Thursday, 13 September 2012

Enjoying city life in Port Vila

We have now spent almost a week in Port Vila. We didn't quite intend to stay this long, but the days have just passed by so quickly and there are so many things to do here.

We only stayed the first night on a mooring, then we moved to another area where you can anchor. We don't understand why so many people want to pay $14 a night on a mooring, when it's free to anchor. It's OK though, because it means we have a more room here at the anchorage and it's easy to find room to tie up dinghy onto the main water front wall. Max from the (yet another, they are everywhere) Christchurch boat 'Sunshine' even showed us the showers outside the toilet building near the dive place. There's no privacy, but late in the day or early evening there aren't many people around there, just a few ladies closing up their market stalls and they are used to us now and are very friendly. The water is cold, so Phil isn't as keen on it as I am. I'd rather have a cold shower than no shower.

We have had fun walking around town finding supermarkets. Supermakets here are actually real supermarkets (as opposed to Neiafu's 'supermarkets' which are basically diaries in NZ). We have been able to find almost everything we wanted so we're very pretty happy. Of course some (most really) things are more expensive, but that's to be expected. One French supermarket (Leader) has only French products and there are no English descriptions, so that was quite fun, since neither of us speak French. It had lots of good stuff though. We're pretty well stocked up now and should definitely last another while, of course along with all the NZ food we still carry.

When we left NZ we weren't sure we were going to go to Solomon, so we didn't buy a cruising guide, partly also because it's quite expensive ($107). We are heading to Solomon after Vanuatu, so we needed one, but they are not exactly selling things like that up here. Long story short ( was part of it), Phil ended up working one morning on Sea Hawk, a NZ yawl, (the slides needed new webbing) and in exchange, we got the cruising guide, as they aren't going to make it up there this season anyway. It was such a coincidence, but a lucky one, both for them and us.

We have also been to an outdoor 'museum', Secret Garden. It had a lot of Vanuatu kastom (maybe translated to folks?) stories about all kinds of Vanuatu things, as well as a few native animals such as fruit bats, birds, snakes and iguanas. The two latter we both got to hold, which was very interesting. Check out facebook for photos, as well as photos from Aneityum and Tanna (volcano!). One interesting fact we learned, which we have been wondering about as well, is why they drive on the right side here. Vanuatu got its independence from joint a French/English condominium in 1980, but back when they started having roads, they couldnt' agree on which side to drive on (so horse carts would almost collide). Typically French and English. When no agreement could be reached, it was decided that the next person that arrived on a ship and which ever side that person was driving on would be it. It happened to be a French priest, so right side it was and still is.

We are now sailing north to explore several more islands. We probably won't get internet until we get to Luganville on Santo, but we'll try and post a bit with the sat phone.

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