16 July 2013 | Ranvetlam bay
We have moved literally about 1/2 mile since my last post! We have had some really strong winds in the past few days and where we were seemed to have its own private microsystem of particularly vicious gusts funnelling through a gap in the hills! So we and 4 other yachts are now sheltering in the next bay along.. Winds still gusty and the forecast is for it to be very windy, wet and stormy for the next few days. (Smile on all of you in England, basking in beautiful sunshine!) The Vanuatu Met service this morning described the sea state in this area as 'phenomenally rough' Even allowing for the idiosyncrasies of south pacific English that doesn't sound nice! ... neither we nor any of the other yachts are going anywhere!
Luckily we were planning to stay here anyway for the festival which is happening on Thursday and Friday, and we are quite enjoying today just hunkering down with our books and iPads! There is a plan with the other boats for a BBQ on the beach tonight, but in the current drizzle that might not be much fun.
We have had an interesting few days. There is a track going along the coast and we have walked several miles in each direction, through delightfully picturesque villages and gardens. Small houses, often on stilts made of woven palm leaves and bamboo and sometimes painted in beautiful geometric designs. They have separate outside kitchens with open wood fires, so there is a lovely smell of wood smoke hanging in the air. Paths are beautifully swept, edged with beds of flowers or small hedges. Lots of chickens and dogs and pigs and small children, and occasionally a tethered horse or a cow. Everyone we pass greets us warmly and asks where we are going. We have learnt to be non committal. People are so determined to be hospitable and helpful that they are likely to offer to escort you, and will go hugely out of their way to do so. The other day in Port Vila we asked a young woman for directions to a hardware store and in spite of our protests she spent her entire lunch hour trailing round with us looking for it!
Yesterday we spent in the village by where we are anchored. I went to visit the primary school to give them some exercise books and crayons, and dauntingly found myself in front of class 1 being asked by their teacher to tell them about England and what work I did. Alexander Technique is not the easiest thing to explain at the best of times, but somehow it seemed to be ok and it was very sweet to see twenty or so 5-7 yr olds enthusiastically feeling for their sitting bones and mimicking how hunched over their grandmothers had become! Simon in the meantime went to help a man whose solar panel didn't seem to be charging his battery. Word spreads fast and by lunchtime he was Mr Popular, and he and his multimeter had a series of assignations with all sorts of battery and charging systems which weren't working properly. (Lucky he had all that experience of charging systems in Whangerai before we left!) There is no electricity in the village. A few people have generators, but solar panels are the latest thing and people seem to have expectations way exceeding what they can deliver. One guy asked Simon what was wrong with his because it wasn't working at night!
It really is raining quite hard now but apparently the BBQ is happening nonetheless. Very British.. (Yet we are the only Brits!) I'd better go and dig out our oilies!