Sunday, June 1, 2014

Palikula Bay

We are still on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, but have moved around the corner from Luganville to a pretty, secluded anchorage known as Palikula Bay. We are anchored amongst some bommies in about 40 feet of water. When we came into the bay, the visibility wasn't great, so we didn't try to go too far through the reef system. It is very pretty here, surrounded by heavily wooded island land and clear water of various shades of blues.
We are anchored far enough off the land to avoid the mossies (mosquitoes) which are a bit dangerous in Vanuatu carrying either dengue and malaria. We put all our screens in at night to keep the little pests out and so far have not had any issues. We hope to keep it that way!

The beaches are pretty here and lots of locals came on Thursday to play in the water as it was a holiday in Vanuatu. We thought it would have been busier over the weekend, but just a few beach goers were around. Did a bit of cleaning of the water line – displacing all the horse-neck barnacles and checked out the hull. All was good below the water line after the long passage. Did a bit of a swim around the reef nearby as well and saw lots of small colorful tropical fish and one nice patch of what is known as "cabbage patch" coral. It looks like rows and rows of bright green heads of cabbage. It has been pretty overcast the last few days and if it clears we'll do more snorkeling around. It's nice to get back in the water.

We're slowly catching up on boat projects. The marine mystery of the back solar panel not putting out any power has been solved – a blown fuse! So now we have wind and solar from all three panels helping to replenish the batteries. The fridge seems to be running more often so we are using a bit more power. The Link 10 battery meter is acting up though – or at least we are thinking its the meter – as it is telling us we are using much more power than we think we should be. When everything is off – it still reads that we are using 7 amps. We continue to try to figure out that marine mystery as that is an important tool for us. Michael also replaced the antenna wire for the SSB radio. Now we just need some good rain to get the decks totally de-salted and gather some fresh water to get some laundry done. There were no laundromats in town – and the only way to get laundry done was through a hotel and it was quite spendy. So we'll await the rain or a fresh water river.

Yesterday, while safely at anchor in our little bay, we watched two boats sail by in the Diamond Passage headed towards Oyster Island/Patterson Bay. It was awfully late in the day to get there with all these reefs around. And sure enough, around 5 pm, the VHF came alive with "Segura" on a reef, soon followed by "Lark" on a reef. It really shows how dangerous this area is when you don't have good visibility. Luckily, both got off the reefs and we hope both vessels are still okay. It sounded stressful listening to it from afar.

We were planning on heading that way today ourselves, but it is very overcast, so we think we'll wait until tomorrow. Don't want to be a third boat on the reef.

Happy first of June!

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