20:14.27S169:46.713E At anchor Anelghowhat bay
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Tue 21 Apr 2015 07:27
Welcome to Vanuatu! Another curtesy flag raised on port spreader together with the Q flag,
the yellow flag indicating that we are not cleared in.
When we came in to Anelghowhat bay there was Lil Xplorer, a huge catamaran waiting for us.
After dropping the anchor they invited us to eat some pancakes on their boat. What a treat!
We were informed that the chief of immigration has travelled away from Vanuatu and the second officer in charge will not
let us clear in unless he can fly here and clear us in. So we learned that by some reason he and the minister of health do not get along well.
As it is the ministry of health that has issued us an emergency clearance to start working we have ended up being stuck in the middle of the fight.
We were told that the 2nd imigration officer was going to land 1pm here today in a special chartered plane and that he was not happy to say the least.
Well no plane made it here (you should see the landing strip, it is on small narrow sand island and it is full of palmtrees that have taken some beating from the hurricane), Once you have landed you have to take a small long boat to get to the "big" island.
So now we were told to stay here till Saturday and wait for the police man who controls this island (he is on Tanna, another island).
By 4pm we had not acomplished anything and asked if we could see the chief in the village. We had orders from imigration that we could not put one foot a shore until cleared, then the Police man had called in and told the guys in the village that we could come ashore but not do anything.
Anyway, Courage from LilXplorer and myself went ashore with the "police boat", there we met Ben, a redhaired dark guy witha beard. He posessed a satellite phone and obvioulsy he was not paying the bill.I showed him our rotation list and told him that we had all approved by the ministry of health, so could they help us to get going?. Once he realised that we will be out of here by saturday even if nothing has happened he started to call the police man and he was quite urgent about getting matter resolved.When the phone call was over he looked at us and said that it was not a problem with him, only customs had to approve the imported goods. So I showed him the paper work with a list of approved goods, he made big eyes and said "yes we have no medicines no health care material" so he got on the phone again even more concerned and told the police officer that we had everything approved by the customs.
After some more arguments he shut the phone and explained that the officer was good with that, but now he was worried to let us go ashore without him being here, so he needs approval from Port Vila to let us start our job.
That will happen tomorrow morning (we hope).
Well as we were ashore we took a brief opportunity to check the situation, this village is not badly hit, they have food even though their gardens are partly destroyed. We were actually sitting in a building that was no more, there was only a concrete platform, no walls or ceiling.
But as far as we could see they have been very good at clearing all the destroyed material.The part of the village we saw was clean and well organised. They have plentyful of fresh water coming down from the hill sides. The nature, is pristine and clean. It makes a huge difference when a disaster strikes where there are no plastic bags and other "unnatural" materials.
People are not like in Fiji, smiling and shouting Bula!, those we met were shy, low volume but very friendly.
They told us other vlllages on the same island have been very badly hit. Can only be reached by boat as the road is totally gone.
So we have to work our way into less established bays and unload food and medicines after we are done here.
Whatever happens, we have to be patient and anyway, tonight we will get a full night sleep without watches.