Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vanuatu Boat Repairs

A last reminder to get your May issue of "Blue Water Sailing" magazine while it's still on the shelf. One of Barbara's articles is in it. They also just bought another one for an upcoming issue.

After ASTARTE's long voyage south to Vanuatu, it's time to take care of some repairs. Michael has been busy working on installing a new alternator (and finding the right belts to fit which meant a trip to town and finding all the auto parts and hardware stores around!) The spare alternator uses a different length belt than the one that quit. He also has done some re-plumbing of water hoses that were leaking and fixed the main fresh water pump that supplies all our water to the faucets. The raw water pump for cooling the main engine has also sprung a leak – but unfortunately the spare (a pump we had rebuilt while in Panama) won't take the impeller. It seems when they rebuilt the thing, they messed up the shaft and the impeller won't go on. So we'll have to limp the old pump through until we get to Port Villa where they will hopefully have a machine shop. We also replaced the furling line that broke under way. The local large hardware store had some nice line that fit – though spendy – it was good to get the right replacement and have that project done. Next on the list is the water maker pump. Whew – the poor guy has been busy.

We are still in the Luganville area, just across the harbor at the Aore Island Resort moorings. We have enjoyed our first "shell" of Vanuatu kava at the resort the other evening. The taste is distinctly different than Fijian kava (that if you remember, Michael got quite fond of). It has a much more spicy, peppery taste – though it still looks like dirty water. It is supposedly much stronger as well – but we limited ourselves to one coconut shell's worth. It did numb the tongue. There was no ceremony with drinking this at the resort.

We will hopefully be off to a new anchorage in the next day or two. We will still be in the Santo island area, but explore a new place. We still have to get all the horse-neck barnacles off the boat – a project not yet tackled. We are both getting back to normal with good night's rest and the old bodies aren't aching quite as much.
Did a fresh market visit the other day and loaded up with the tastiest little tomatoes we've had in more than a year. Plus we got lots of tasty citrus – oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and limes – so we'll avert scurvy! Picked up some avocados and made guacamole last night that we enjoyed with locally made kumara chips. And thanks to the famous "Rosetti" recipe, we had fresh eggplant parmigiano with a delicious 50 cent eggplant! Eggs are pretty spendy here but the bread is freshly baked and very nice.

Vanuatu is known for its beef which is quite prized and mostly shipped to Japan. Supply cannot keep up with demand for the meat. We bought some at the local butcher and will give it a try. We did have some out at a restaurant (in a stir fry) and it was very tasty. Michael also got a $4 meal while out parts shopping that was steak and rice and he said it was very good as well.

One of the great joys of travel is to try the local foods and we have certainly enjoyed sampling the local fare and trying some new things.

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