Dream Caper is now ready for the black anti-fouling paint. The old bottom paint has been scraped off, she has been sanded and two coats of undercoat paint applied. She looks pristine clean!
September 12-16, 2011 Port Vila, Vanuatu
Monday: We had an enjoyable morning watching the US Open Women's Tennis Finals in the comfort of our apartment. We brought one of our bicycles from Dream Caper to show Lemara, an employee at the "marina". She decided to buy both of our twin red foldable bicycles for her twin 13 year old daughters. We are advertising items for sale, hoping to sell them before we arrive Australia. In the afternoon, we did a one-tank dive just outside the bay of Port Vila. After lunch we were picked up by Big Blue Divers and did one dive at Pango Cove dive site where the coral wasn't particularly great but Divemaster Marco pointed out two small nudibranchs, a Notodoris Minor (a 4" bright yellow with black dots nudibranch), and a Blue Ribbon Eel. We saw a pipefish, small shrimp in a carpet-like sea anemone that withdrew and disappeared down a hole when touched, and some large puffer fish. It was a very enjoyable dive.
Tuesday: It rained all day, almost non-stop. We stay holed up in the apartment watching the US Open Men's Tennis Finals.
Wednesday: We did a 2-tank dive this morning, one on the reef and one on a wreck which sank in 1987. It was enjoyable swimming through the various rooms of the wreck. We have enjoyed the 5 dives each we have done with Big Blue Divers. Between dives they serve coffee or tea with cookies and fresh fruit and there are usually 4-5 staff on every trip. Today, there were 4 staff and us, 3 paying divers. In late afternoon, we took the free ferry, only 1 block from our apartment, across to Iririki Island, a resort island we can see from our apartment deck. We played tennis on their fake turf courts mostly in the rain. This kind of surface can be wet during play and is not slippery. When the rain turned to a heavy downpour, we retired to the resort's large restaurant for happy hour and snacks.
Thursday: On our visit to the boatyard, we were told that due to the rain and cloudy weather, the anti-fouling painting and gelcoat repairs will not be completed until Monday which means Dream Caper will go back into the water on Tuesday, after 15 days on the hard. This is 5 days longer than planned, but this is a boat so it is not surprising. We visited with SV Tyee with whom we spent some time in the Tuomotus last year. John, Lucie and their two sons, from Canada, are also heading toward New Caledonia and probably Australia. They too are putting their catamaran up for sale. We find that many people like ourselves have gotten burned out from the many passages that they have had to make while cruising the S. Pacific.
Friday: We walked two blocks up the hill and played tennis on two courts next to the Melanesian Hotel. It felt good to get some exercise and to practice our strokes and serves. After a quick trip to the boatyard by taxi, Steve read and relaxed while Portia listened to continuing legal education internet courses which are required to keep her Oregon State Bar membership active. Since we have a reasonable internet connection in the apartment, Portia has been making a significant dent in the 45 hour requirement.
We saw a Blue Ribbon Eel just like this one today while diving near Port Vila, Vanuatu. What a beauty!
We went diving today and saw this beautiful creature. It was just like this photo and was 4 inches long. A most unusual sighting!
This is a "Flying Fox" bat. This cute fella is a regular item on local restaurants' menus.
September 7-11, 2011 Port Vila, Vanuatu
Daily we visit the boatyard to monitor the progress of the scraping and sanding of Dream Caper's bottoms, otherwise we are enjoying all the benefits of living on land. The open air produce market and supermarket are 2 blocks away, and the Brewery Bar and Restaurant, where we can watch tennis matches while eating a decent pizza or hamburger with beer, is across the street. We have cable TV in the apartment which has enabled us to watch the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York; a few mornings we were up at 4:00 am to catch some important matches. On Thursday, we shared a van and driver for a tour of the island with fellow cruisers from SV El Regalo, SV Leu Cat and SV Sea Mist. We saw a number of pretty resorts on the island, caves, gardens (where we saw caged bats), waterfalls, beaches and a funky World War II museum. On Friday, we did a 2-tank dive with Deep Blue Diving who picked us up on the seawall behind our apartment. We dove on the wreck of a small cargo ship, swimming through the wreck itself. The second dive was on two large bommies where we saw some colorful coral, a swimming eel, lots of colorful fish, and an odd sea anemone, about 10" square that totally withdrew and disappeared within the coral bommie when touched. This sea anemone was the oddest thing we have seen in a long time.
Dream Caper Salon
NEW PHOTOS POSTED: Click on "Photo Gallery", Albums: "Vanuatu" and "Dream Caper Photos"
September 4-6, 2011
Sunday: We spent the day taking interior photos of Dream Caper which are necessary for listing her for sale. We emptied one room, cleaned it, staged it with a vase, statue or large shell, took photos, put all of the stuff back in and moved on to the next room until we had taken pictures of every room. It was a lot of work because we have way too much stuff on board. We will post a few of these photos on the website so you can see how great she looks.
Monday: Late yesterday we motored to and tied up at a mooring located directly in front of the Port Vila Boatyard. Personnel from the boatyard came on board this morning but because the trailer that had been submerged to haul us out needed to be adjusted to fit the keels on Dream Caper, the haulout did not occur until the afternoon. In between, we filled the dinghy with dirty laundry, food items, computers, and clothes and motored to our apartment which is right on the waterfront next to the marina office. We only had to haul our belongings the fews steps to the back door of the complex and then up 2 flights of stairs. Portia stayed to unpack and do laundry while Steve returned to oversee the successful haul out of Dream Caper. At the apartment, we took wonderful showers letting the warm water run without concern. In the evening, David and Mary Margaret from SV Leu Cat stopped by for drinks after which we had dinner at the Brewery Restaurant just a few doors away and watched a US Open tennis match on their large flatscreen TV. We kind of like this living on land business.
Tuesday: We took the dinghy to the boatyard ferrying clean laundry to put back aboard and met with the staff to clarify what we want to have done to the boat. They had scraped much of the paint off one hull but it is hard work which we are glad we are not doing ourselves. After scraping off all of the old paint, they will sand the hulls and keel smooth, apply 1-2 coats of sealer/primer and then 2-3 coats of bottom paint. They will also do some gelcoat repairs on dings which have occurred over the years, fix some dry rot in one engine compartment drop-down flooring, flush the diesel tanks, and clean the engine compartments and fuel storage compartment. In the afternoon, we walked a few miles, round trip, to the tennis courts at the Port Vila sports complex where we hit the ball for about an hour during which time we discovered that we are terribly out of shape. After nice warm showers, we put our tired bodies in the large king sized bed which we can enter from both sides. Steve doesn't have to climb over me to get to his side as he does on the boat.
September 3, 2011 Saturday
After 8 years of cruising and almost 10 years of owning Dream Caper, we have decided to put her up for sale. It has been a wonderful adventure but we feel we are ready to "swallow the anchor" and stay on land for awhile. We are listing her with a few yacht brokers in Australia now in hopes of creating some interest in her before our arrival in October. Because of the strong interest in boats in general and especially catamarans in Australia, and the strong Australian dollar, we hope a sale will be made quickly. In the mean time, we continue to enjoy the countries we are visiting.
Saturday: At 3:00 this morning, Portia felt the boat move as if someone had stepped aboard. She ignored it thinking it might have been an odd wave but then she heard someone knocking. She woke Steve up and we could see from our berth that someone was standing in our cockpit! Steve, naked, charged upstairs, threw open the door, and asked what the guy, who was a local, was doing. He studdered something like, "I was just..." whereupon Steve yelled at him to get off the boat. The guy got off the boat, said, "Good Night" and motored away in his skiff. He left muddy footprints in the cockpit. We believe he was checking to see if anyone was on board and if not he would either break in or steal our dinghy which was hanging unlocked on our davits. Although out outboard motor is only a 9.9 Honda, it is in a casing that makes it look like a much more powerful engine and the cover is unmarked. Many locals have complimented us on our engine in the past thinking it is a powerful motor. This could be why this fellow was on board at 3:00 am. We always lock the front slider door on Dream Caper and close all of the large hatches when we retire for the night for security reasons. In hindsight, we would have turned on the bright cockpit lights, taken a photo, and told him to get off without opening the door. Steve's quick reaction was good except it could have been bad if the guy had had a knife or gun.
Besides cleaning up footprints in the cockpit, we spent the rainy morning on board Dream Caper researching yacht brokers in Australia, emailing them, determining what boat repairs need to be done prior to sale, investigating what marina in Australia would be best to berth Dream Caper, completing an inventory of the boat, and making preparations for moving ashore once Dream Caper is hauled out on Monday. In the afternoon, we went on shore to buy a few food items and discovered that almost all of the businesses had shut down at noon except the supermarket and open air produce market. In the evening, Brian and JoDon on SV El Regalo, who we had met in Ecuador almost 2 years ago, came over for drinks and dinner. It was a fun time catching up and enjoying a dinner of fried mahi with panko crumbs, pad thai noodles, baked barracuda, and fresh spring rolls.