Friday, 31 August 2012

Arrived in Vanuatu

Well, after the last blog post the wind almost died and we slowed right down, so much for hoping for a Tuesday arrival. We could have maybe made it if we had motored the last 16 hours, but we didn't feel like burning all that diesel, so decided just to take it easy. We spent some hours just bobbing around in the swell, but then the wind came up again, then slowed down again. We had everything from 2 to 20 knots those last 24 hours. We hove to most of the night, or more correctly fore-reaching, for we still did 1-3 knots depending on the wind, but it was fairly comfortable, (for non-sailors, we set the sails so they oppose each other and we stay put into the wind only drifting a bit). We arrived in Analgawat on Aneityum (Atamon apparently is the old French word for the island) about 1pm Wednesday, 8 days after leaving Tonga and traveling through two time zones. It was pouring down rain and pretty cold, relatively speaking.

The local police (and customs) officer didn't come out to clear us in until the next morning, but then unfortunately the bank was closed, as it's only open every second day, so we had to stay another day, so we could get some money out and pay our entry fee. Just off the anchorage is a small uninhabited island called Mystery Island. Every month a bunch of cruisie ships stop here and the island is flooded by cruise ship passengers exploring a southern sea 'paradise island. The locals have actually set it up really neat and organised and they make a living of selling crafts, food, entertainments etc to the tourists. I haven't seen so many toilets since New Zealand! We had it all to ourselves and I went snorkeling on the adjoining reef, it was OK, but not spectacular, but I was also a bit limited by a strong current. Phil cut his finger on a fishing knife, so is trying to keep it dry until it heals.

Speaking of fishing knife, we caught no less than three tunas those last 24 hours before arriving here. First two small tunas in a row, we think they were skip jack tunas. These we gave to the customs officer because a little later we got a big beautiful yellow-fin tuna on the hook, yummy, so delicious. Unfortunately we totally forgot to weigh it, but it's the biggest we have caught so far.

Now it's Friday and we got Vanuatu money, paid the entry fee and have wandered through the village. Ni-Vanuatu (as the people are called) are very friendly and smiling, the kids all seem to play soccer, even girls too. Landscape-wise it's very different from Tonga, as here are huge hills/mountains covered in pine-looking trees (as opposed to Tonga's pretty flat coconut islands).

Assuming the foreast we're about to download doesn't come up with any surprises, we're leaving for Port Resolution on Tanna tomorrow very early morning, then it's volcano time! Apparently there's also internet there, so we'll try and get some photos uploaded so it's not just all this boring text.

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