Out to the islands

We cast off mid–morning for our month-long islands circuit. A warm, windless sea. Departure delayed by my first patient – a local bloke with a chronic problem – huge, translucent cystic lesions on his head and neck. I’d never seen anything like it and wondered about microfilarial disease. We have arranged for him to fly to Moresby for infectious disease workup.

11 knots OTG through China Strait, past Samurai Island (the old provincial capital) and on to Doini Island. We have anchored for a swim and an overnight stay before heading off at change of tide to inspect the manta sanctuary en route IloIlo Bay, our first clinic stop. Dense jungle to fringing sand beaches. Noisy land birds but no sign of any seabirds, which is a disappointment. Crystal clear water.

Now, at sunset, we sip vodka and pineapple juice in celebration of Sophie’s recent award from the anthropological society.

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