Staying in the Marina in Port Vila was great for fruits and vegetables provisioning at the market 250mts down the road
The gas bottle was filled as was the outboard fuel tank, water tanks etc. The larder was replenished at the well stocked supermarket. But it was hot out of the wind, the mosquitos were annoying and we were getting peopled out, so time to go back on the pick (anchor), with better ventilation and no mosquitoes and flies.
So we, Rehab and Logic moved 5 miles north, anchoring in Mele Bay opposite the Beach BarWhere the local performers put on an acrobat show at dusk, on the beach, a short SUP paddle from the boats an enjoyable evening of beers and wood fired pizza, watching the performers(the masthead light beside the guys is Logics)
They did a movie on the beach one evening
Daniel and Andrea had a young grandson in hospital on an antibiotic drip, so Andrea flew back to Oz, leaving Daniel and I, too go off bachelor cruising a quick geography lesson about Vanuatu will help you better understand our movements
Vanuatu is a string of islands running north south for 450miles, 86 of which are inhabited. With a populations of 250,000 people.
Aneityum is the southern most island, and Vanua Lava were we are making our way towards, for a cultural festival at the start of September, is 430miles to it’s north. It is getting noticeable warmer the further north we go.
We only did an 18 mile day, to position ourselves for a bigger day, the day after, anchoring in Paul’s Bay, on the north western side of Efate.The guide recommend snorkeling the nearby reef at slack tide, which was the time we anchored, so we quickly jumped in Albert and made our way out to Paul’s Reef.
it was a marine reserve, covered in plenty of fishwe had been spoilt with exceptional underwater visibility, but there was still plenty to see and photograph
then it was time to go ashore for a walk, inamongst the impressive topography
I was spoilt for options, framing the view of the boats, in the coral rocksat first light we were underway to Emae, 40miles to the northEmae has 2 distinct mountains, with a plain in-betweenFresh volcanic activity and plenty of rain, results in thick green vegetationThe anchorage on the western side of Emae, was not a great one, the wind was funneling through the gap between the 2 big mountains and the swell was bending around the island. So we left the next morning to cover the 35miles to Lamen Bay at the top of Epi Island.
It was a nice quick sail, in close proximity to RehabAs we were sailing up the western, lee side of Epi, the swell had died and we were only doing 6kts, so I swapped over one of the fishing lures I had out, for a small hardbodyand was very pleasantly surprised, when a few minutes later I noticed it not running straight, and was even more pleasantly surprised when I pulled in this big fishan 11.5kg Big Eye Tuna, according to the book they are even better for sashimi than Yellow Finwe got a shock when we got to Leman Bay, last year we were the only boat, this year we took the number to 12 yachts on anchor
I caught the fish so Daniel filleted itthen it was time for the taste testthe fishing book did not lie. I gave away the 3 bags of Mahi Mahi, that were still in the freezer, to fill it with Big Eye.
We had got some crayfish from the locals in Emae, so they were on the menu for dinner that nightthe anchor winch was telling me it needed a service, so it got it’s wish (working a lot better now)there was purported to be a good snorkeling spot on the northern side of the Bay, so I SUPed over to check it outit was impressive, so in I went
On a trip to shore we checked out the restaurant at the bungalowswere we arranges with Joshua, for him to cook some of our Big Eye for our dinner with local vegetables and a lemon meringue pie. For the exorbitant cost of 800 Vatu each ($8US)the guy doing the cooking, did it so well he needed a personal thankyou from Danielthere were squid hanging around under the boat, so I caught 4 so we are now adding freshly caught squid to tuna sashimi for our lunches(I caught another 4 squid the next morning)
As the clever books on child raring state, it is not about what you give them, it is about spending quality time with them. It is the same principle with building rapport with the villagers. The highest quality time one can give, is going to their church for service on Sunday (or Saturday if it is Seventh Day Adventist village).
It was Sunday, so time to go ashore for 10am service at the Presbyterian
They had an electric organ to accompany the singing , after a few minutes we were holding hands in a circle of locals, singing hymns in Bislama.
Within a few minutes of the service starting, they had Daniel and I up the front, to put a lay of flowers (plastic) around our necks and insisted we give a speech about ourselves.
The lady preacher gave, what sounded to be a “fire and brimstone’ sermon in Bislama.
Then at the end of the service, as the elders were walking past our bench, they stopped, insisting we walk out in front of them, to then line us up outside the church steps, to shake hands with the congregation, on their way out, exchanging “may god bless you”s. (sorry there are no photos, it would have felt rude to ask).
And then we got invited back to the chief’s hut for lunch.
One can not put a price on these magical experiences, but they do need to be made too happen, they do not come to you
there was a volleyball court. not getting any use so I took a volleyball ashore for the girls.
this photo was taken 30seconds after I gave them the ballfor the next hour the sound of them playing joyously, was heard from the shore, well past the time, they would have been having trouble seeing the ball, post dusk.
The plan is to get up to Vanua Lava in time for a 3 day cultural festival, put on by one the villages for the cruising yachts. We have been given 3 dates, over a 2 week period weeks, from late August into September (hopefully I get an email reply, with the actual date, in the next week or so).
We will leave Epi, to go up the west coast of Malekula, then over to Luganville, on the SE corner of Espirito Santo, to reprovision. Then make our way up Espiritu Santo, before heading over to Gaua, then up to Vanua Lava