We are in Tanna, Vanuatu, where it is very windy. I am on anchor watch at
the moment, its 2am – that means Caspar and I take it in turns to stay up
through the night to ensure we don’t move and that our anchor doesn’t drag –
we don’t have to do that too often but sometimes its necessary when you in
an anchorage with lots of wind and lots of boats moored near to each other.
We lost 2 of our stripy deck cushions in the wind this afternoon (only
another 3 to lose!) They were pretty awful and we planned to replace them in
This is where cyclone Pam hit earlier this year. It is quite sobering to
come here. They have so little already and what little they had was
destroyed in the cyclone. However it is amazing the progress they have made
in just a few months and how happy, welcoming and friendly everyone is here.
Tomorrow they are holding a feast for us. We have bought many practical
items for the village (tarpaulins, tents, tools etc) and in addition each
boat is going to present the village with a gift. All the boats have bought
an enormous cooking pot which we can fill with items from us to the village.
We are going to fill our pot with children’s clothes, exercise books, pens
etc for the children. I have sorted through all the children’s clothes and
taken out anything too small or if we have too many. Most of B and C’s
clothes are brand new – jeans, pyjamas, leggings, vest, jumpers which they
haven’t needed to wear and are now outgrown.
You can visit the world’s most accessible volcano here, so hopefully we will
be taken there tomorrow afternoon, all being well with the weather which is
not very pleasant at the moment. We are feeling the very tail end effects of
the cyclone which has been affecting Samoa. Today we have been helping with
the rebuilding project. Some people were helping with cabling and setting up
lighting at the yacht club and other buildings so that they have electricity
again. Those of us not being much help with electrics helped with the other
project, clearing land for a new project which is to be built here in
September by the University of South Australia – a club type building where
visiting yachts will be able to visit, eat, drink, meet etc. This type of
project means that the villagers can earn money by offering food, drink and
accommodation to visitors.
A couple of villagers have restaurants and one lady, Sarah has a
restaurant/coffee shop. I don’t think she can offer much in the way of meals
at the moment but she did have coffee on offer. We visited there yesterday
and ordered coffee. She presented us with a gleaming cafetiére of coffee and
the cleanest china cups. She even had Nice biscuits. It was very tasty and
the equivalent of £2 a cup. We returned today after the land clearing
project. This time we brought others and so 8 of us had coffee. Then Sarah
gave Caspar and I a present – a basket made of leaves full of fresh
vegetables. It was a present to us for supporting her business, by bringing
in business and helping her to earn some money – it was very touching.
The children have been having a great time here – all playing with the local
children – as usual language being no barrier. They are all well. We are
taking our malaria tablets – its a low risk area but we didn’t want to take
any chances. I thought Willow might be a problem with taking tablets – she
never ceases to amaze me – she knocked her tablet back quicker and with less
fuss than both the others did. I had a sweet ready as bribery but she was no
problem at all. Bluebell really enjoyed the great internet in Fiji and being
able to FaceTime her school friends. They enjoyed land life but I think
after a week in kids club and staying in a hotel they were ready to return
to the boat and continue on our travels.
Columbus went fishing this morning with Caspar and a couple of people from
Makena – another boat in the rally. They caught a sizeable King Mackerel – I
am sure you will see the photos in the blog when we get proper internet
access or in any event in Australia.
I have thought of a little project the boats can pool efforts on to make
some more money – the Rally Galley cook book – each boat contributes 3
recipes (starter, main and pudding). We will add photos of the crew from
each boat and Columbus is going to illustrate with his fab fish pictures.
Then each boat will buy a copy (an online version) for £10 a copy, maybe
they will sell copies to people on their blog list. It can be a souvenir for
the boats and will add money to the fund for Vanuatu. The proceeds with go
to Vanuatu – probably the school to help with the needs of the children. It
costs £500 per year to educate a child here – I imagine that many families
here would struggle to manage that for even one child and many of the
families have many more than one child.
ok I’d better be going now to check up on deck and ensure we haven’t moved.