We travelled about 60 miles north west to the island group of Mussau. As it was going to take us about 12-14 hours its always best to travel overnight so you arrive in the morning, therefore giving you plenty of time to find an ancorage. Nothing worse than arriving somewhere with fading light trying to find a spot to anchor !! We stopped outside the island called small Mussau, owned by a lady called Margaret and her family it was a perfect spot.
Clear turquoise water –
Good protection from the elements –
After introducing ourselves to Margaret and her family we told her what we had been doing, giving people eye tests and handing out glasses. We went back in the next day and saw her and her family and a few other locals. They said how there was many more people on the neighbouring island of Eloaue who would also appreciate having their eyes tested so we agreed to see them the next day.
We moved the boat a mile or so and anchored just outside of the reef surrounding their island. The word had got around and there was already an orderly queue waiting for us –
Jimmy set to work –
Not a bad view from their beach –
We came back to small Mussau that night and had just 4 or so people to see the next day as it was the sabbath day on the saturday. We were told that many more people wanted to come from some of the other islands and were asked to stay a bit longer. We really needed to move on as we were running out of food but decided to stay another day.
The next day the first boat appeared at about 7 o’clock, we knew it was going to be a long day !! We got ashore and lots of people were already waiting for us, 40 or more I guess.
By the time we saw everybody with a few more turning up as the day went on it was nearly dark when we got back to the boat.
Boat load of happy people on their way home –
We saw a lot of older people that day, most of which had cataract problems, unfortunately the only thing to do is tell them to go to the hospital to get them removed but you kind of knew that they were never going to go there. They probably couldn’t afford the travel, the eye clinic/hospital may not have been able/funded to do it, the waiting list would just be too long.
As we were anchored we saw this traditional canoe with a make shift sail going back and forth across the bay.
Old versus new –
We enjoyed our time up at the Mussau islands, very friendly people who don’t get to see many visitors.