Port Vila, Vanuatu
Ahoy from Port Vila, Vanuatu!
If you managed to follow us on yit.nz, you’d have read that – by and large – we had a pretty good passage from NZ, considering it was the middle of winter and weather windows at this time of year are more like louvres than bifold doors! The wind didn’t shift aft of the beam the whole trip, so it was mostly beating to windward in 20-25 knots or motoring, but the seas weren’t too big which made it bearable.
We arrived in Aneityum, the southernmost island of Vanuatu, on July 9, feeling pretty weary since it was just the two of us on the trip. We were greeted by our friends on Field Trip, with fresh island bread, pawpaw and coconut, and more palm trees than you can poke a stick at! It’s a very pretty village and anchorage and the local ni-Vanuatu people are really friendly. The Field Trips had already been there three weeks, and had been adopted by the village – their son Michael was even attending the local school!
It’s incredibly remote (no internet, hence not posting our arrival) yet, bizarrely, it’s more ‘connected’ than most places in Vanuatu, thanks to the idyllic little island across the lagoon referred to as ‘Mystery Island’ (see above photo, thanks to Mark on Field Trip and his drone). It’s the most-visited place in Vanuatu: 180 cruise ships a year stop by and offload their hordes for a day at the beach. While we were there, two arrived, a day apart.
Since we’re so far behind ‘schedule’ (such as we have one), we didn’t stay that long, and headed north via Tanna and Erromango Islands and arrived in Port Vila the day before yesterday. We had a great couple of days sailing on the way up – finally! – and Damian caught a cracker of a Spanish mackerel, which has been feeding us (and friends) for the past four or five days.
Erromango was an interesting stop. We met Chief Jason and his son, Junior, who took us to see a cave full of human bones. Erromango is legendary for its historical hospitality customs, as in ‘Come for dinner!’…. where the guest is on the menu. The caves had a lot of bones scattered around in varying states of decomposition, including a number of skulls, all with perfect teeth (obviously from before the white man’s sugary diet was introduced!) and a corroded belt buckle that had presumably once belonged to a tasty European. Fortunately for us, that tradition hasn’t survived and the locals are now well fed and friendly!
We’ll stay in Port Vila for a few days – we’ve got a few jobs to do, and it’s likely to be our only opportunity for reasonable internet for the foreseeable future. We’ll then start to make our way north and hope to catch some of the marvelous festivals that Vanuatu hosts each year.
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