Monday, September 7, 2015

Anchored in a Crater

We left Losalava Bay on Gaua after a week filled with walks and interesting exploring. We made a slow sail back to Santo with a bit of motoring when the wind just died. We arrived late afternoon with an incoming tide back into our "home port in Vanuatu" Peterson Bay. We settled in for another great week in the flat anchorage with several trips up the river for fresh water showers and laundry!

On Sunday we left Peterson Bay to get out of the narrow channel during high tide and anchored just outside the bay for the night so we could get an early start the next morning. We left at sunrise, (after a bit of a hassle with our main sail furler), on our way to a new island for us – Ambae (pronounced Am-Bye). It was a 48 mile trip and we sailed a bit of the way but once in the shadow of Ambae – which is quite a high island – we had to motor. As we approached the northeastern tip of the island, the wind really picked up on our nose at it wrapped around the tip of the island. We saw near 30 knots in gusts.

We carefully entered the anchorage at Lolowai which is located on the edge of a water-filled old crater. We had to make our way over the edge of the crater – seeing about five feet under the keel in a certain spot. Unfortunately the two white triangle range marks to get in are overgrown – so it was impossible to locate the range. So we moved slowly and made it in – luckily tide was relatively high. We got in over the edge, the water got deep and we found a place to anchor in 10 meters of water. The crater is surrounded by high hills and a rocky ledge on the ocean side. We'll head into the small town today.

Ambae is a relatively small island, but quite high and has Mt. Lombenben (1496 meters) and has Manaro Volcano – one of the ten most active in the world. There are several crater lakes on the island – one is lime green and hot and the other is cool blue with a cold spring in the center. It is not a hot tourist spot for Vanuatu – but volcanologists like it!

We have never been here before - so it is always fun to see new places. We are exploring while we wait for decent weather to start or hard trek south.
At 9/7/2015 8:16 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 15°16.85'S 167°58.84'E

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