After a few days the swell started making its way into Ponusia Bay.
At the same time, we knew that Laewe and her relatives were planning on walking back to Potnarvin. M asked them if they might want a ride on Bella Luna – they said that would be great. We couldn’t take them on a Saturday, because that was apparently a holy day, which was fine with us, because conditions weren’t right.
Such was our isolation between two cliffs in Ponusia Bay that we had no way to get the weather forecast to check that it was safe to leave. Thank goodness for our satellite phone – despite the fact that my laptop was dead, we were able to text friends and ask for a forecast. They didn’t let us down.
Potnarvin was not particularly on our way, but it wasn’t too far either. So on Sunday morning (not a holy day) we cleaned up the boat, and M brought the posse aboard…
For people that hadn’t been on a sailboat before, they were very relaxed. The younger boys plugged a phone into our speaker and cranked out some tunes. At one point I saw that Laewe had curled up on the couch – she’d instinctively positioned herself at the base of the mast – the most stable point to be.
Gwendoline, her eight-year-old daughter, did some drawing out in the cockpit, while Rocky was a keen observer of the whole sailing process. They all just hung out and looked cool.
It took about three or four hours to get to Potnarvin – we all ate some pumpkin soup I’d made early in the morning from one of the feral pumpkins that Roci had planted – some of which just hang down, swaying gently in the breeze from trees wrapped in pumpkin vine.
After lunch, we all parted. Later on we went and walked through the village – it was awe-inspiring. Beautifully laid out – a working community… Many chickens and baby chicks running about…
Lots of skinny dogs, a communal kitchen, a meeting hall, a dispensary… People were very welcoming, and the village was SO NEAT. Beautifully swept pathways, banana trees, pawpaw trees, neat rows of slender manioc and the occasional cow tethered in amongst the greenery.
It seemed we had arrived at the beginning of Reforestation Week run by the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degraded forests organisation, otherwise known as REDD+.
There were a whole lot of activities planned in relation to this, and we made our way ashore the following day, primed to hear about revegetation, climate change and the role of Erromango.
However, someone had died. The general mood was subdued and activities were postponed until the next day. We had quiet words with a few people, asked where we were able to go exploring, and spent the rest of the day doing our own thing… which was (with all due respect) much needed.