Latitude: S 17 degrees 32.97 minutes
Longitude: E168 degrees 17.04 minutes
Our adventure through Vanuatu continues and we have made it to Efate Island, the most populated of the Vanuatu chain and the center of government in Port Vila. The island is twenty five miles by eighteen miles in size and has a few good harbors.
We left Epi Island at 0930 for the 75 mile trip to Efate's Havannah Harbor (spelled with or without an "H" at the end depending on which chart or guide book you use!). We would be heading south-southeast and knew about the north flowing current. It would take several tacks to get here so we gave ourselves plenty of time to make the distance so we would arrive hopefully at first light the next day. We ran into lots of "crazy water" along the way – current, winds and tides creating mysterious eddys and waves. We did sail and it was relatively comfortable and pleasant – though not speedy. But that was okay except for fish catching!
Along the way we saw several pyramid shaped islands in a row. You can really tell this is volcano country! Arriving at Efate you could see the highest point, Mount MacDonald and the green hills with the sun rising behind them. We chose to enter the harbor through he larger of the two entrances and then backtrack to Esoma Bay where we would anchor. This is a very protected anchorage, way up the harbor with good holding in about ten meters of water.
Our friends on the catamaran, "Lady Nada" left Epi after us (by about fourteen hours!) and arrived ahead of us and were at anchor when we arrived. They motored when they went below seven knots and entered into the narrow cut saving about eighteen miles. But it was funny to see them already anchored! We saved the fossil fuel and were happy to have sailed 90% of the distance only motoring in and out of the harbors.
After the considerably rolling anchorage of Lamen Bay on Epi, it was nice to spend the first night in a very flat anchorage with hardly a wavelet to disturb our sleep. The wind did shift the last few days to more westerly – so we are getting a bit of a pitch through the anchorage now – but feel like the holding is good and the wind is under 15 knots.
After arrival, we met some of the local villagers (Frank and Linda) who would sell you fresh vegetables. Sue had already bought a lot and we split some of her cache loading up on a stock of bananas, some green tomatoes, "white bone" (bok choy), corn on the cob and a cucumber. We also got asked if we wanted to come in for a Melanesian Feast the following day. We agreed (for 1000 Vatu each – about $10) and planned for a Saturday afternoon event. There would be five us. Saturday came and we all went in only to find out it was canceled. All dressed up and no feast to be had – bummer.
We hope to get to Port Vila over the next week or so where we will have good internet (hopefully), fuel, propane and some city-time. The moorings however aren't that cheap, so we won't stay there long – just long enough to get our stuff done and pick up a few packages we had shipped in with some boat parts. We'll wait here until we know the packages have arrived and then we'll head into the big city!
Can't believe we've been in Vanuatu just about two months already!
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