfully still night in Havannah Harbour, it was away again early, with the wind still on the nose, but bearable, as we made the final hop into Pt Vila.  We arrived at 10:00am, made a smooth landing into a sea-wall marina berth and stepped ashore – kind of wobbly in the legs.  First stop, Jill’s Cafe in the main street, where Terrance, Mike, Andrew and I indulged ourselves in a big (combined) breakfast/lunch.

The weather is still overcast and through occasional showers we cleaned up the boat and made preparations for the arrival of all the Australian guests on the evening flight.

Fast forward to this evening … when an excited throng of holiday-makers made their way through customs, past the colourful string band and onto the waiting bus.  But not before hugs and kisses all round from the arrival committee, comprising principally, Andrew, Mike, me and our ever-helpful friend Richard Tatwin

In all there were 16 people who took up the holiday package, including (my darling wife) Linda, Andrew’s wife, Nila and daughter Heather (their other daughter, Elizabeth, will arrive tonight for a brief stay) Mike’s wife Robyn, my sisters, Rae-Ellen and Lorraine, Rae-Ellen’s husband Paul and their son Lachlan, friends from North Ringwood Uniting Church, Barry and Anne Newman and Dorothy Pooley, Andrew’s neighbour from NSW, Jenny Wiseman, parents of recent crew member Chris, Sue and Frank Martinu, and friend of Andrew and Nila’s, Kim Warby, who is also a dentist and who intends to investigate ways to build up a dental programme here in Vanuatu.

After checking in at the Melanesian, folks were kind of hungry and so it was a short walk down to the Thai restaurant (and pizza place) next door.  As the hours and minutes ticked by, plans and up-coming island tours discussed, food and drink consumed, the effects of a day’s travel began to kick in and everyone’s lights began to fade.  One by one sleepy heads staggered off to bed, with two important thoughts filed away within easy reach … “breakfast at 8:00am” and “half day tour starting at 9:15am”.  Let’s hope all the alarms work.

Meanwhile Chimere bob’s up and down with the tide at the seawall and we hope and pray for some fine weather – after all, it’s snorkelling at Hideaway Island on the agenda for tomorrow and if the rain doesn’t hold off, everyone’s going to get wet.

Smooth sea, fair breeze and welcome to Vanuatu