Our journey from Pentecost to Maewo was a wet one. The seas were confused and there was wind against tide through the awesomely named Lolvavavana Passage (LOL!). M says it looked a lot worse than it actually was and we expected things to get crazy, but it didn’t happen.
Bella Luna sliced through it all doing eight to 10 knots. It was a relief to get to the shelter of Asanvari – we were stoked to catch up with our friends on Paws, who we hadn’t seen since Dillons Bay. We had a little bit of difficulty anchoring – the water is very deep and there are big chunks of dead coral rolling around on the seabed. It continued to rain, and rain… we eventually made the boat secure and had a good view of the waterfall.
There had recently been some landslides that had destroyed at least two houses as well as some gardens. In addition to that, the village had about 20 people who had been relocated from Ambae – the nearby island that has been permanently evacuated (of people, not animals).
Once ashore we met Justin, the chief of the village and he took us to see the school where his wife, Charity, teaches. We all sat down on chairs, backs to the blackboard, and met all the school children. Most of them were too shy to ask any questions, but we sang them all a song, and they sang a fantastic one in return – I’m hoping to get some audio/video of it to post here. (Melissa?)
Out of the classroom Melissa and I went with Charity to see her pride and joy – her new stove! And there it was, in her grass hut – a lovely gas cooker! I nearly fell over… She’d been waiting 20 years for one, and Chief Justin had bought it for her with his severance pay. Relationship points!! Melissa later wrote down some recipes for her – she was particularly keen on conquering the custard tart.
Meanwhile, all the schoolkids and boatkids and boatdads had some games going on…
It continued to rain on and off. By this time, we had last been in a more urban environment (Port Vila) about six weeks ago. Quite frankly, the lack of food and the ongoing wet weather were not a good combination. Whenever it rains we have to close all our hatches, but our provisions were so low that we basically had to cook in order to eat – there were no convenient snacky things, no cheese, crackers, bread, eggs – we were down to tinned tomatoes, dried beans and lentils, and basic culinary ingenuity.
To put it simply, it was getting hard. Harder. M was keen to stay for a week, dreaming of tramping his way through Maewo, exploring surf breaks, (presumably) sucking on dried green peas and boiled rice. However, backed up by a reasonable forecast, we left after two nights and sailed all day to Luganville on Espiritu Santo – a destination which, for the past week or so, had been glowing sirenlike in the forefront of my brain…
We ran out of toilet-paper on the morning that we left and improvised with a packet of travel tissues the Mothership had left me. Did you know they were THREE PLY? We do now – because we had to separate each wafter thin sheet in order to pacify the toilet.