Bongil Bay 18:54.11S169:03.38E
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Fri 8 May 2015 19:08
We arrived at this settlement by lunch friday. As soon as the anchors where down Jonathan and I went ashore with kava and met the chief.
Everybody was very curious about why we had come. All men gathered and they all spoke very good english. We learned that Bongil Bay is just a small settlement where you can reach other villages up in the mountains, the bigger one being "Happy land" where they have an aid post with a local health care worker. They have all been badly hit and Bongil for instance got totally wiped out except one building, their concrete church where they did hide.
Their gardens where they grow food are all destroyed. The chief who was very easy to communicate with has organised so they all had shelters again with scrap material that was left over from the hurricane. Their beach, that consists of big rocks and not sand has been in the direction that debris during the storm came up here. This means that they have a collection of trees that looks crazy. they are huge, bare scraped from the sea and torn to massive pieces of junk. They also have a river, well it is now a 5-7 knots river after the rains with following flooding.
We decided that they needed one day to get the word to the villages that we had medical aid and we also decided to give out the rest of the food we have on board. They are a total of 80 people here and what we have is better than nothing, a couple of hundred kilos of rice, a couple of hundred kilos of lentils etc. They also need nails, hammers and machetas. The chief asked if we could organise seeds, that is something we wanted to bring but it is illigal to import seeds without following a certain routin. That is understandable, you can start a mess by introducing a new plant that does not belong here.So I guess the best anybody can do is to buy seeds in Port Vila and then bring out to the islands.
They need island cabbage, spinach, tomatoes etc...
Their yam and kasava is rotten after the storm.
While we were here LilExplorer went to South River Bay, another settlement further east on the south coast. They experienced about the same situation but were able to run a clinic immidietaly. We spoke on short wave by 5pm and they had given out all their food.
They will show up here by ten to help with the clinic that will be held in the church.
ChezNouis went to Dillons Bay with 3 passengers and Jonathan was going to "knock some doors". It seems the villages have been promised aid help from Care but it has not happened after one initial delivery of food after the disaster.As they are isolated by trees that have fallen all over the roads and paths we can help to bring more food here.
According to the people here we are the first yachts to visit this bay ever. It is an easy one to get into but I guess fr most of the time it is hellish to anchor here. It faces SSW but the swell from the tradewinds can make its way into it, and it is very rolly. The bottom seems to be mostly stones so the anchors have a problem to grip, even Rocnas, which both ChezNouis and we have.