Torrential rains

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Tue 5 May 2015 19:26
To say that nothing stops a SeaMercy expedition is maybe not really true.
Torrential rains and drivers that refuse to get stuck in deep mud can actually stop us.
All day yesterday was a never ending cascade of water that must come from a gigantic fire hose in the sky.
We ducked inside and had school with the kids, worked on pictures, Erika made cinamon rolls etc.
But, but
Courage and Shannon on LilExplorer went exploring in the rain, and they walked down to a small settlement called Ouv.
There they found a couple of families living in caves and some temporary covers of palm leafs.
Soon they called on the radio and asked for a dinghy to bring nails and hammer for the families. As Jonathan was going there I jumped in.
It was a good group of people with all smiles but they also looked beaten, and to be honest our thoughts on board went often to all of those that try to seek shelter in these winds and rains.
They showed us their small territory, all palm trees were beaten to death, all avocado trees destroyed, the places were their houses have been had just shadows left and the only modern building made of concrete was a pile of junk. They showed us what Samarithan Purse had made for them, a temporary shelter made with some wood and a metal sheet roof, we stood under it and looked at the disaster.
Trees that had fallen down on their property had been burned and cut away, so now in the rain all the ashes and left overs covered the ground in mud and black. Some pigs were seeking for roots and food. They told us that they seeked shelter in the concrete house but as it fell apart they had to run with kids and seek protection in caves. Debris and trees were flying all over the place.
Now they lived in the caves, there we could see how they tried to protect themselves from flies and mosquitos (yes they have malaria here) by hanging nets over their sleeping areas.
Their clothes were falling apart as they had only what they had on, everything is blown away and the sea took the rest.
So last night we went trough our clothes to give them today. Ther children need clothes and the adults surely need protection.
As we gave them nails and hammers from SeaMercy and donated things from our own private wealth they came with a big Yam as a gift for us. First we said no but it was important for them to give it to us, they assured us they had enough anyway.
When I looked at a picture I took while we were there I could study their look when they received things from Courage and Shannon, it is not a look of happiness, it is not a look of thankfullness, it is more a shame, a shame that they need to receive things from us, and yet they say thank you, they really want to be equal and I can understand the feeling.
As I wrote in the advice to cruisers that want to help, we are not here to be Santa Claus, it is hard to understand that we should be here on equal basis, that if something happened to us, others would try to help us as well. For no other reason that; that's the way humans are and should be, that is what makes us different from those that have claws and sharp teeths, and unfortunally that has made us so successful that we are now endangering ourselves.
The rain keeps coming down, pouring down, without an end to it....
As I write this, it is 5.30 in the morning, the boat is rocking too much for being comfortable at anchor, but we have no choice, we have to stay on this side of Tanna and seek protection, and we can only say to ourselves that we are better off here than at sea. On the other side there are 4 meter waves and strong winds. The weather is getting worse and the best way to describe it is by putting Bobs (the forecaster)  mail to us from yesterday.
Despite the bad weather, today we will make a second attempt to reach Lavis by boat.
We will bring tarps and set up a temporary aid post.
Bobs mail:
Hi there folks

Stay put while an intense trough makes it way southwards over you.
  Low should form , but rather than to NE of you , may form south of you
over New Caledonia by late Friday and then move off to SE .

SO should be OK from you t get to Erromango once that  trough has got to
south of you, on Friday afternoon, and in the clearer quieter conditions on
it NW side.
AND next front , from southern ocean, is expected to reach Erromango around
Thu 14 May followed by strong SE winds.