The ideal weather was forecast to come to an end, so reluctantly we left Ureparapara
First stop was an easy 15miles south, to a place halfway down the west coast for Vanua Lava called Waterfall. Where we anchored in the bay just north of the impressive waterfall
a nice spot close to the reef with a zigzag through the coral, to land the SUPs at low tidethere had been some big changes in the make up of the people living south of the Waterfall, since I was here last year. The lovely church were Pastor Nixon had said mass, was now just a concrete slab. It felt unfriendly so we went back to the waterfall for a swim
then back to the boat, for an early morning departure, to Matanda Bay on the north western side of Gaua.
were Chief Richard paddled out in dugout to show us were to anchorthere is no way, 2 boats could fit anchored in this tight anchorage hole
after the anchor was in Chief Richland came onboard for a chat, and a coffee. He was having trouble seeing the chart on the iPad, so we tried on a few different pairs of reading glasses, from the box of them, my daughter Kate had given me for Christmas. From then on I rarely saw Chief Richland without them on.he and Karl paddled ashore, while I regrouped for an hourit was a small village, of him, his wife and son, Nelson and Nelson’s familyeverything was very tidyof course we had to have kava, to celebrate our arrival.
I did my bit on the kava pounderthen it needed filtering, before drinkingthen the drinking
I am starting to get an appreciation for kavaThere was a big celebration on the next day down at Lakona Bay, for the opening of a conservation zone, which Chief Richard was hoping we would take him down too. It was less than 2 hours south, so I readily agreed.
It was initially only Chief Richard, but when Karl went in to pick him up in the morning, in typical Vanuatu style, it was now 4, with Harry from Bushman’s Bay joining us for the return trip It was a big do, with bureaucrats flown in from Sola, Luganville and Port Vila, with my white skinned novelty value, I was thrust in with the dignitaries
Conservation zones are great for attracting foreign aid money, for impressive photo opportunities, with everyone in T shirts printed for the occasionsI was speeched out, and went for a walkThen it was the Vanuatu equitant of impromptu entertainment in front of the churchand then it was a very quick sail up to Bushman’s Bay, as the forecast winds had arrivedof course we had to do kava
as the sun setHarry and Thor, had directed me into the inner anchorage, somewhere with just enough swing room, as the wind gusted from all directions overnight(the coral close to Logic was well below the rudders, and the stuff out further was only a problem at day time low tides)
the next morning Harry took me up to see his gardens, on top of the ridge to the northhe was growing profuse amounts of yam
I got given one, he dug for methe climate here is ideal for growing tobacco everywhere I looked there was pawpaw, that needed to be picked early, before the fruit bats got to them (and pass the seeds through their digestive tract, to replant more pawpaw)on the walk down, we stopped to harvest some plantainsthere were a couple of very cute young pigs, free ranging around the village, who loved having their stomach scratchedHarry has a son-in-law in Luganville, who was beating his wife. Understandably he wanted to get down there to do something about it, so he asked me for a lift to Esperito Santo, which I readily agreed to.
We needed to pick up Father Levi and his family who also wanted a lift Santo, to get some test done on his sick daughter, so we left that afternoon to go down to Lakona Bay, to leave there at first light, the following morning.
On the way down we did a few passed over the reef, were Karl and Chief Christopher had caught that Big Eye Tuna.
No tuna but we did hook up a 30-40kg sharkI was informed that shark (even this big) was considered good food (anther VILLAGE FEEDER).
I was not interested in trying to land something with all those teeth thrashing around, so we dragged it towards Lakona Bay. By the time we got there it was exhausted enough to get a rope around it’s tail.to then, have it quickly be transported ashorefor butchering by Basilwhen I was in the UK, Lisa’s 18mt grandson, was dancing away to song called “baby shark”, which I immediately thought of when I saw this child, making this shark fin do what Oliver was doing with his hands.the boys saved me the effort of carrying the SUP up the beach, by paddling around on it, until the sun set back to the butcheringthen the distribution throughout the village by Derekthere were now pieces of shark, evenly distributed through the villageover my repeated visits to Lakona Bay I have developed a strong friendship with Chief John, who now refers to me as his “brother”of course we had to do kava, to celebrate my last night in The Banks, for this season.
Kava works best with an alcohol chaser, so I have been taking in a bottle of red wine, whenever the locals have been putting on kava. While Chief John’s wife Susan did not share in the kava, she joined me in a glass of red.The next morning, once everybody was onboard, we were off to Port Olry on Santo.
Father Levi’s wife Lynette grated plantainswhich was then wrapped in Island Cabbage, to then be boiled in coconut milkeveryone overnighted on Logic, before leaving on land transport for Luganville in the morning.
I am back to solo cruising, to go around to Big Bay until the wind abates, enough to go down to Luganville.
only one more blog post to go, and then I am up to date