Friday 30th 8.45 pm Lenakel, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Being pleased to announce that it was I who was closest to predicting the time of arrival, I should add that we all greatly underestimated our new friend, the SE trade wind. We arrived in the area around 3 am this morning, but, as the wind conveniently dropped away on approach we drifted in for a while and anchored around 6.30. am

The past 2 days have been as blissful as the previous 12 days were difficult. South Pacific heaven.

We were assisted by Morrison from Lenakal hospital this am, who had organised for a speedy trip through formalities. Nick was the first in for a swim this morning, followed by myself and Andy. This was followed by another swim, before we were able to go ashore. This is another world. Friendly, and as Martin described them, innocent. We visited the local market, conducted under a big tree. Had lunch at the restaurant, which offered, a menu of 2 dishes, visited the bank, phone shop etc.

Return to the boat, another swim, and then of to Mt Yassur for Martin, Nick, Andy and myself. Our guide for the trip was very informative re Tanna Culture. We were also very impressed with his 4 wheel driving skills. The roads here are not what we are used to in our suburbs. This was indeed an experience. We may be on a remote island with a small population but this was the big smoke! (Andy thought of that one). Lots of smoke and red rocks being thrown into the sky. The surrounding landscape is of another world.

Return to Lenakel, dinner at the restaurant, where the evening menu listed only one choice, and call our taxi driver Bob to pick us up and back to the boat. The anchorage is still, with barely a hint of a swell. Better than Martin and Bob have experienced before. Pacific heaven.

So here I sit, everyone else having gone to bed, writing another entry. Having experienced moments at 2 am sitting on the side of the boat contemplating my insignificance on the face of the Pacific, as it quietly slipped by underneath, my insignificance standing beside a live volcano as it threatened to throw red hot rocks the size of trucks anywhere it wants to. I’m reminded that the best way to face it all is just to go to sleep, and go for another swim, but then, there is a mountain of preparations to be done tomorrow, and, well, contemplation is over-rated anyway.

Bill Vrijens