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 Island in the Maskelyne Island group south of Malakula Island, we headed north. We had a nice broad reach (wind from aft quarter) sail to Banan Bay on the east coast of Malakula Island. The water in the bay was clear with some coral heads and the paddleboarding was nice. SV Second Wind was anchored nearby and they organised a Small Nambas “kustom” dance for the three boats in the bay.
There are two primary tribes on Malakula: Small Nambas and Large Nambas. Both tribes use banana leaf penis sheaths (nambas) in their kustom (traditional) dancing. The large and small refer (supposedly) to the size of the bark belt that holds the namba.
Small Namba kustom dance
Younger boys in the kustom dance
The dancing was over quickly, again nothing to do with the
size reference, and we enjoyed time in the village.
Local kids posing for a photo
Local kids posing for another photo
Young girl throwing frisbee
Beautiful mother with baby
Local catch Ready for cooking
We had a lovely 3 hour downwind sail to Crab Bay, further
north along the east coast of Malakula Island. Crab Bay is a marine reserve and
looks like a wonderful anchorage to explore. Unfortunately, the wind was strong
with small white caps in the bay and it wasn’t possible to explore.
Dina untangling the fishing line... didn't matter, we still didn't catch anything