Tall Ship exploration of South Pacific Vanuatu

Trip Start Jun 05, 2003
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Trip End Nov 10, 2003


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Sunday, September 14, 2003

September 15, 2003, Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Northen Vanuatu.
Here is my tall ship journal for the 10 day voyage through central Vanuatu, southbound from Santo through dark and tropical islands to the capital Port Vila:

Thea and I headed to the markets on a 0600 hrs inflatable boat from Soren Larsen's anchorage to try and find the freshest possible produce. By 0730 we were fully loaded with greens, papyas, tomatoes, bananas and pumpkins! We made a stop at the local butcher, rumour has it that Santo Beef is the finest in Vanuatu, we'll see what the crew think! By 0900 we found our way back to the ship, which was alongside Luganville wharf waiting to fill up with water. Just after 1030 seven new voyage crew joined our repeat offenders Emil, Syd, Brian, Joe and Bill.

Captain Tod cleared customs while crew gave tours of the ship, after introductions to the new guests joing for their holiday aboard, we ate lunch. By 1630 we had dropped the pick in Palikulo Bay, the humidity for the past week or so has been very high and so we were more than eager to hit the water once the swim ladder was rigged. Marita, Gary and myself splashed around in the water trying to catch up to a turtle that was gracing us with his presence.
In the morning, those keen climbed aloft and had a briefing in sailhandling before our 30 mile motor towards Ambae Island. Unfortunately the wind is blowing directly from where we want to go, so it looks as if we may be motoring a bit more than desired. In Vanihe Bay there was a dense green rainforest set on a black sand beach, voyage crew took the opportunity to swim and walk along the beach before the evening meal.

September 17: We motor sailed towards Maewo Island, upon arrival there were several other yahts arriving at the same time, from what appeared to be a daysail with locals. One of the yachts had the ringing of Ni-Vanuatu voices and the strumming of guitars, it was an awesome welcoming to the beautiful anchorage. The majority of the crew finished the work day and took to the water, I cut my thumb the other day and so am quite gutted that I can't swim for a few days?it's so Humid, ahhh! The following morning there were trips ashore to hike the hills and bathe in the waterfall's fresh water pool and later that evening attendcustom dancing. Chief Nelson and his son Nixon prepared a wonderful evening for us, there was, in my opinion, one of the best custom dancing displays that we have seen, followed by an abundance of great food. We were then invited to drink kava and enjoy the sounds of the local string band!


September 20th we had an awesome sail, no motor used?finally?.to Ambrym where we anchored off the Hot Water Beach. We were ferried ashore where we dipped our feet where the tepid stream met the ocean, very soothing! Seems strange to be soaking in hot waters when the sunshine is so hot that one cannot even bare to walk on the black sand without burning the bottoms of the feet! Needless to say it was well enjoyed. We weighed anchor and motor sailed towards Banam Bay of Malekula Island.

Today, the 22nd our bird-watching voyage crew, Joe celebrated his birthday?we had a BIRD-DAY party/fancy dress in celebration. While groups took to hiking to the waterfall and later on enjoying custom Penis Sheath Dancing, those back on board took part in HERMIT CRAB RACING! Sonia, Fraser, Mikkel, Marita, Troy and I each picked a crab and after drawing a chalk start and finish line, we set the athletes in their places and waited in anticipation for the creatures to come out of their shell and race?.Fraser's crab one twice in a row, he rewarded the winner with one of my smoko cookies! Maybe the salty air is getting to us, someone mentioned the other day that it is only 7 more weeks until civilization, I guess we should start mentally preparing!
We went for a short journey to Epi Island, where there is a tame dugong to swim with. Voyage crew gathered up their snorkel gear in hopes of finding the sea cow, unfortunately there were no sightings.

The following morning, September 23, crew had the opportunity to go for a snorkel and we were lucky enough to swim with a lonely little sea turtle as well as a multitude of brightly colored fish hiding in the coral. By 1330 hrs we weighed anchor and began our passage south towards Efate, with the winds blowing from the southeast we motor sailed into the wind. By 0600 this morning, I was awake, or should I still awake for the night was a long one, and made my way up on deck to see the Mele Harbour in clear view. We anchored off Hideaway Island and enjoyed a calm breakfast at anchor. Tod and Marita went ashore to find out the possible day trips for voyage crew and came back with a list of options, including snorkeling to the underwater post office and posting a waterproof postcard!

Crew worked at ridding the ship of salt, polishing the brass and looked forward to time ashore. We will be spending ten days in Port Vila doing some ship's maintenance before our voyage to New Caledonia, and then on to Auckland, in this time crew are each given three days off. I am looking forward to this, as I will be taking my Open Water Dive Certificate at Hideaway Resort! A big hello to family and friends and the journal will continue in ten days time once our new voyage crew join, see you then!

Noreen (Daisy) - also see www.sorenlarsen.co.nz !!
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