Friday, July 3, 2015

Port Sandwich, Malakula Island, Vanuatu

Another place named by James Cook – this one for the Earl of Sandwich. It is not named because there are lots of sandwich shops on shore! In fact, there isn't a restaurant in sight – but you can buy bread here – either "Roc rolls" (large rolls made by Roc and Noella) or long french type breads in the town of Lamap about 30 minutes up the road.

We came here a few days ago – and the trip up was a bit adventurous. Though only 14 miles from Awei Island in the Maskelynes, it was not the best day to travel. Though thanks to some tides and current in the Maskelynes between the islands, we hit some speeds over ground at 8.2 knots! It was pretty squally and of course a good squall came as we were trying to get out a narrow pass. Between heavy wind, current and big seas, it was exciting! But all was good when we turned the corner and came into the cut to Port Sandwich. Once inside, the bay is very protected and was as calm as can be.

Today is the fourth of July in the southern hemisphere - but we probably won't see any fireworks....just lots and lots of rain. A tropical Cyclone Raquel, had formed in the Solomon Islands and is sending lots of troughs and clouds our way. Luckily the Cyclone was downgraded to a Tropical Storm this morning and hopefully it won't redevelop into anything further. It is passed Cyclone season, but Mother Nature doesn't follow calendars.

We were here last year and really liked this place. Yesterday, we went on a long walk to Lamap and stopped by to see Roc and Noella at their store near the anchorage. Then we went up the road a bit and went into the village where Odelia, her sister Madeleine, her brother Raphael and the kids were. It was great to see them again. Madeleine was very pregnant last year when we were here and she came aboard our boat – now she has a little boy named "Bill." She named him after Bill of Bill and Sue on the sailboat "Lady Nada." Pretty funny.

There are three boats here now...when we came in the catamaran Nalukai was here so we enjoyed an evening meal with them (Jeremy, Iona, Phoebe, Hattie and Willow). It was a fun night with the girls challenging Barbara in backgammon and beating her badly! They left the next morning so Barbara couldn't get her just revenge!

We're managing to collect a lot of rainwater – as the rain is steady and the day is gray. We will get to shore to pick up some promised eggs though!

Happy Fourth of July to all our American family, friends and fellow cruisers.

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