It's windy.

Fri 12 Sep 2014 04:29
8th September 2014

The weather began to close in earlier than forecast so we set off for an anchorage farther south on Malekula with the hopes of getting as far as the Maskelyne Islands which are Lonely Planet 'stunning'.
First Harry went up the mast to place the GoPro up the rigging to film us….cool. The villagers paddled out goggle eyed to see him hanging up there, then he nearly gave me a fit by removing his harness and jumping off the spreaders….landed legs first into the sea so fertility intact.

It got windy which was fun at first, beating against a south easterly, nice to let Hebe stretch her legs after all this swanning about in tranquil bays. Our trusty crew noticed that her stays were getting baggy when the jenny was flying so we had to slow down and after 6 hours tacking down the coast at an average of 4 miles per hour (towards our destination-Ed) the whole 'lets go sailing' novelty wore off.

This is fun…
Hang onto your hat mate……

Still we managed to make some progress, if slowly, then just as we were tacking around the final reef at 5pm, anxiously hoping to anchor before dark……..the fishing line went 
Chaos reigned as Harry tried to reel in heavens knows what with Imo on the GoPro passing camera, fishing rod, vodka and gaff between us as Andrew tried to avoid the reef.

this was the last one which got away, Tim trying to hang onto it,  a beautiful Dorade. 

After some frantic moments SUCCESS at last…..

Imo having a well deserved shot with Harry after subduing this huge wahoo with vodka.  Yoo hoo meals galore.

Very shortly afterwards we were in the tranquility of an anchorage just at dusk, but Oh dear who's that approaching, paddling his outrigger canoe?  Rex and his two tiny children looking utterly divine up in the narrow prow.  What to do with the fish? Moral dilemmas abound. We were out of food but it's probably his fish as it's his ocean, but we had caught it offshore.  We compromised and filleted a side off for ourselves and gave him the rest. Boy was he pleased and told us later his entire family had feasted and he had given the rest to another village over the hill.
Next day he returned with bags of lemons and coconuts. How fortunate are we?

Sunday dawned the next day windy and wet this time, we weren't going anywhere soon. We watched the village about their business with our binoculars. There's plenty of water and an overflow hose propped on a forked stick on the beach was giving all the men and boys happy showers. The women were farther along doing the washing in a spring pool by the shore.  Then they all donned their Sunday best, flowery cotton short sleeved dresses, and disappeared to church for a couple of hours. We should have gone but it seemed inappropriate to land when they were all getting washed and dressed and we hadn't met the chief.

After lunch Andrew and I set off between showers with gifts of our two remaining footballs and pump towards the beach where a throng of at least 30 children gathered. As we approached, paddling slowly to avoid reef, their cries of "They're coming! They're coming!" grew frantic and joyous.  They fell on us as we landed and all hauled the dinghy up, peering excitedly into the bulging rucksack. You can't imagine the shrieks when not only one but two footballs were produced.  All smiles. The deputy chief escorted us around the village in his smart Springbock rugby shirt and we were thronged by the children - quite an experience.  He took pictures of us all with his  phone and the children bubbled with delight at the picture.  The girls surrounded me, its the same the world over, all they wanted was nail polish. A previous sailor had obviously palmed off her fashion faux pas yellow polish which they all wore but pink was sooo much better.  Imo has some colours they'll adore, she'll be busy doing nails.
We met the chief and he agreed they would perform a traditional (Kastom) Dance for us the next day. Lets hope it stops raining. 

It's a pleasure to visit these beautifully kept villages but nice to return to Hebe, clean sheets, a bottle of wine and of course wahoo steaks.