Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Road Trip

We managed to sit out the waves in Havannah Harbor when the winds shifted and came from the southwest.. Luckily they were relatively light winds and the fetch wasn't too bad. It was a pitch not a roll – so it was a tad more comfortable aboard. The holding is good here so we didn't worry too much about dragging at anchor. After two days of westerly breezes, we are back to the normal southeast trade winds and settled back pointing the right way and in a nice flat anchorage.

On Monday, together with our friends on "Lady Nada" we decided to take a local bus trip into Port Vila. We had one empty tank of cooking propane and they needed to desperately get some internet coverage. Plus we all wanted to check out the Port Vila mooring situation to see if there would be space for us. Anchoring in Port Vila is not recommended as the holding is not good and it is very deep.
We walked up to the road (about a half mile) to the main road and bus stop at about 8 am. We met two local school teachers at the bus stop and they filled us in on the routine. It was 400 Vatu per person each way. Better to have the right change because sometimes the bus driver will just take your money and not give you change. We were told where to catch the bus to get back and to ask for a bus to Moso Landing. After a 15 minute wait, a pickup came by and we all loaded into the back. It was a nice group of folks back there – we met a police officer, two pleasant women, and two other guys who had lots of info. Everyone exchanged names and as always, we learned a lot about upcoming events (Independence Day is July 30) and got a great guided sightseeing tour while on route.

We got off at the marina where we checked on mooring availability and learned about the facilities there. Not cheap – but they have garbage disposal, showers and water included in the price. It is also conveniently located. Then we took our propane tank to the fill station (taking a wrong turn only once AFTER asking someone). Unfortunately it was a steep hill wrong turn – but good exercise. We got the tank filled and then went to check on the parts that were to be delivered. We got an e-mail saying they were "there." But "there" meant in Vanuatu not necessarily at the "Fr8" (clever name) company. We checked out the local veggie market (though we had plenty aboard) and got some eggs. Had lunch out at a place that offered 45 minutes of free internet if you ate there. We took advantage but the internet was slow and kept cutting off so we didn't get as much done as we had hoped. No skype opportunity.
We then headed back to where we had to catch the bus for the long ride back to Moso Landing (it was about an 45minutes or so). There is a grocery at the bus stop so we picked up a few items and got in a van for the trip back. We were all loaded down with propane tanks, some groceries and our packs with computers. We were back on board at 4:30 pm and tired. Luckily there was an ice cream cone involved while in town!

We will take Astarte to Port Vila early next week. There is some big wind coming in a few days and it is in the same direction we have to head – so we'll wait until that passes. This is also a good place to sit out 20-25 knot winds from the southeast.

Today is snorkeling – before the winds pick up. Lots of huge turtles here – hopefully we'll see some while snorkeling. There are a few nice reefs around this anchorage – so plenty of spots to explore. But the water is quite chilly – so we'll need to get into wetsuits!

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