Showing posts from July, 2017

On to Malakula

We sailed to Craig’s Cove at the SW of Ambryn to spend a night before crossing to Malakula Island. We were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of two 12-year old girls, Victoria and Elsie, who canoed over in a traditional dugout canoe to our boat and invited us to their village! We dinghied to shore for a lovely tour of their village and to place an order for fresh bread for the morning. After going to shore to pick up the warm bread, we had a surprisingly comfortable 4-5 hour close-hauled sail (wind almost on the nose) SW to Gaspard Bay on the southern end of Malakula Island.  Gaspard is a deep, keyhole anchorage well protected from wind and surrounded by mangroves. We had the anchorage to ourselves and could hear the dugongs coming up for air. Due to the mangroves, the water is shallow, very dark green, a little muddy, and the dugongs were difficult to see. Malcolm saw one, but after two days of paddleboarding all around, Dina didn’t see any. After a brief stop at Uliveo Isl


We sailed north from Lamen Island to Ambryn Island. Ambryn is known for its black magic and active volcano. We arrived in time for the second day of the annual festival in the village of Fanla, supposedly the oldest village on Ambryn. The famous Rom (“mask”) Dance was held on the second day. Village elder supervising the dancers Chief making sure they're doing it right Mask Closeup Dancer closeup Drummers The Rom Dance is an important native tradition in which men participating in the ceremony are granted additional status based on the masks they purchase. One mask went for 20,000 vatu (~$200), while others were purchased from their traditional owners for between 10,000 and 4,000 vatu (~$100-$40). Men are allowed to participate in various ceremonies across the island based on their status level. Some men have several masks and significant status on the island. Villagers watching the performance Local kids looking at their own images on th

Heading North from Port Vila

After the boat was put in the water, we spent another two weeks in Port Vila. Some of our time was spent getting some necessary jobs done on the boat, such as putting the sails on. The rest of our time was spent buying provisions, as we knew that there wouldn’t be much available as we explored Vanuatu.  We decided it was time to retire our Canadian flag and hoist a new one. After a few days in the anchorage, we noticed that our solar panels weren’t providing enough power and certainly not providing as much as they used to. A simple bit of diagnostic work showed that the panel which was damaged in Fiji (link here, or photo) was not providing any power. There are a lot of people using solar power in Vanuatu, so we went to a couple of shops and found a very reasonable replacement panel. By some awesome stroke of luck, it was the same size and had the same connectors as the broken one, so installation was easy. At this point, our cupboards, fridge and freezer were full so we headed out