Hard on the wind to lay Port Vila
Position 17:44.28 S 168:18.58 E
Date 1940 Thursday 13 August 2015
Distance run From Akhamb 89.4nm over the ground, 86.5nm through the water
The previous afternoon Headmaster Ivan had tentatively asked us if we could give him a lift to Port Vila as he had to attend a training conference and he would otherwise have to fly from Lamap (see earlier remarks about the airport transfer!). Bearing in mind our experience with “Island Time”, it being somewhat elastic, I was concerned that we would not get away at 30 as planned. My fears were completely unfounded as at 0505 my phone rang. It was Ivan on the beach asking if he could come out. Deck lights were put on and out of the darkness came a canoe paddled by Ivan’s wife and the chairman of the school committee to deliver Ivan plus bags and mats. We got away at 0535 just as the first lightening of the sky appeared.
Elizabeth inflicted Ivan with porridge which he tackled manfully between observations about the oddness of white man’s food. We share similar misgivings about island food. Ivan was great company and it was a great pleasure to be able to share a day with him and to able to quiz him on many aspects of island life that we had found confusing. He has good command of English but feels that he suffers from a lack of the ability to practice with native English speakers. The lack of English or American television is a great handicap for developing a practical knowledge of the language.
The wind was as kind as might be expected and we motor sailed hard on the wind with the sea moderating as we got further away from the compression zone that surrounds south east Malakula. It was however a very long day and we eventually anchored off the market hall in Port Vila at 1940, delivering a relieved Ivan into the hands of his brother who was waiting ashore.
Headmaster Ivan having survived the Mate’s porridge and the Skipper’s sailing