After a sail from Fiji on the first of September, we have been exploring the central islands of Vanuatu. The islands are about 900 km from north to south so you can spend a lot of time here and not see all of it. We have only seen Efate, The Maskelyne Islands, Epi, Lamen Island and a little of Malekula.
We have had some wonderful experiences with the ni-Vans on the different islands. They are so friendly and eager to show us their villages and share their culture. The children have been fascinated by the photos we have taken on the iPad and then shown them. Even the adults were puzzled by the technology and wanted to have their pictures taken!
For a week, we traveled with S/V Starblazer and met a number of other cruisers. Then they headed off to Ambrym or Pentecost and then to Espiritu Santo. We were searching for the cannibal ruins and cultural center on Malekula in the Port Stanley area. Unfortunately, we did not succeed due to the anchorage conditions in Port Stanley and the high winds. We were not comfortable leaving the boat all day unattended. In fact, we did not think we could safely lower the dinghy in the wind.
Our suggestion is that if you want to find the cannibal sites, you should book a land tour out of Port Sandwich or some other place as the approach from Port Stanley did not seem desirable. If others know how to do this, please let us know so we can try again next year.
So after a hard day of beating. we manage to get to a bay just 16 nm south of where we started, having to go somewhat north to get an angle to the southwest. The following day was much better with strong winds but we had a better angle to head south. We made it down to a southern anchorage on Epi and spent the night. Leaving at 0630 the next morning, we managed to get into Port Vila that day. We flew along at 7-9 knots SOG! It was a fun wild ride!
We saw S/V Caduceus heading to Havannah Harbor as we approached Devil’s Point and had a radio chat. When we arrived in Port Vila, we saw S/V Firefly and S/V Hebe in the mooring field as well as some other yachties we have met along the way. It is such a nice feeling to see others you know! Once again, we dined at the Golden Port Chinese restaurant; this time with S/V Firefly and S/V Hebe (Jane and Andrew were at Havannah Harbor Resort).
There is a system passing through this weekend so everyone is hunkering down in the outer islands while those of us in Port Vila are preparing to head to New Caledonia, probably on Tuesday. There are to be high winds on Sunday afternoon and evening. We are looking forward to getting together with everyone in Noumea, New Caledonia in a couple of weeks.
Sherry and Dennis Day