Monday, May 31, 2010

Passage to Louisiades

May 31, 2010--We are currently 300 miles from Tagula Island in the Louisiades, and the passage so far has been interesting. The winds were almost non-existent at the beginning, but they finally filled in on Saturday, so we were able to turn off the engine. They were still pretty light; however, we were able to keep the boat moving. The wind steering system begins to struggle when our boat speed goes under two knots, but it hung in there for us.

The good news was that yesterday the winds finally picked up, and we started making good time. The bad news is that the winds increased because there were rain squalls in the area. Now we loved getting the wind, but we would rather avoid rain squalls. Luckily, none of the squalls produced any high winds. Last night we saw lightning ahead of us and were worried that it was a thunderstorm. That system passed in front of us and was not problem.

Around eleven o'clock last night I came on watch, and the ski to the north of us was dark and there was quite a bit of lightning lighting up the sky. My watch went along fine until around two o'clock when the cloud was moving much closer to us. I woke Steve to begin his watch, and we decided to furl in the jib but left the main at the triple reef. I then went down to sleep. While I was asleep, Steve said that the winds hit 30 knots, and it was a boisterous ride. Gee, I must have been pretty tired to have slept through that, and I'm really glad that it wasn't on my watch.

Steve has had no luck fishing, which is disappointing as we were in the mood for some nice tuna or mahi mahi. There was a hit last night while Steve was sleeping, but there was no way I was going to pull it in or wake him up to help me. He has hardly slept since we left, and his getting some sleep is more important than the fish at this moment.

We should arrive at Tagula in two or three days. The forecast looks pretty good for wind, but we have a feeling that there will be squalls every night. At least that will keep the boat washed off as she gets pretty salty during the day.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Under Way for the Louisiades

May 28, 2010-Our last few days in Vanuatu were spent preparing the boat for our next passage. Luganville is a very small town. There are old WWII U.S. military Quonset huts all around town, and old docks rusting in the water, but we did enjoy seeing it while we were here in Vanuatu.

As our visas will expire before the next good weather window, and since we received a decent passage forecast from our weather guru, we left Luganville, Vanuatu, yesterday around 10 'clock in the morning. We motored west out the channel bucking some nasty currents that were flooding, but cleared most of the land by nightfall.

Along the way Steve put out his fishing line because we are both craving fresh fish. Around 4 o'clock in the afternoon I heard the line pop, but I felt no fish. I clipped it again, and again it popped. This time Steve picked up the line to check the lure. He pulled it in, and we could see that something had taken a bite out of it. He tossed the lure back into the water, and then about a minute later a huge marlin broke the surface of the water just a hundred or so yards behind the boat. Both of our mouths fell open, and we just stood there staring at it. Finally, I decided to get the camera, while Steve was trying to figure out how to get rid of the fish without losing his lure. Before I could get back, the marlin was gone. Steve thought that he was caught in our line and not hooked on the lure, but we were both very happy that he got away because there was no way we could have brought him on board, plus Steve got to keep his lure.

The winds were very light for most of the day so we had to motor quite a bit. Around two o'clock in the morning the wind finally piped up enough for us to sail, and then we found ourselves doing 6.5 to 7 knots with double reefed sails. FEAST OR FAMINE! There was a lightning storm off to our port that we kept an eye on, and several rain squalls went over us; but, luckily, none had high winds associated with them, and the lightning storm passed us by.

This morning found us motoring and sailing off and on. It is tough to sit around while the boat is barely moving, but we have only so much fuel to get us to Darwin, some 1700 miles away. We knew that we would have light winds, but our forecast has not been exactly accurate so far. We hope to see the winds fill in tonight. This passage will take us about 8 to 10 days, depending on the winds. It has been awhile since we have been out this long, and it is a bit of an adjustment, but we are fine and all is well on the boat.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Northern Vanuatu

May 25, 2010—On Wednesday the 19th, Steve and I left Banam Bay to sail northeast to Ambryn Island. We were interested in the carvings that the locals produce there, as well as seeing the Rom dance performed by the local men.

Ambrym would also provide a stopover on our way to Pentecoste for the land diving ceremony. Land diving in Vanuatu is where the idea of bungee jumping came from. Legend has it that a woman tried to flee her abusive husband, who pursued her up a huge banyan tree. She leapt, supposedly to her death. He leapt after her realizing, too late, that she had tied vines to her ankles. Now the jumps are made in order to insure a good yam harvest, and only males are allowed to make the jumps.
Well, we left the anchorage under reefed main with a full jib with the wind on the beam. What a great sail. Unfortunately, that lasted about an hour and then the wind clocked around on our nose and rose to 20 knots. We fought our way around the northwest point of Ambrym where the current and opposing wind created some nasty chop. When we were about 4 miles from our anchorage, we decided that it was just too rough, and we would be uncomfortable that evening.

We decided to change course to go directly to Pentecoste; however, the winds turned again and were right on our nose. We decided to turn around and return to Banam Bay and then try again in a day or two. Now we thought that we would have a nice downwind sail when we reversed our course. Instead we now had wind out of the southwest—right on our nose for the return trip. We traveled 40 miles and burned 5 gallons of diesel to end up right back where we had started. It was now four o’clock in the afternoon, and we were a bit tired, so we ate dinner and called it a night.

The next day was spent relaxing on the boat. We decided, along with Scarlett, that we would try the crossing on Friday. The grib files, files that we use to see the weather forecast, showed a system moving through that would give us north to northwest winds on Saturday, which was the day of the jump, and also on Sunday when we would be sailing to Luganville. Because of this both boats decided to head directly north to Luganville on Espiritu Santo.

We left on Friday morning and actually had a nice sail up the east coast of Matakula. We sailed the whole way, which has been rare during our time in Vanuatu. We pulled into Port Stanley, which is a large bay with several islands, and anchored behind Uri Island and between two reefs. That gave us good protection from the prevailing winds.

While we were at anchor, a local named Freddie came to the boat and offered to trade us two very nice Nautilus shells for a sheet and a beach towel. Since the towel was new, he also gave us a stalk of bananas that Steve said were ripe and delicious.

That evening the grib files did not look good. If we did not make it to Luganville the next day, we would be stuck at anchor for three or four days in heavy rain, so we all decided to leave at first light, catch the flood tide north, and arrive in Luganville, hopefully, before the weather moved in. We were away by six the next morning and had the wind and seas on our beam, which is a good point of sail for us. The skies were very overcast and after a couple of hours, the rain squalls began to pass over us. Luckily, only a few of them had any increased wind in them. We had our main reefed way down, so we had no problems. At one point, the rain was so heavy that we could not see Scarlett, who was just a mile behind us. By the time we entered a narrow pass into Espiritu Santo, the wind and rain had decreased so we entered with no problems and picked up a mooring ball at Aore Resort, which is just across the channel from Luganville.

Steve went ashore to check us in and arrange for dinner at the resort. We relaxed during the afternoon and tried to get things dried out a bit, but then the rain began again. Actually, it was nice to get the boat rinsed off because she had salt all over her. We were also able to collect rain water in our tanks and have water to wash some clothes in. When it was dinner time, we were lucky that there was just a very light drizzle. John and Renee soon joined us, and we all had steak dinners that were superb because Vanuatu is renowned for its beef. Just as we left, it began to pour so we were soaked by the time we got back to the boat, and then the rain continued all night. We even had thunder and lightning during the night.

The next morning the dinghy was half filled with water so Steve got in with a small bucket to bail her out. I washed some clothes and hung them out on the lines without rinsing them because I figured it would rain and rinse them off. I was right—it rained all day long. Everything on board is damp, and I am wondering if the clothes will ever dry.

On a sad note—we learned that a cruising couple we know, Mike and Cindy on Air We Go, lost their boat on a reef in Samoa. They were sailing back to the United States with Alan and Kristin on sv Charisma. We don’t know all the facts, but the important thing is that they are all right. As we understand it, they were able to salvage quite a bit from the boat, but it was a total loss.
We will spend a few days here getting ready to make the passage to the Louisiades in Papua New Guinea when a good weather window appears. We will go into Luganville today to see the town and get some chores done, hopefully, without any rain!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Epi Island to Malakula Island

May 18, 2010--On May May 13 we left Lamen Bay on Epi to head over to Malakula Island. The tide was ebbing, and we were surprised to have tide eddies that caught our full keel and moved the bow from port to starboard and back again. We finally got far enough from the island that they stopped; however, about half way across the channel, the ebbing tide came up against the ocean current, and we found ourselves in some nice rip tides, which we haven't seen since the Pacific northwest. At one point a wave made its way into our cockpit and doused us nicely.

We entered the east channel into the Maskelyne Islands, which are a small set of islands at the southeast tip of Malakula. Our timing was a bit off, so we entered the narrow channel while the tide was still ebbing. At one point we were down to a crawl because of the current going against us, but the good news was that entering at low tide allowed us to see the shoaling reefs on both sides of the channel. Once we were through the entrance, the water calmed down, and we continued through the channel until we arrived at a lovely little bay at Awei Island. Scarlett O'Hara was there to welcome us, as were several locals in their outrigger canoes.

We spent that afternoon meeting most of the locals who were out fishing in the small bay. A woman named Mata asked for fish hooks, which Steve gave her. Later in the afternoon, a family with two young boys in a sailing outrigger came by. Their sail was torn so Steve handed them some needles and sail twine so that they could sew up the tear. The man asked us to come to the island to visit his village on Awei Island the next afternoon, and we said that we would.

The next morning Steve left with John in the dinghy to go to Avokh Island to help fix a generator. It turned out that there were three generators, of which they got two running. While they were gone, a man came over to the boat in a fiberglass outrigger and introduced himself as a chief. He asked me if I had matches so that he and his men could cook their lunch on shore. I gave him a pack of matches, and he offered me fruit in exchange; however, I thanked him and said that we had plenty of fruit.

When Steve and John returned from the village, Steve was carrying about six more pomplemousse--the village had give them to the guys for fixing the generators. The next time you see us, we will both have turned into pomplemousses, and we are certainly getting 1000 percent of our daily Vitamin C requirements. Steve told me that the people in the village were extremely poor. The generators were not to provide lighting or anything else, they were to power the DVD player. We wondered where they came up with a DVD player.

The next day the clouds set in and it rained, which it has been doing most of the time since we left Port Vila. Because of the rain, we were not able to go to the village on Awei to visit the family so we stayed on board, and I did some laundry and hung it inside to dry.

We left the next morning with Scarlett to move north and anchored for the night in Gaspard Bay, which was not as protected but turned out to be a good anchorage anyway. We did see a dugong in the water so it was worth the location just for that. Just after our boats were anchored, the rain set in again for the whole afternoon and evening. At least the boat is nice and clean, and we were able to put some rainwater in the water tank.

On May 16 we left Gaspard Bay and headed out the northeast channel only this time we were riding the ebb tide out and making very good time. The wind was blowing enough to fill the sails, but we still motored so that we could charge our batteries. There has been very little sun, and these protected anchorages reduce the wind for the wind generator, so our batteries had gotten low.

We enjoyed a nice trip up the southeast side of Matakula Island and then turned into Port Sandwich. Captain Cook landed there when he was in Vanuatu. It is a very deep bay that is well protected. We spent two nights anchored there and went into the village at Lamap one day to find some bread. We got a ride into the village in the back of a pickup and then walked back to the anchorage, which was about a 40-minute walk. Lamap was a nice and clean village, and the people were all very friendly. They would walk up and introduce themselves--and give us pomplemousse!

Today we left around 10 o'clock and went only 10 miles north to Bangon Bay. We anchored over nice sand, fixed some lunch, and then relaxed. Around 2 o'clock a call came over the radio from sv September. Gabriele and Hans had caught up with us and are now anchored next to us. It is always nice to meet up with cruisers again along the way--sometimes it is soon and sometimes it takes months or even years, but it is always a treat.

Tomorrow we cross over to Ambrym Island. All is well aboard sv Linda.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Moving North in Vanuatu

May 12, 2010-We left Port Vila on Saturday, May 8, and motor sailed to the northwestern side of the island. We decided to anchor in Eseme Bay in Havannah Harbor. This harbor is where the U.S. Navy fleet, including the carriers Lexington and Yorktown, anchored before leaving to fight the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which the Lexington was lost. Scarlett O'Hara and Po'onio Roa followed about an hour behind us.

Very shortly after anchoring a local named Talo rowed his outrigger canoe up to our boat and asked if we would like some bananas and pomplemousse (I don't know the correct spelling), which are very large grapefruits and very delicious. We, of course, said yes, so he paddled off. We did not expect him until the next day; however, about an hour later, he returned, along with three small children, to deliver our fruit. He brought us a very large stock of bananas and two grapefruit. We agreed on a price of $250 VAT, which amounts to $2.50 U.S. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

On Sunday Po'onio Road left; however, we decided to stay for two more days in order to allow the weather to improve. In the morning a young man named Kenneth rowed up to the boat and offered us more grapefruit. Now, we already had five grapefruits; however, we like to help out the locals by buying goods from them so we agreed to buy two grapefruit. Ken gave us two and threw in two more. He asked for fishing line in payment, and, luckily, Steve had some that he had purchased for just such a purpose. Ken seemed very happy with the trade when he left, but Steve and I sat and looked at our nine grapefruits. We immediately ate two of them in order to reduce the number that we had to store on board. We were certainly not lacking in our daily allowance of Vitamin C. All the locals that went by in their boats whistled at us and waved, and we are always amazed at how many people they put on one boat.

On Monday John and Renee from Scarlett joined us on a trip to shore to see the remnants of a U.S. base that was on shore. We took our dinghies to the beach and tied them to a stick in the water since the tide was still coming up. We spoke with some kids who were on shore, but they did not know the spot we were asking about. We decided to walk north, and within one kilometer, we saw a sign that said, "American Pool." This is where the U.S. dammed up a small river to create a pool of fresh water for the ships. There were about eight young men swimming in the pool, and they looked as though they were enjoying the cool water.

A little further down the road, we did see a military half track that was rusting away on the side of the road, and across the street was a village that had been built using the remnants of the military base. We did not go into the village, but Steve was able to take a few pictures. After taking some more pictures, we returned to our dinghies and went back to the boats. Steve needed to work on navigation, and I needed to wash out some clothes.

At dawn on Tuesday morning, our two boats left the anchorage and headed north to Epi Island. We had to go through a pass, which was not a problem at all. The seas were pretty confused, and even though I had taken my medicine, I still got a bit seasick. The winds were light so we had to motor sail, but we needed to recharge the batteries after several days of overcast skies and very light wind so we didn't mind. After about two hours, the wind picked up, and we were able to sail for the next six hours. The last two hours we were back to motor sailing, and we used that time to make water. We pulled into Révolieu Bay, which was not much of a bay, and dropped our anchor. The waves were rolling into the anchorage, so we spent an uncomfortable night on the settees instead of the berth.

In the morning, John and Renee left to cross over to Malakula Island; however, we decided to move 12 miles north to Lamen Bay. The wind was again very light, so we turned on the engine and headed out. It was a quick run and provided us with another opportunity to make water. We arrived two hours later and slowly moved up into the bay and dropped our anchor in 18 feet of water.

On shore, the inter-island ferry had just pulled up to the shore and a large group of people were gathered around. After putting the boat in order, we launched the dinghy and went ashore. As we walked up to the ferry, we saw that the men were unloading wood planks onto a skiff, which was then brought to shore and unloaded onto the sand. There were people waiting to get on the ferry, and their belongings were packed in a woven palm frond basket. It was wonderful to watch.
We walked along the beach and then up to the village. One older woman named Winnie spoke to us for several minutes. We took her picture and promised to send her a print. Another man stopped us to talk for a few minutes and gave us two oranges before we left. Everyone was friendly. Most of the villagers were at the community market, where they were serving rice and fish as a fund raiser for the primary school. We spoke to Tasso, the man who runs the resort on shore, and he was very friendly and helpful, and before we left, we made a donation to the school.

We returned to the boat and sat in the cockpit watching spinner dolphins that were swimming and performing acrobatics in the bay, and we also saw numerous turtles swimming around the boat. We had hoped to see the "dugong" swimming by, but she never did appear. A dugong is very much like a manatee, and this one is friendly enough to let you swim with her. Probably all the boat props in the bay today scared her away--and with good reason.

Tomorrow we will move over to Malakula Island for several days, where we hope to enjoy some snorkeling. Sharks are more prevalent here in Vanuatu, and one is supposed to ask the locals if swimming is safe. Malakula is safe and has some good reefs for snorkeling.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Trip to Tanna Island

May 6, 2010—On Tuesday we spent the day finding items in town. We stopped at the central market to look around, and as we were walking around we passed a box with a live rooster that was all trussed up. I jumped because it surprised me, and the local ladies at the table starting giggling. A little while later, I looked down at a table and saw a bat whose wings were tied, but this time I stayed cool. It was a very interesting shopping trip.
We finally found a wonderful French bread shop called La Parisierie. We bought delicious baguettes and a round loaf of white bread that was exceptional as well. Steve was happy because across the street was Wilco Hardware, which is like Lowe’s or Home Depot. We spent the next hour looking at all the isles in the store. On the way back to the boat we found some great ice cream that Steve had been wanting since the middle of our passage.
On Tuesday night five cruising couples went out to eat at the Raging Bull Restaurant. Steve and I both ordered the eye fillet with mashed potatoes and salad. It was exceptional! We had heard that Vanuatu had the best beef in the Pacific, and so far, we would have to agree. Unfortunately, we also ordered Crème Brule, which turned out to be tapioca with ice cream. Oh well, it was a very fun evening.

On Wednesday we left to fly to Tanna to see the volcano. We had checked with three tour agencies in town and decided to use Island Holiday Tours. We discussed the package with John on two different occasions in order to be clear about what the price included. We had heard that in Vanuatu you will receive a price, but you will be asked for additional money. John assured us that everything was included except the airport tax.
We flew out of Port Vila at 3 o’clock and arrived in Tanna at 3:45. Philip was there to meet us as well as a young man from Canada and one from Australia. The drive from the airport to the volcano took about an hour and a half in a 4-wheel drive truck over dirt roads that were eroded from the recent rains. We stopped for petrol and bread along the way, dropped Daniel, the Australian, at his bungalow accommodations, and then arrived at the Jungle Oasis Bungalows. It was now dark, and we had scheduled a tour of the volcano for the late afternoon and into the evening, but that plan was now out the window. We put our things in our bungalow and changed into warmer clothes and then climbed into the truck with Cullen, the Canadian.
The drive to the volcano was a very short distance; however, the road was pretty steep and even more rutted. As we were driving up, we saw the red glow from an eruption. We reached the parking lot and began hiking up the side of the hill to the viewing area. Of all the things that Steve and I packed, a flashlight was not among them. We could not believe that we missed that, but Philip was kind enough to help us out with his “torch.” Before walking up to the top, we mailed several postcards in this mail box. This picture was taken the next day.

When we got to the top, it was absolutely spectacular. The volcano danger level has recently been elevated from level 1 to level 2 so the viewing area had been moved back from the rim, but we still got a spectacular show of lava spewing into the air. The volcano would rumble, belch out smoke, and then spew red lava and rocks into the air. It was a bit unsettling to be standing there. I could not tell which way the rocks were flying so when it blew, so I would unconsciously step back just a bit each time. It was a cloudy night, but, luckily, it did not rain.
We returned to the bungalow and then went to the restaurant for dinner. There was a local band with eight guys who were there to play for us. They had a couple of guitars, a ukulele, a tambourine, and a home-made bass that consisted of a broom handle with a wire that was connected to a large plywood box. Their sound was different, but they were very entertaining. They asked for a donation, which we were happy to make.

We returned to our bungalow with the help of Philip’s flashlight. We soon climbed into our double bed, pulled down the mosquito net, and called it a night. Unfortunately, Steve woke me up around one in the morning because he heard something trying to chew through a baggie to get to some bread that we had brought along. He took the bag and tied it to a piece of line, but he told me in the morning that he heard the “critter” come down the line and continue to try to get at the bread. Otherwise, it was a restful evening—if you didn’t mind hearing the rumble of the volcano during the night. A couple of the eruptions even shook our bungalow.

The next morning we got up and went to the restaurant for breakfast of coffee, toast, and bananas. We were supposed to go to see the Custom Village, but we decided to skip it. We really wanted to see the volcano during the day, but now Philip told us that it would cost us an additional amount of money so we decided to use the money for the village trip instead. Philip and the driver picked us up around 11 o’clock, and we returned to the volcano.

The view during the daytime is not as exciting as the evening; however, it was still quite a show. Now we could actually see the large amount of smoke rising up with each rumble as well as the large rocks that would come flying out of the crater. We spent about 30 minutes watching and taking a lot of pictures just as we had the night before. We are very happy that we decided to return during the day—it was well worth it.

Now it was time for us to make the long drive back to the other side of the island and the airport. We were able to get some additional shots of the volcano from a distance and seeing the ash field during the day was quite interesting. We saw where the lake used to be, but it drained a few years ago. We also had to drive through a small river that runs down where the lake used to be. We arrived at the airport a bit early so they dropped us off at the Evergreen Resort so that we could have some lunch before our flight. We enjoyed a burger and fries and then went to the airport.

Our flight left on time, and we arrived back in Port Vila at 4:30 in the afternoon. We were tired and were happy to be back at the boat and in our own bed. The trip was not perfect. The accommodations were minimal, but they were neat and clean. We are, however, very glad that we went to see Mount Yasur.

Tomorrow we will have to get everything in order so that we can leave on Saturday. We have just two more weeks in Vanuatu before we leave for Papau New Guinea so we will be on a fast track and can only hope that the weather will cooperate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Arrival in Vanuatu

May 3, 2010—The last two days of our crossing to Vanuatu gave us frequent rain squalls but no big winds, which was a good thing. Our plan to go to Tanna Island changed on Saturday morning when the winds changed direction on us making a run to Tanna very difficult. In addition, the day after we were to arrive, the winds were forecast to come from the northeast, which would have made that anchorage very uncomfortable if not unsafe. Therefore, we decided to change course and go directly to Port Vila on the island of Efate.

Unfortunately, we lost our wind on Saturday and had to motor sail for the next 48 hours. During this period of time, what little wind we did have would swing from south to southeast to east and even to northeast and then back again. We were continually changing our main sail, which meant gibing the main and the preventer (used to prevent an accidental gibe) from one side to the other. On one occasion we had just gone through all the gyrations to switch, and then five minutes later the wind switched back to the other side. Steve never sleeps well when we are on passage, so with all the deck work plus the loss of sleep, he was getting a bit punchy by late Saturday.

Sunday was our anniversary, and we had planned to be in Tanna relaxing, but now we would be at sea for an additional 15 hours. As we were approaching Efate late Sunday afternoon, the winds piped up to over 20 knots, and we had rain squalls all around us. The good news is that our new radar unit works beautifully so it is easier for us to see how big the squall is and in which direction it is moving. The bad news is that going into a new port at night is bad enough, but the higher winds and unsettled weather raises the level of stress even more.

As night fell, the winds continued to blow, and we had some nasty looking squalls coming up behind us. We decided to drop the already reefed main sail so that we did not have to gibe it when we made our turn around Pango Point, but we did leave the jib up. Pango Point has some rip tides, and we wanted to be able to concentrate on the waves and not the sails.

Now in addition to everything else going on, the charts and cruising guides state that there is a light on Pango Point—maybe. Well, it is not there. They also talked about the leading lights that you line up in order to come into the harbor. In this case, two of the three lights were not working. Thank goodness for chart plotters and radar! Without these instruments, we would have had to heave to and wait for daylight, which we did not want to do.

As we made the turn around the point, there were some pretty big rolling waves coming up beside the boat. A few broke close to the side, but we were able to avoid getting soaked by any. It also began to rain slightly, which added another element to the mix. Anyway, we made it around the point, found our way into the harbor and through the port and starboard beacons. The quarantine anchorage was right at the end of the harbor so it was easy to find. We had our quarantine flag flying and would wait until morning to get cleared in. Scarlet O’Hara had arrived earlier in the day, so we pulled next to them and dropped our anchor in a lucky spot. It was 40 feet deep but got deeper as we were backing down on the anchor.

It was now 10:15 in the evening (but only 9:15 on Vanuatu time). We got the boat secured and picked up the cockpit a bit. Since it was our anniversary, we enjoyed a celebratory cocktail and then went immediately to bed. Steve, of course, slept heavily that night, and I didn’t have any trouble myself.

Monday morning we called Port control to let them know that several boats had arrived and would need to clear in. They told us that they would notify Customs, which they did. The Immigration official arrived at the boat, came aboard, and gave Steve the usual papers to fill out. She was very friendly and pretty reasonable about letting us keep most of our food items on the boat. Sometimes, they will take any fresh meat, dairy, fruits, or vegetables. That would have been a costly thing for us as we had provisioned heavily in Fiji where the items were cheaper.
After clearing Immigrations, we started the engine and moved to the Yachting World mooring field just a bit east of our anchorage. They have fuel, water, and laundry. Since we plan to be here just four or five days, we decided to stay on a mooring. We checked in and then headed to town, which was much more cosmopolitan than we expected. Unfortunately, the cruise ship arrived this morning, so people were everywhere. We made it a short trip.

We did find a tour to Tanna Island to see the volcano that included an overnight stay so we booked the trip for Wednesday and Thursday. We really wanted to see Mount Yasur Volcano on Tanna, so this will be how we accomplish that. Also, by taking this tour, we can go up to the volcano at night, which we would not have been able to do with the boat.

The last thing we needed to do today was to check in with Customs. The office is located at the pier where the cruise ship is docked, so we decided to take our dinghy the short distance around the bay. We arrived at the dock, puttered beneath the bow of the cruise ship, and found a very helpful security guard who told us that we could tie up our dinghy on the seawall. We then climbed up the concrete steps and walked into the Customs office. The officer there was also very helpful and friendly. The process went smoothly, and we were done in about 15 minutes. We were worried that with the ship in town, Customs would be swamped; however, it was no problem.

We took it easy for the rest of the day and then enjoyed some of our Mahi Mahi for dinner. Steve fell asleep around 7 o’clock so I decided to finish the blog tonight in order to post it tomorrow. So far, Vanuatu is a very nice surprise.

I have included some pictures from the passage. Steve with his latest Dorado, under sail with the moon setting, and Momi Bay--our last anchorage in Fiji.