Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Port Resolution and Mt Yasur

We had a lovely sail for the first 48 hours from Fiji to Vanuatu. On the third day, we hoisted the gennaker and maintain about 5 knots per hour. On the fourth day, we had to furl the sails and motor. That afternoon we anchored in Port Resolution, in the southern Vanuatu island chain, next to the smoke spewing volcano, Mt. Yasur.
Approaching Tanna Island, with Mt Yasur spewing ash

It was so exhilarating to land in Vanuatu. Aside from the active volcano and the steam vents at the anchorage, the mountains were covered in trees and jungle plants and the beaches, both black sand and white, were unspoiled.
Active steam vent at the anchorage in Port Resolution

We awoke the next day to learn it was a holiday in Vanuatu so there was no Customs or Immigration service. Stanley, the caretaker at the Port Resolution “Yacht Club”, assured us we were allowed to go ashore to see the volcano. That afternoon, we piled into trucks with SV Dream Catcher, SV Rehua and SV Second Wind and went to the entrance of the volcano. Before walking up to the rim of the volcano, we were given a safety talk, were sorted into groups with guides and were entertained with local traditional dancing.
Dancers in traditional costume

Then we went to the volcano...
Yikes! We're walking closer??!?

Crater View - Mt Yasur

and we moved to the viewing area near the edge...
Looking down into the crater - Mt Yasur

Small eruption - Mt Yasur

We felt the heat and vibrations with each eruption.
Eruption with ash - Mt Yasur

As night fell, the redness of the rock, sparks and lava spewing from the volcano stood out dramatically.
Lava and crater view - Mt Yasur

Malcolm had the camera on a tripod, but the vibrations from the eruption made the camera shake as can be seen in the wiggling at the end of the light trails in this long exposure shot (1 second).
Long exposure eruption -  - Mt Yasur

Eruptions from two parts of crater - Mt Yasur



Another evening, Stanley organised a fundraising dinner for local school fees. Several mothers of children attending the school cooked a local feast for the cruisers. Aside from a nominal fee, many cruisers took the opportunity to donate school supplies and clothing.