Tuesday, 7th July, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Tue 7 Jul 2015 07:56
Noon Position: 19.32S 169.30E (Port Resolution in the island of Tanna, part of the Vanuatu group of islands).

Distance run from last noon position: 90 measured miles

The strong winds from yesterday that pushed Luna Quest too fast to arrive in today’s daylight hours of Port Resolution fell away fairly rapidly to a light breeze by 0300 hours this morning, insufficient puff to fill the sails from aft in the confused sea that the wind had produced with one swell from the south and another from the north. Having made strenuous efforts to ensure we would not arrive in the dark, now meant we had to call upon engine power to get us to our destination in the morning! We approached the island in fine rain, blocking it from our sight from time to time. Rally Control had given us some co-ordinates, which helped us navigate into the small bay, where a dozen or so fishermen were busy in their dugouts catching their daily supply. They were not bothered by the rain and ignored the latest yacht arrivals from the ARC fleet. They carried on fishing as if the 16 yacht arrivals were a common place occurrence. What we had earlier taken for bonfire smoke, turned out to be steam from hot vents not far from a live volcano!

We had expected to witness a devastated island as a result of hurricane Pam that struck the Vanuatu group of islands earlier this year, but there was no immediate evidence of destroyed vegetation or indeed of the few buildings we could see ashore. Buildings, however, is a euphemism for the structures we saw later in the village of Port Resolution. The homes were built of sticks and palm leaf cladding with palm fronds for the roof, each one measuring not much more than 3mtrs by 5mtrs with a dirt floor or a woven palm frond matt. While Julia was busy photographing, I had the good fortune of talking to a young indigenous couple, who proudly showed off their newly built home with a smaller structure opposite for their kitchen. It turned out that he was 37, his wife 35 and that they had recently had their first grand child! They themselves had 5 children with their eldest daughter at 17 now being a full-time mum. They were both extremely happy souls and did not seem to lack in any necessaries. Of course, there is no electricity while water is collected from two ground water wells, which must be boiled before drinking. There are no shops, but food is in abundance from fish, cassava, taro and other readily available foods from the woods around them. Locals estimate that the village has maybe 100 homes.

Tomorrow, when it is hoped the rain may have ceased, we are scheduled to visit the volcano.