Monday, November 7, 2016

On to Efate and Port Vila

From Tanna Island, we sailed about 9 hours with one reef in the main sail and the genoa to Dillon’s Bay on Erromango Island. Unfortunately, it was raining. No locals came out to the boat and we didn’t go ashore. We left the next afternoon for an overnight sail to Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Instead of going too fast and arriving early, our timing and speed were good on this passage and we arrived outside the entrance to Port Vila about 2 hours after sunrise. The weather didn't cooperate, however, and a severe thunderstorm rolled in. We considered trying to race the massive black clouds and get into harbour, but as we saw SV Dream Catcher swallowed up by the dense cloud and the lightening started coming in thick bolts, we turned around and slowly motored back into the sunshine. About 2 hours later, the storm had passed and we were moored off of Yachting World in Port Vila.

After having limited access to a variety of provisions, we were in heaven at the Au Bon Marche supermarket in Port Vila. The brie, prosciutto, chorizo, breads, wines… it was fabulous! In the local market there were raspberries, pamplemousse, mangos, avocados….

We met up with Tom and Lynn on SV Roxanne and made plans to explore the nearby islands to the North of Port Vila. We first anchored off Lelepa Island, snorkelled a few times and explored one of the larger caves on the island before we had a rainy day. Then we motored a bit further to Moso Island. In between rain showers we explored the beaches. After a few days, we moved on to Pele Island.

We spent several days at Pele, meeting many locals, eating lots of papayas and drinking fresh coconut milk. Lynn, from SV Roxanne, and Dina walked to the local school and dropped off some school supplies. One afternoon, Lynn and Dina were guided up to the top of the mountain by four boys, Rexon, Chris, Samuel and Stephen. The hike was rough and although one of the boys carried a machete, the razor grass left various cuts on arms and legs. The view was worth the hike, and the unrestrained joy and singing of the boys made it priceless.
Lynn talking to two local boys in a tree on the beach

View of Kakula Island from the top of Pele Island

Local boys having fun on the hike

Posing for a portrait


The next day Lynn brought the boys out to visit both boats.
Tug-of-war with Malcolm using one of the winches

We moved the boat a short distance and anchored closer to Kakula Island where SV Kiapa, SV Tranquilo and SV Roxanne were kite-boarding. Tom, from SV Roxanne, kindly lent Malcolm his kite to practice. A small storm front was approaching and Malcolm did not get the kite down soon enough. A strong gust came, caught the kite and dragged Malcolm off the beach, into the water and slammed him into an anchored dinghy. The kite came down for a second but got more wind and dragged Malcolm under the dinghy. Malcolm and Tom got the kite down and found it had suffered a torn air bladder. Malcolm suffered a nasty gash on his foot and various bruises and scrapes.

The good news was Tom is a doctor. There was a question whether Malcolm needed stitches, but Tom was able to glue the cut closed on Malcolm’s foot. The bad news was Malcolm was unable to swim for several days. More good news was that where we were anchored there were many turtles and each evening they would swim all around our boat.

After a few days, we made our way back to Port Vila. We said, Goodbye, to SV Roxanne when they sailed to New Zealand. Then we put Good as Gold comfortably to bed for the cyclone season. She is securely nestled up on the hard at the Port Vila Boatyard.
Waiting for the trailer

Hauling out

Hauling out

We flew to Sydney, Australia where we will be staying with our friends, Jamie and Kimberley, while our Japanese work visas are processed. We will spend the South Pacific cyclone season/Northern Hemisphere ski season (December to April) in Niseko, Japan.