We just made the 60 mile trip to Lamen Bay, on Epi before the tropical darkness descended on the anchorage - the transition between day and total darkness takes less than 20 minutes.
Our guidebook mentions a large friendly male dugong (sea cow), who has made Lamen Bay his home, so at first light the next morning (5.45am), we were both in the water looking for aquatic Friesians. What the guide failed to mention were the large number of turtles who also seem to enjoy munching the sea-grass covering the bottom of the bay. We've thankfully swapped monster baracuda of Ouvea for a couple of turtles who have made a temporary home under the boat.
Enquiries ashore turned-up that the male dugong has decamped to Lamen Island a mile to the west to be with some female dugongs. Fortunately I'd spent some of the morning fixing the outboard, so with the full-range of throttle available to us once again, we set off to the island. After an hour searching for what I imagined to be large doggy-paddling creature, Charlotta was in the water freeing the dinghy anchor when she spotted a female dugong swimming with her calf. The visibility wasn't that great so we kept losing her, but for a few minutes she circled us - no doggy-paddling in sight just the usual aquatic fins, with a cow like face. As the weather was deteriorating, we headed back across the water determined to have another look tomorrow.
I've spent the last week dropping less than subtle hints about the type of birthday cuisine I'm looking forward to on the 3rd June. I've tried to instigate the idea of practice sessions and raise my own game in the galley so that we reach a peak of culinary excellence to coincide with my birthday. To this end, when we arrived in Lamen Bay, I made poisson cru from a small tuna we caught on the way here and "lemon chiffon pudding cake" for dessert. Delicious. The result is that tomorrow we're off to Isabelle's garden to pick some veggies and fruit and then in the afternoon create lap lap in her house - not sure what to expect, but I'm sure it will be memorable. Isabel was one of the many friendly villagers we met whilst exploring ashore.
Lamen Bay, Epi: S16°35.73' E128°09.81