Around Vanuatu

15/6/14

Espiritu Santo

Espiritu Santo, known simply as Santo is an agricultural island. Copra, Coffee, Cattle and Coco dominate the economy. Logging has been a controversial issue over the years and now has a strict code of control to preserve key cultural and ecological areas. Santo was a key staging area for over half a million American forces during World War II. There is still evidence of this in the wide roads, scattered military base ruins and underwater wrecks. One of the most famous sights is the “president Coolidge”, one of the world’s largest and most accessible wrecks. She was a 200 metre luxury liner converted to a troop carrier. The ship was wrecked when it hit an allied mine, (their own sides mine, the Captain was not informed of the mines laid in the Harbour for enemy vessels) the ship ran aground and slipped backwards into the sea. It now rests upright in 20 to 67 metres of crystal clear water. The ships hold still contains ships, artillery and other machinery. A short distance away is “Million Dollar Point”. This is where the American forces dumped a Million dollars’ worth of trucks, bulldozers and other equipment. The USA offered the Vanuatu Government the equipment at a very low price when they were leaving. The Vanuatu Government declined the offer believing that they would leave the equipment anyway, however the Americans dumped all the equipment in the sea. It is now a famous dive and snorkel site, Divers come from all over the world to dive this site.

14/6/14

Waterfall Bay to Aore Island

Off Espiritu Santo

Departed Waterfall Bay at 5:00am for Luganville, on the island of Espiritu Santo. It was still dark and Per radioed to say look at the moon rainbow, a very rare occurrence. Sure enough there was a big white Arc over the bay. Tried to photograph it but didn’t turn out. Have never seen that before. Sea is messy and uncomfortable and we have only one stabiliser fin working. Robbie spent some time on the Satellite phone to the USA trying to solve the problem. We now need a new Fin position sensor. We are already waiting for other stabiliser parts which we should be able to pick up in Luganville on Monday. I really hope this doesn’t delay our departure for Cairns – I am getting so excited about coming back to Australia. We have now been cruising for 8 months!

13/6/14

Homo Bay to Wali Bay to Waterfall Bay

All on Pentecost

Island

We departed Homo Bay at 8:00am and cruised the 2 miles around the corner to Wali Bay ready for our land diving experience at 9.30am. We met Noel & Luc the local guides at 9:30am and they had refreshments ready for us, Pamplemoose the local citrus fruit, fresh bread with Peanut Butter and Juice, it was lovely. They had Hibiscus Flowers strung on Coconut leaf thread as necklaces for us all and, some of the local lads playing string instruments, including one instrument that was a ply box, a piece of string and a tree branch. This was amazing and sounded like a Cello! We then proceeded up the hill to watch the land diving. The tower is about 20 metres high with about 8 platforms at various heights that they jump from. There is a landing area of soft dirt at the base of the tower. We watched 9 jumpers the first was very young, maybe 8 years old. The others were all 16-20. Only single men can jump.

It was actually a woman who initiated the land diving. This woman was hiding from

Her husband, who beat her, in a tree on a cliff top and refused to come down. So the husband, Tamale, climbed the tree after her to bring her down, as he reached the top the woman jumped. In despair Tamale leapt after her, not knowing that she had tied liana vines around her ankles, so that she survived while he hit the ground and perished. Today the men of south Pentecost construct and jump from these towers,

From a variety of heights in a ritual to ensure a good yam harvest and entry into manhood.

It was quite scary and even the men felt a bit sick watching it. One of the young men we think broke his leg, he could not walk afterwards. There was one of the village men who broke his arm last year that we saw, and his arm did not look good. We asked about medical care if the jumpers got hurt and were told there is an airport on the island to fly them to care.

After the diving was finished we ticked around to Waterfall Bay. You can see the waterfall from the anchorage, Per & Elizabeth decided not to go and see it, they would prepare our lunch of fresh water shrimp and homemade bread so Peter, Heidi, Robbie and I went ashore to the waterfall. It was lightly raining so we were wet anyway. It was stunning, Robbie the mountain goat actually slipped on the path going in so he jumped into the pool at the bottom and then slid down the rocks to the next pool. I went for a wade, it was lovely and fresh and cool. We went back to the boat and had the shrimps and hot bread on Southern Star with the air conditioning going as it was so hot and humid. Another very enjoyable evening with Oda and Stormvogel.

12/6/14

Homo Bay

Had a restless night it was so hot and humid. It started raining in the night and Robbie had to get up and close all the hatches, and of course the rain had come in and wet the forward bedding. Looks like a good day for catch up jobs inside the boat as it’s raining consistently. Rain eased off a bit so we went for a walk through the village. We met a teacher walking through and she took us to the primary school where we gave the kids some of the bouncy balls and hair ties for the girls. We organised to drop them back a box of 100 exercise books. We had a tour through the classrooms which were lovely but very basic. (our Aussie kids don’t know how lucky they are) As we were walking through the village the boys got asked to go and help the locals set up their satellite TV dish, ready for the world cup the next morning. Robbie, Per & Peter spent a few hours trying to sort out the problem. The girls sat on the beach and a local woman, Roslyn came and sat with us. She was very friendly and told us lots of local information. Her dog had just had 6 puppies they were very cute, BUT, they drown the females and only keep the males. L There are chooks roaming everywhere through the village, and one hen and her chicks were even scouring the beach for food. There are also cows and calves freely roaming the village.

Roslyn’s two children came and joined us after school, the little one sat on Roslyn’s lap where she proceeded to pick the head lice out of his head and eat them!

11/6/14

Ranon to

Homo Bay

Pentecost Island

Departed Ranon just after 8am for Pentecost Island, very calm only 3 knots of wind. I am official skipper for the day from anchor up to anchor down. Robbie has 3 rods out trying for a fish. Very beautiful crossing only a couple of knots of wind. (Why wasn’t it like this for Paul & Tracey!) I anchored up between two French Yachts in Homo Bay with no problem. Water is very clear and we saw a Dugong (sea cow). We put the duck in and went for a fish, Robbie went for a snorkel. Very few fish. We saw a local fishing in a dugout canoe out wide so we went and spoke to him. He had only caught one small fish, and he offered it to us. Can’t believe how lovely these people are, of course we said no thank you. To see him out so wide, in 200+ metres of water with a hand line fishing for hours just makes us so humble.

10/6/14

Ranon

Ambrym Island

Went for a long walk through the village and past the two schools. Came back to the boat for a cold drink before being picked up at 2:00pm to go to see the Rom dancing. It was a single cab Toyota Ute so 2 of us in the front and 4 in the back. Very steep mud track up to the custom village it was a hairy ride! We got given a fresh coconut each to drink and then a guided tour of the village, then the Rom dancing began. Only men are allowed to dance and the costumes are made out of banana leaves, there were 7 dancers in full costume with the masks on, and there were another 7 in their penis sheaths and headwear. It was quite intense and lasted about 30 minutes. (See video). At the end we had photos and then were shown local carvings of which we all brought one. Per wanted a Penis sheath and so paid $4000 Vatu (about $40 Australian) for one of the dancers sheaths, it came with a waist band, the penis sheath and some woven ties. Once back at the boats he gave a dance on the deck in his gear, thank goodness we were on our boat so could appreciate his efforts from a distance! He is such a comedian, and never ceases to make us laugh.

9/6/14

Lamen Bay to

Ranon, Ambrym Island

Had planned to depart at 8am for Ranon but we got up early and it was so lovely we left. Using the wing engine today. I was skipper for the day, it was a good crossing, Per caught a Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish) which he gave to the village when we arrived. Robbie caught a Wahoo but it got off as he was about to land it. It was such a beautiful looking fish with lovely silver stripes. I was kind of pleased it lived another day.

8/6/14

Lamen Bay

Epi Island

Had a disturbed night, the wind came up and it was gusty. I got up in the middle of the night and turned on the anchor alarm as I had turned it off earlier in the day and I couldn’t sleep knowing it wasn’t turned on. Woke up to hear Per calling on the radio” French Yacht you are drifting”, we got up and spoke to Per. He had been watching the boat drift for some time but couldn’t get them on the radio. So he upped anchor and went after them. They were virtually out of sight when we got up. They were so lucky, the wind is coming from the East and blew them straight backwards, they could have so easily ended up on the reef, or on the island. Per motored out to them and blasted his horn about 6 times to wake them, they were very disorientated when they woke and had no idea where they were. Robbie has spent the morning fixing the forward Head, say no more – not a pleasant job. Wind has died down a bit, time to go searching for Dugong. Robbie had a snorkel and I lazed in the sun in the duck. He saw lovely big turtles and swam down and patted one that was feeding on the sea grass. Alas, no Dugongs to be seen. We had sundowner drinks on the ducks, drifting at the entrance to the bay, it was very pleasant and a beautiful sunset.

7/6/14

Lamen Bay

Epi Island

Woke up early and went for a Kayak over to the reef, saw a few turtles and fish but no Dugong. A big rusty steel ship came into the Bay and landed on the beach. I think all the locals were there to meet it and there was lots of “stuff” on the beach.

A bit later we all (us, Stormvogel & Oda) took the duck into the beach and were met by a local “Eddis” who informed us he was a guide and would take us for a tour of the village and to the “million dollar view” so we agreed and off we traipsed. He took us and showed us the school, his house, and then we began the climb up the hill through the bush. We met his cow, his dog, his bull, his daughters (think he was looking for a husband for them, Robbie joked he might take a 2nd wife!) and his parents who were in their 80’s. He showed us some of the native bushes used for medicine, one was a tree that you peel the bark and mash up for “yellow Pee” and “sore belly”. Eddis stopped and picked us some Avocados off his tree, they are huge about the 4 times the size of what we are used to, and they go red when they are ripe. The climb up the hill wasn’t too bad and he had put handrails up in the steep bits. The view was well worth it and although we hadn’t taken our camera the others had and the photos are great.

The village is a bit civilised – they have some power, a few of the locally (Port Vila) made fibreglass boats with outboards and they even have a restaurant! Some of the houses are block, a lot of Epi Islanders go to NZ fruit picking, and they use their earnings to build a better house and put in a water tank. We stopped in at the restaurant for a beer after our descent from the hill, it was warm, but wet. We thought about going there that night for a meal, but they have Malaria on this island so we decided to dine on “Southern Star” instead, so we had “Oda” & “Stormvogel” over for a Bar B Q, we had steak, sausages and coleslaw and I did a potato bake and they all loved it. I feel sorry for the yachts they are so limited with their refrigeration (if they have it) and we seem so spoilt with everything we have on board. We had ice-cream in waffle cones for desert and they were thrilled. No such luxuries as ice cream on most yachts.

We took the duck over to Lamen Island, hoping to see a Dugong, we had a lovely walk on the beach and met a couple just landing their dugout canoe. The islanders all go over to the mainland every day to tend their gardens. They all have a plot of land and grow their fruit and Veges. There is no room on the island so they make the trip to the main island every day. Some of them have the fibreglass boats but those that don’t have to canoe across. We helped lift the canoe up the beach, they offered us the two Pamplemousse they had collected. We all said no thank you. So generous of them to offer what little they had. We had a walk through their village and met Adora whose sister is married to an Australian and lives in Alice Springs. She showed us two carvings of Dugongs made by a village woman. Per & Elizabeth brought one for $2000 Vatu, it was lovely. We headed back to the boat as it was getting late (have to be home before dusk – mosquito time don’t want Malaria) We try and anchor at least 200m off shore to miss the mosquito’s.

We had two visits from locals in their dugout canoes, one inviting us to church service tomorrow at 10am, and a couple of kids to say hello, so we gave them a bouncy ball and a lollipop each.

We have just found out that we now have to be in Cairns by 1st July for Indonesian Visa’s, this has put a bit of pressure on us all now and we are not very impressed. We are not actually sure if we can even make this deadline or not, if we don’t get a decent weather window we won’t make it. We also want to make sure we see the land diving on the island of Pentecost and that is only on a Saturday, so we are doing that on the 14th.Then we will head to Santo and prepare for our departure to Australia! I can’t wait to see everyone, have to be honest not really looking forward to the crossing but then, Dirona, the USA Nordhavn we met up with in Fiordland and have been corresponding with, had a fantastic crossing from Nelson to Brisbane – flat calm seas – it was a 150 year record calm weather. Fingers crossed we will have one like that too! Don’t go our chances, we have not had good luck so far at all with the weather.

6/6/14

Havannah Harbour to

Epi Island

Departed Esame Bay, Havannah Harbour at 6:00am for Lamen Bay on the island of Epi. Had a relatively calm crossing, not much wind for the Yachts so they motored a lot of the way. Peter had some engine problems and sailed. Luckily the wind picked up and he was getting nearly 7 knots. Anchored up around 4:30pm, there was one other yacht in the Bay, Shiralee from Auckland NZ. Paul & Robyn have been cruising for a couple of years and are heading to Australia. We had a quiet night for a change.

5/6/14

Havannah Harbour

Efate Island

Went cruising in the duck, Per & Elizabeth & Peter & Heidi joined us, in their own ducks. We tried to go up the two creeks in Esame Bay with no luck, Oda & Stormvogel had to get out and walk and row, it were way too shallow. Followed the reef up the Coast until we got to the Havannah Resort. It’s a beautiful tropical style resort, caters for only 16 guests and they were full. There was no one around when we arrived, we all ordered the cocktail of the day, “Darling Harbour” Vodka, Strawberry Liqueur, Midori and Cranberry Juice. It was gorgeous. I am not a fan of cocktails usually but this was good. We headed back to the Bay, stopping for a tour of the 50m Yacht “Blue Gold”. Nixon gave us a guided tour. It was in a sad state, a lot of rust in the top structure, it had a beautiful timber interior but it is badly in need of a refurbish. The rigging Peter thought was in good condition but the sails were still up and because it has been anchored for over 12 months they should have been stored away. There is very little diesel and no water in the tanks, they have to go up the creek and cart water in 20 litre containers. It’s in a sad, sad state. The Yacht is owned by a Dutch man who has not been on the boat for over 12 months. Sundowners on “Stormvogel” Heidi made a lovely Rum Punch and Marble cake. The boys debated the subject of buying “Blue Gold” for some time, the conclusion was, not a viable proposition. (Thank goodness!)

4/6/14

Port Vila to

Havannah Harbour

Departed Port Vila at 10:00am for Havannah Harbour, ran the wing engine for 2 hours. Once we anchored up we had a visit from Nixon, a local living on the huge Yacht “Blue Gold”, we charged his phone for him. He told us about the owner of the Yacht who has run out of money, apparently they haven’t been paid for 3 months. There’s about 5 locals living on board her. We got invited for dinner on Oda, had a lovely chicken curry and the mandatory few drinks.

3/6/14

Port Vila

Efate Island

We walked into town and did the duty free shopping, a bottle of Captain Morgan spiced Rum was $12, we brought one of those and a bottle of Vodka. I then sent Robbie out of the shop and brought his birthday present. Can’t say now what it is. I then shopped at the local markets, what an amazing place. Its open 24 hours a day and there are lots of stalls, mostly ran by local women with local fresh produce. I brought capsicums, tiny tomatoes, cucumber, pineapple, eggs, beans, pawpaw and passionfruit. I took that back to the boat, Robbie was refuelling and it was extremely slow. We took 3000 litres, he ran them dry and they had to get a tanker to refill their tanks so we could fill up. I walked up to the French supermarket which was the best we have seen since in Vanuatu but terrible by Australian or NZ standards. Very expensive and very limited choice. I caught a local taxi/minibus back with the shopping for $150 vatu. We organised for him to come back and take us for one hour to do some jobs around town, for $3000 Vatu ($30.00Australian). Again partook in the happy hour, they serve, free with the drinks, sweet potato chips and they are beautiful, a shaved piece of orange sweet potato, deep fried. Yum.

2/6/14

Tour of

Efate Island

Tour of Efate island in minibus driven by a local named Tony, there were 8 of us. We had a swim at the Blue Lagoon and the boys jumped off the swing rope. It was a beautiful blue colour and very refreshing. We stopped at the World War II air strip and then the Museum. We were expecting a normal museum but it was an experience! A little wooden shack about 3m X 6m full of American war memorabilia there were coke bottles (did you know that originally the coke bottles had the town and date of manufacture imprinted on the bottom), bomb shells, old fire extinguishers, hand grenade, mess plates and utensils, plane propeller and all sorts of remnants from the American occupation. The Museum was started by Ernest, and his Grandson gave us a spiel about the contents. He was hilarious, a real character. Entry was $200 Vatu or $2.00 Australian. In the harbour there is a plane wreck and on shore we saw a partly submerged tank.

In 1942 the Allied forces needed to stop the onslaught of the rapidly advancing Japanese Imperial Forces throughout the Pacific as they headed south to Australia and New Zealand, they needed safe forward anchorages to house and service the massive fleet of naval vessels as well as airbases to launch attacks from, to stem the flow of islands being taken. Thousands of Seabee’s arrived on Efate to construct airstrips, moorings, hospital, and accommodation and service facilities. Havannah Harbour was transformed over night from an isolated back water to a bustling port with ships, machinery and defences sprouting daily not to mention the sheer explosion of military personnel.

We then went and had lunch at the “Wahoo” Bar and Grill, owned by an Australian, a beautiful spot overlooking Havannah Harbour. We decided to come back on the boats for a couple of nights as it was so nice. We then went to the Tanna Coffee factory and had a look at the simple production process – one machine and 3 locals packing. We had a beautiful coffee then carried on to Mele Beach where we saw local women cleaning a bucket full of Garfish and their cute kids swimming and playing. Returned back to the boat and then the obligatory Happy hour at Waterfront Bar & Grill.

01/06/14

Port Vila

Efate Island

Cleaned the boat inside and out, it takes us about 6 hours to do the outside, then went and had a late lunch at Chill, a restaurant overlooking the Harbour about 200 metres from the boat. For $1200 Vatu I had a steak and champagne, and Robbie had a Chicken Curry Pie and a beer. Very good value. Went to the Happy hour at the Waterfront Bar & Grill, this is where all the boaties meet each day at 4pm and socialise, share information and help solve problems etc

31/5/2014

Port Vila

Efate Island

Paul and Tracey’s last day, we had a beautiful Bar B Q lunch on board Southern Star, to farewell Paul and Tracey. We had Per & Elizabeth, Peter & Heidi, Simon & Barbara and some local beef steak, sausages, some lovely salads and a few Crown Lagers and wines. Paul and Tracey got picked up at 1.00pm to fly back to Brisbane. It was sad to see them go, that week went way too fast. We had a quiet afternoon and then went down to the Waterfront Bar & Grill (200 m from where we are docked) for the happy hour. We met Eric and Anne from “Reflections” a Nelson couple who have been cruising in Vanuatu for 16 years and have a wealth of knowledge. They also do a lot of voluntary work around the Country, and are working with the Tourism Dept developing an up to date Cruising guide. They gave us lots of hints and tips on where to go and what to do for the rest of our stay in Vanuatu.

30/5/2014

Port Vila

Efate Island

The boys went sailing on “Stormvogel” Per was joking that it was going to take a lot more than a couple of hours to teach Robbie to sail. He reckoned he was going to send him high up the mast. Girls were having an afternoon in town. Tracey and I dropped Robbie and Paul over to “Stormvogel” who are anchored in the Bay, then went to tie up the duck at the pontoon outside the Waterfront Bar & Grill. Luckily Heidi & Elizabeth were already there and they helped us off and tied the knots for us (spoilt by Robbie – he always does this) We started off with a Corona at the Waterfront Bar & Grill, then wandered down town through a few shops. We had a nice lunch in a French restaurant that had a deal for $1,000 Vatu that included a fresh lime juice, a Beef burrito and a coffee. They had the most beautiful bright green lizards in a bird cage that they were feeding Hibiscus flowers to. At the markets I brought some baggy cotton trousers and a sarong. Elizabeth got a lovely dress.

At 5:00pm 9 of us were picked up by Tony in his mini bus to go and see the fire dancers. It was a 15 minute drive out of town to Mele Beach, a gorgeous bay with a lovely pub right on the beach. We had pizzas for dinner, a few drinks and the show started at 7.00pm It was a group of young locals and they were fantastic. There were 2 girls in the show and they all did a great job. Most of them left school at 12 years old and this is how they make their living. They are hoping to get enough money to take their show to Noumea.

29/5/14

Port Vila

Efate Island

I woke at 9.30am (shock/horror) to an empty boat. No sign of anyone and the plank had fallen in so I couldn’t get off. Finally they turned up they had been waiting for me to wake up and got sick of waiting so went for a walk. We went down to a French café for breakfast, I had a croissant and fruit salad and the others all had omelette, which they had to send back to the chef as none of them were cooked in the middle. We had a quick look through the markets, there was a cruise ship in, (ironically it was the ship Paul & Tracey had just spent 4 days on celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary) when we asked the stall holder what the real price was, not the cruise ship price, the clothing drops from $20 to $15! We then jumped in the duck and had a cruise around the harbour. Lovely clear water, and some beautiful homes on the waterfront, interesting boats, including a submarine thing, our sister ship Southern Star AND Northern Star! (you have to see the photo) and lots of local taxi boats zooming back and forth very fast, ferrying the cruise passengers around. We called in to Oda and indulged in a couple of very nice rum and cokes. Went back to the boat and caught up on some washing and did my first self-hair colour with some help from Tracey! Turned out pretty good too. Peter & Heidi turned up after having consumed cocktails in the waterfront bar & grill, which is about 200 metres from our berth. They wobbled across the plank and stayed for a few beers. We decided that tomorrow the boys would all go for a sail on Stormvogel and the girls would have a “girls” day in town. Woo hoo!!!! Shopping with no game keepers ( going shopping with your husband is like going poaching with the game keeper)

 

28/5/14

Ponamlus Bay

Erromango Island to

Port Vila

Efate Island

Didn’t sleep much knowing we had to get up early, we both woke at 1:00am, and departed just after 3am for the island of Efate, and Port Vila. There had been quite a bit of swell in the night and once we got going there was a 2.5m swell and up to 25k of wind, but not too bad, just a bit lumpy and roly. Wind dropped down a bit by 7am. Didn’t last long, conditions became very uncomfortable with wind up to 27 knots and messy swell and waves. Horrible trip for Tracey and Paul all the way. (sorry Tracey, hope you have forgiven us by now) I am getting much better when it’s rough, I was able to sort photos for the website on the computer and update this log, and earlier in our trip I would not be able to do this. It was a horrible messy sea, and at times a big wave comes through and lifts the back of the boat, turns it and then we surf down the wave. This still scares me. It was a huge relief to arrive safe and sound in Port Vila. Per and Elizabeth came out to meet us in the duck and then were waiting to help us berth and do the stern tie up. This is basically the stern (back) of the boat is backed into the dock and there’s a plank to walk on and off. We had a few drinks. Then we all (Us, the Graces, Per & Elizabeth and Peter & Heidi) went to dinner at a pub where they were playing the State of Origin. Robbie was falling asleep in the chair (hello what’s new, but we had both been awake since 1am) so we walked back to the boat and left Paul & Tracey to watch the game.

27/5/14

Ponamlus Bay

Erromango Island

A beautiful day, had one of Robbie’s big cook ups for breakfast, then went exploring on the island. There is a river on the Eastern side of the bay which doesn’t break out into the bay but seeps out in a couple of places through the stones. Paul found a bone in the river that looked like a leg bone and we shuddered. Robbie came ashore after anchoring the duck and picked up a bone that looked like a hip bone. We all laughed but quietly were thinking horrible thoughts. In the early days Erromango was famous for its Sandalwood forests. The natives used to stack up Sandalwood on the beach to lure in the sailors from passing ships. Once they got ashore they were attacked and eaten, the longboats were a prized possession for the islanders. One Englishman was killed, his body outline chipped out in the rock he was laid on, and then he was eaten.

Anyway we had a good explore, there was an old shack that had a padlock on the front door, but there was no door on the rear. There were old tin containers, bits of clothing, a couple of stacks of roofing iron lying around. There were lime trees, mandarin trees, a Mango tree and a beautiful Banyan tree, with a huge canopy and masses and masses of tangly, twisty roots. Both Tracey and I were reminded of “Avatar” by this tree. We walked up the narrow track for a way and there were hermit crabs in their shells, quite a good size and a long way from the beach. There was fresh cow dung around but we didn’t see any cattle. Had any islanders have appeared, I think we all would have jumped a mile high. It was quite eery. We then walked right around the reef on the Western side of the bay. There were lots of rock pools and tiny bright blue fish, little yellow and black stripey fish and lots of other little black fish trapped in the rock pools. Robbie saw a couple of Moray Eels and we all saw a beautiful, big, bright blue Parrot Fish in one of the larger pools. Everyone but me had a swim (my conditions are a minimum of 26 degrees, clear water and nice sand) and then back to the boat for cold coronas on the fly bridge. A lot of the beaches we have seen are black sand as the islands are volcanic.

26/5/14

Ponamlus Bay

Erromango Island

Got up at 6.30am and departed for Erromango. Beautiful weather and very little wind. Sat up in the fly bridge for most of the journey. Paul caught a beautiful Dolphin fish (Mahi Mahi) and about half an hour later Robbie caught a Marlin, which he let go. J

We arrived at Ponamlus Bay at around 3.30pm it’s a beautiful bay, quite small, rocky beach with coral fringe all around the bay. It used to be a farm but is uninhabited now. Robbie went for a fish, a few bites but no catch. We cooked a fish curry with the Mahi Mahi and roasted a chicken for Tracey.

25/5/14

Port Resolution

Tanna Island

Spent the day cleaning the boat getting ready for Paul and Tracey to arrive. It’s very windy and roly, hope it improves before Paul and Tracey arrive. Robbie fixed the VHF radios for Wiri, Thompson rowed over in his dugout canoe and asked Robbie to fix the brush cutter. Robbie gave him some batteries for his torch and a pair of pliers. Paul and Tracey arrived at 2.15pm with some much needed groceries! At 4.00pm Robbie took Paul & Tracey, and Simon & Barbara from Turangi over to the mainland for their Volcano visit. We went and had a swim on the beach near the entrance, a beautiful sandy white beach. They were filming for the feature film, spoke to Juanita (the wife of the cameraman) with her two little boys. The film is based on a true story about an arranged marriage. We went for a walk down the far end of the beach, but a local man came over and asked us not to walk down there or look in as they had a Kava house and no women allowed near there! We went back to the boat and got dinner ready and made a loaf of bread. Robbie went back & picked up the adventurers. Cooked a BAR B Q for dinner. Wind has dropped and there is a lot less swell.

24/5/14

Port Resolution

10:00am went to village with Oda, Stormvogel & Turangi. Met Thompson to see village and have a tour of the garden so we could trade for the vegetables and fruit we wanted. Got some limes, Pawpaw and Bananas and Coconut. Met Anneth, a village women who gave us a lot of information about the village problems. Agreed to go back with school supplies. Came back, dropped off fuel filter system to Turangi as they had water in their diesel, and went to Stormvogel for lunch and planning meeting for next stop. We then took a box of 100 exercise books, pens, colouring pencils and scissors, and some bouncy balls for the boys and hair ties for the girls to the village. Went and saw Wiri re picking up Paul and Tracey, Robbie agreed to fix their 3 VHF radios. Came back went & picked up fuel filter system from Simon on Turangi, had a beer with them. Very interesting history about their boat, it was hand built by two young Invercargill lads 60 years ago, it took 6 years to build and then they travelled around the world in her for 3 years. Had everyone over for pot luck dinner on Southern Star. Great night.

23/5/14

Port Resolution

Tanna Island

Johnny ended up getting a ride to Lenakel with Wiri. Water maker was going well so I did all the washing, Robbie got the air conditioners going. Went up the volcano at 4: 00pm in Wiri’s truck with Per & Elizabeth, Peter & Heidi, David & Amanda and Richard the Dutch guy. John from Sapphire. Hairy ride in the truck. Volcano was amazing. Film crew was there, spoke to Carolyn who got our email address and will keep in touch. Got back to Port Resolution and had a meal at the Yacht Club. Interesting curried chicken, (too tough to eat) cucumber, silver beet, rice, egg omelette, Taro. Mashed Pawpaw and Banana. Had a Tusker beer $850 vatu for the meal, $500 vatu for one beer.

22/5/14

Itchepthav Bay to Lenakel to

Port Resolution

Tanna Island

We left at midnight to head to Tanna, to Lenakel to pick up the water maker pump from the airport. We had a good trip and arrived about 7:30am. Not a good anchorage, it was really roly. Johnny dropped us into the beach and we pretty much found a local taxi, Henri, straight away. It was a 6km drive on a dirt road to the airport. We passed lots of locals walking, a few wild pigs, a cow and lots of dogs. Got to the airport and got the part straight away. Henri took us to the phone shop and the grocery shop which was hopeless, we did get some onions though. We then went back to the main area to the markets. Brought some mandarins, and capsicums. They had live chooks trussed up so they couldn’t walk, it was very sad. They also had ginger, yams, Taro, bananas, funny looking mushrooms and coconuts. When we got back to the beach there was a native dressed in traditional attire, complete with penis sheath! He started talking to Robbie. I got a photo with him, his name was Alby. He was from a village a couple of hours away. A white lady (Carolyn) came up to us, she is the Director of a film crew, they are filming a true story about arranged marriages between the locals. She suggested we go and see the remote village, Yakel, she said it’s amazing and really worth it. I asked her if it was safe and she said very. They will be filming the volcano today or tomorrow and then Port Resolution. Robbie fitted the water maker pump. We left Lenakel for Port Resolution around 11.30am. It was 3-4 m swells and up to 25k winds. It was very uncomfortable. Arrived at around 4:00pm quite a difficult entrance due to the rough conditions. Quite a few yachts already anchored in the bay. Johnny trying to organise to get home, he was over the bad weather and no internet. I was just pleased to see calm water.

21/5/14

Itchepthav Bay

Robbie and Johnny went fishing and I cleaned the boat. The boys came back and we all went for a snorkel and Johnny went spearfishing. Robbie saw a family of Clownfish. Johnny dropped us into the beach later on which was all rocks. We went for a walk around the headland to the next bay. We met Keith on the beach. He had walked from Anelghowhat about a 7 hour walk, and was heading to Port Patrick to buy a cow.

20/5/14

Anelghowhat to Itchepthav Bay

Anatom

 

Bit of a slow start, Johnny ran in the photo of Keith sitting in the pilothouse to him, and delivered the coconut bread to Oda and Stormvogel. We then pulled anchor and headed out to go around to the top of the island. It was quite blowy and a large swell. We passed the Pacific Dawn cruise ship who was trying to get into the bay to anchor and have a day on Mystery Island. They didn’t end up stopping it was too rough. We got to the other end of Anatom and it’s a lovely little bay, called Itchepthav Bay. There were 3 locals, Robbie and Johhny took them in some Mahi Mahi and some luhrs. The boys went fishing and I had a snooze.

19/5/14

Anelghowhat

Anatom Island

Went ashore and took the clothes to SaraLyn. She gave us some Pamplemoose. A large Grapefruit like fruit but very sweet. At 4:30pm 15 of us boaties went ashore for the festival that Robbie and Keith had arranged. They gave us a bit of cultural history, some custom dancing, Kava tasting and a feast of local food including Cassava, fruits and a chicken cooked with root vegetables in leaves. They also did a display of starting a fire with wood. It was very enjoyable and everyone had a good time.

18/5/14

Anelghowhat

Anatom Island

Woke up still windy and overcast. Very high tide. Great to see Oda and Stormvogel anchored up this morning. There’s also Concerto, Sapphire, the South Africans we met on the beach the first day, the black hulled motor sailor, and a small blue & white yacht anchored close to shore. Mmm would worry about the mosquitos and malaria factor that close to shore. Had a big clean up on the boat which was badly needed. Anna, Cliff, Jill and Roger came for morning tea from “Concerto”. They had a list of questions and were desperate to have a look through the boat. Anna had made “frying pan Scones” which were very nice with our raspberry jam on them. Simon and Barbara sailed in on “Turangi”, they had left Opua the same day as us but are a slow beautiful 60 year old timber sail boat. We had lunch, then dropped off some Mahi Mahi to Oda and Stormvogel and took a bag of fish into Timothy the policeman. We went for a walk through the village, we met SaraLyn who said she would organise some fruit for us but she didn’t want us to buy it she wanted any old clothes so we would trade. We met “Henri” a volunteer from Tanna who runs the 7th day Adventist church. He had a ukele and played us a quick tune. We then walked to the end of the village back to the shop as Robbie still hasn’t got the phone actually working, he can’t work out his phone no. Eliza said once we get service and put the pin in it will message the phone no. We then walked to the end of the village and onto the beach. We saw a local lady doing her washing in the fresh water creek near the beach, beating it on the rocks. We walked back to SaraLyns and she had a selection of fruit for us to choose from. There were lots of hands of bananas, a pawpaw, choko, beans, a coconut, mandarins and oranges. So we chose some mandarins, a coconut, pawpaw, beans. I got back to the boat and sorted out some clothes to take in for her. We got a visit from Keith one of the locals in his dugout canoe. We gave him coffee and biscuits and some fishing line and a luhr. Organised for the festival for tomorrow weather permitting.

 

17/5/14

Anelghowhat

Anatom Island

John from Sapphire (32m ocean yacht) came on board for a cuppa. I Sent his wife in Canada an email to let her know he was OK, as they hadn’t spoken since he left NZ 3 weeks ago. She replied to say he had a new granddaughter. We went ashore, Timothy wasn’t there, so we walked down to the shop at the end but it was closed, walked back again and asked a villager who sent for Timothy, so we finally caught up with Timothy the policeman and cleared customs. Robbie showed him his phone and Timothy put in 0000 and got it going! (told you so) Oda was coming through the entrance as we left the beach. Was such a good sight to see them safe and sound. We came back to the boat Johnny helped them set up their anchor, then Seavogel arrived. They got organised and then came over to Southern Star for cold beers and a Bar B Q. As usual we had a lot of laughs. We watched a movie and went to bed. Very blowy and gusty up to 35 knots in the night.

16/5/14

Anelghowhat

Anatom Island

Woke up after a great sleep. Was up a couple of times in the night once I heard a bang and thought it was the locals maybe boarding us but it was the davit hitting the stack. The anchor alarm went off once also. The weather is gusty and rainy and very humid. Took another dingy ride into the village to find Timothy the policeman/customs officer. No luck. We did find the two shops in the village, both in a shack and with no windows, electricity or lighting. Will take a torch next time. Robbie brought a sim card for his phone but couldn’t get it going when we got back to the boat. Couldn’t find the pin code. I suggested 0000 but he was down to one last attempt until it locked and he wasn’t game to try. Once the weather clears we will head back to Eliza and see if she can get it going for us. There’s a few animals in the village, quite a few chooks, a horse, we saw one cat and a few dogs, one of which looked like it had its head attacked with a machete. I am wary of touching any animals due to rabies, but Johnny was kind and gave the skinny cat a rub. We heard from Oda on the sat phone, Per was a bit concerned about the entrance in. We sent them the way points and told him we will be happy to come out and guide him in if he’s concerned. We are all feeling a bit worried about them and any boats out in this weather right now, it’s not nice. It’s gusting here up to 20 knots and we are in a protected bay. We think it will be a lot worse out in the open ocean. Made a loaf of bread, made the banana crumble with coconut flour (bit of a disaster) and cooked a curry for tea.

15/5/14

Opua NZ to

Anelghowhat

Anatom Island,

Vanuatu

Arrived around 11.45am to Anelghowhat, Anatom. The Southernmost Island in the chain of 83 islands that make up Vanuatu. It was a bit rainy, there were 4 other Yachts at anchor. Sapphire from Canada with John – a sole sailor, Anna & Chris on the cat. Concerto. We got a call from John to say the policeman has no fuel to come out for customs clearance so we have to go in and find him, his name is Timothy. We went in but the police shop was closed up. Met some people from the Netherlands who told us about the shop and Eliza. We walked towards the shop but met Eliza down the track she was just locked up and was going to the “money changer”. (Bank) We agreed we would come back tomorrow and see her. We went and had a drink on Concerto with Anna, Chris, and their friends, Roger and Jill, from NZ. They have been living on the boat for 10 years. They are trying to sell it and maybe buy a Nordhavn. They come to Vanuatu most years.

It is very beautiful, clear blue water and sandy beaches with lots of coconut trees swaying in the breeze. However it is very basic with dirt paths and most of the structures are made out of bamboo and coconut leaves. It is more third world than I had expected.

 

 147 total views,  1 views today

2 thoughts on “Around Vanuatu”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *