Monday, 15 October 2012

Arrived in Solomon Islands

We have had a fast passage, about 200 miles, which took us 48 hours, but we were actually slowed down to only a scrap of head sail half the last night as not to arrive in the dark. We have had winds from 5 to 20 knots even gusting up to 29 knots, though mostly around 15-20 knots. A highlight was catching a small skipjack tuna just outside Ureparapara, first fish in almost 3 weeks since Malekula. The police officer in Sola did say that they had a problem with Asia fishing boats illegally fishing in Vanuatu waters, but they don't have any boats to go stop them, so there's not much they can do about it.

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention in the last blog that in Sola both police and customs officers had been to NZ and loved it. The police officer was educated at the police academy outside Wellington and had been stationed several places in NZ (and PNG, told us NOT to go to the highland and cities there!). The customs guy had been playing tuba with the army band, being based in Canterbury, but had visited many places in NZ with the band. They were both very happy to talk about NZ with us.

Back to our passage. Weather wise it was interesting that we had several showers-squalls during the day time, but none at night, but on the other hand, we had some lightening at night, especially the first night, but we never saw any at day time. Lightening is not good when you're a sail boat with a tall mast, but it did seem to be far away from us and upwind and we could never hear any thunder, Strange. Anyway, it meant that our most important electronics, such as a handheld gps, vhf, spare computer and sat phone lived in the oven the, whole time, as that is supposed to possible save them (faray's cage, not sure, can't google it?) in case of a lightening strike (which in lucky cases only take out all electronics, unlucky being when it makes a few exit holes in the hull). The moon was being particular unhelpful as it only rose about an hour before sun rise and then only a tiny sliver, so it was pretty dark nights with only some stars.

Now we're in Graciosa Bay on Ndende. We are anchored by in Shaw Point, directly east across the bay from Lata, as it's the most safe and comfortable anchorage. And comfortable it was, no rolling whatsoever, bliss after so many days of constant movement. Unfortunately the bridge to town is washed out, so we couldn't walk to Lata as we had hoped, but instead we caught a ride with a small local (church owned) boat across the bay to Lata. Normally you can't officially clear into Lata, but only kind of provisional, but when walking across town looking for the police station, we were approached by three different guys, three times. The custom and immigration guys happend to be in town because a cruising ship is arriving this afternoon and finally the quarantine guy also found us. They were all super nice and shared the same office, we came to see them after we had been at the police station/

Two things to indicate we're in a new country: betel nuts and canoes. Here they don't drink kava, but instead they chew betel nut! It makes their mouth and teeth blood red and it isn't exactly attractive. We have even seen 10 year old kids and nuns with tell tale red teeth! Around the streets are these red splatters on the ground, making it look like lots of accidents happen, but it is just betel nut spit! The dugout canoes differ because they don't have any outrigger, they are just plain single hull canoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment