Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Moving north and catching up

We ended up staying a whole week in Peterson Bay, mostly because of too much wind and a fair bit of rain. Another reason we weren't moving was because of other cruisers: Sagata (Phil and Leslie from Wellington), Proximity (Elizabeth and Rod from California/Germany), Maia (Fran, Mark and Matthew from Dunedin) and Blue Bie (Phil from Switzerland). It's the most socialising with other cruisers we have done since Tonga. This is very nice, but it also means we don't get much interaction with the Ni-Vanuatu people, so it's nice to have a balance of both, which I think we have managed quite well so far (easy when we have often been the only boat in our anchorages).

Peterson Bay is one of the nicest places to be stuck, especially when it blows, as it's an extremely protected anchorage, so absolutely no rolling. It has the two beautiful blue holes I already wrote about, two resorts and it's a easy ride into town. One of the resorts (Turtle Bay) has a circus show regularly, or they do when the owner is around anyway. It was really cool, very low key and casual, but still really good and perfect for island circus. Phil learned to do Devil Stick on fire when he spent a year at polytech in Nelson, and he brought them along and was allowed to do a little show afterwards. It's the first time I have seen him do it, and he wasn't bad at all, only dropped the fire stick a couple of times and almost lit up a couple of kids sitting on the ground, but, never mind, it was pretty cool, see facebook for photo proof.

On our way north we stopped at Hog Harbour which has one of Vanuatu's most famous beaches, Champagne beach. Some cruise ships stop there, so there was fancy toilet buildings again, just like Mystery Island and Wala Island. It is a really pretty beach, it has the most amazing fine, soft and white sand and super clear turquoise water. Phil's Dad, Ron, cruised through the Pacific 12 years ago and also anchored at Champagne Beach. He fixed a radio and installed a switch for one of the local guys in the village and told us to go look for him. Armed with his name this was very easy, but the cool part was he still remembered Ron. One of his daughters showed us where to get bread and meanwhile they set up a table for two. When we returned, Phil and I were placed there as guests of honour, while the family sat on a bench across from us and just watched! The daughter had also bought a bread, and so we had tea and bread. We saw the radio and the switch that Ron installed inside the house and were gifted two beautiful Lava Lavas that they make (to sell to cruise ship passengers) and of course coconut and banana. They were just super nice people. They were probably also the most well off of Ni-Vanuatu people we have met, the house was made of concrete and had proper floors and they had a car. It it only half and hour or hour's drive into Lunganville and I guess cruise ships generate a good way of income. Cain and his wife walked us back to the beach and came out to Sophia for a quick visit (it was now dark) and we found a few gifts for them also.

We have now sailed further north to Gaua which is part of the Banks groups, the most northern part of Vanuatu. Here we were greeted by no less than 5 canoes that came out even before our anchor was down, all young people and kids just curious to check us out. Depending on the weather tomorrow we may go into the village in the morning. Next we're going to Vanua Lava from where we're going to clear out of the country.

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