Off On A Lark!

Sailing Adventures In The South Pacific

Vessel Name: 'Lark'
Vessel Make/Model: Malo 38
Hailing Port: Port Townsend WA
Crew: Brad Nelson and Linda Attaway
Extra: 'Lark' at Lape Island, Vava'u Tonga
25 September 2014 | From Port Vila, Efate-Vanuatu
25 September 2014 | 13 43.530'S:167 29.348'E
25 September 2014 | Port Vila, Efate - Vanuatu
30 June 2014 | Sola-Vanua Lava Island, Vanuatu
25 June 2014 | 14*18.720'S 167*25.928'E
19 June 2014 | 15*02.163'S 165*05.045'E
04 June 2014 | Oyster Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
19 May 2014 | On Board Lark
26 April 2014 | Funafuti, Tuvalu
26 April 2014 | Funafuti, Tuvalu
15 January 2014 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
17 December 2013 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
03 December 2013 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
19 May 2013 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
31 December 2012 | 7 06.199'N 171 22.381'E
24 December 2012 | 0 28.604'S 173 29.013'E
04 December 2012 | 05*40.431'S 176*07.184'E Nanumea Island, Tuvalu
18 November 2012 | Funafuti Atoll 08 30.823'S 179 11.707' E
17 November 2012 | Funafuti Atoll 08 30.823'S 179 11.707' E
17 November 2012 | Funafuti Atoll 08 30.823'S 179 11.707' E
Recent Blog Posts
25 September 2014 | From Port Vila, Efate-Vanuatu

A Bit Of Insight

I thought it might be good to give a bit of insight about life in Vanuatu. Guess it also applies to many of the other islands we’ve visited. Most of the island countries are small and scattered about. Not much in the way of economic opportunity that wouldn’t be disastrous to their environment. The [...]

25 September 2014 | 13 43.530'S:167 29.348'E

Tivitwut

Our cruising guide has no information for Tivitwut but since Lytlewut is the next village over and we had some coordinates we headed there. We stood off for a bit assessing the entry and what we could see of the anchorage and as soon as we made the decision to head in, we spotted a fellow seated on [...]

25 September 2014 | Port Vila, Efate - Vanuatu

So Far Behind That I Don’t Know Where To Start

We’ve been in Vanuatu almost 4 months now. It’s been a cultural experience that is almost beyond words. They say that the Ni-Van are the happiest people in the world and I wouldn’t question that for even a minute. You’d be hard pressed to not get a big smile or the raised eyebrow greeting [...]

30 June 2014 | Sola-Vanua Lava Island, Vanuatu

Rockin & Rollin' In Sola

After a memorable week with the villagers on Gaua in Lakona Bay, we had a great sail to Sola on Vanua Lava last Monday. About 15 knots of wind so we were here by mid afternoon. It's good we arrived when we did because the weather went downhill within 24 hours. We've had strong gusty wind, buckets [...]

A Bit Of Insight

25 September 2014 | From Port Vila, Efate-Vanuatu
Linda
I thought it might be good to give a bit of insight about life in Vanuatu. Guess it also applies to many of the other islands we’ve visited. Most of the island countries are small and scattered about. Not much in the way of economic opportunity that wouldn’t be disastrous to their environment.

The Ni-Van we connect with here are subsistence farmers who have family land that is passed down through the women. They can grow everything they need and have what we see as an excellent diet. Pigs and chickens are common and Vanuatu is famous for their beef. We haven’t seen many cows in the more remote areas. Unfortunately they’ve been introduced to white rice which too often becomes a staple because it’s cheap and quick to cook. In the more populated towns they also have access to a fair amount of western junk food that contributes to obesity, diabetes and garbage from the packaging. Cooking is done over the fire in large, heavy duty pots. The diet is pretty repetitious and root crops like Taro, Manioc, Wild Yams and Kumala (sweet potatoes) are used in most everything.

Most everyone here is very fit. They walk or paddle their dugout canoes everywhere. Many of the gardens are a mile or two from the village and often way up a steep hill. It’s an everyday activity and the whole family usually goes on Saturdays. You’ll see little kids toting bundles of firewood or bags of coconuts. Everyone carries a huge bushknife! Even the little one’s. Sunday is church and a big meal.

Many of the women have hand crank sewing machines and most of them need repairs. That keeps Brad occupied as soon as the word spreads. They can buy calico if they know someone going to a place with a shop or when the supply boat comes. Generally speaking their clothes are well worn, torn and really sad. Shoes are rare.

The government funds education through grade 6 and after that it costs about $750 a year to send a child to school. The primary or maybe only source of income is from copra. Collecting the coconuts from your trees, carrying them to where you’ve built a wood fired oven for drying, husking them, splitting and drying. Then you wait until the copra boat comes (who knows when that might be) and get paid the going rate per pound (which is trivial) for your efforts.

So, to summarize my thoughts on life here, they have great food, shelter, family, a great climate (except for occasional cyclones), beautiful mountains and surrounding ocean. What they’re lacking is access to education and medical care. They’re proud, happy, generous people and we’re happy to be here and be part of their families.

Tivitwut

25 September 2014 | 13 43.530'S:167 29.348'E
Linda
Our cruising guide has no information for Tivitwut but since Lytlewut is the next village over and we had some coordinates we headed there. We stood off for a bit assessing the entry and what we could see of the anchorage and as soon as we made the decision to head in, we spotted a fellow seated on a paddleboard heading our direction. He said we’d be much better anchored at Tivitwut and to follow him so we did. Cliff (our new friend) paddled across the 1/2 mile or so like a rocket with us in plodding pursuit.

No sooner were we anchored close to shore in more beautiful black sand, when he came to the boat and wanted to know how soon we’d be ashore. The village was anxiously waiting to perform their welcome ceremony. Within the hour we’d launched the inflatable kayak, were on the beach with garlands around our necks, enjoying their singing and watching the young boys wrapped in vines doing a dance for us. They swept us up so fast that I didn’t even have time to get the camera out!

Tivitwut is a village of about 12 people, that sees very few yachts. The letter we’d come to deliver was for a family member who we discovered was currently living on Moto Lava which is a several sailing hours away. After safely tucking it away for her return later in July, we were invited to return for a meal that evening. That meal turned into many meals, weaving lessons, sewing machine repairs (Brad’s specialty), walks to the other villages, lots of laughter, having my very short hair braided again and again until my scalp screamed and charging more cell phones on board than you can imagine.

They kept us well stocked with passion fruit, papayas, island cabbage which are large leaves that grow off a stalk, yams and snake beans. We reciprocated with, pencils, paper, clothes, fishing line, hooks, batteries, etc. and shared music from our Ipod. Most everyone has a cell phone that they use for texting and listening to music. We still laugh when we’re walking out in the bush and come across someone with a bag of coconuts over their shoulder talking on the phone.

We stayed for at least a week and every day I expected to see King Kong emerge from the clouds hovering over the lush green mountain behind the village. He never materialized but the clouds did disappear at one point and the view was spectacular.

Having gotten permission to visit the Reef Islands just to the NE and with the weather forecast predicting almost dead calm we said our goodbyes and prepared to move on. It’s hard to explain how difficult it is for both sides to say goodbye even after such a short time.

So Far Behind That I Don’t Know Where To Start

25 September 2014 | Port Vila, Efate - Vanuatu
Linda
We’ve been in Vanuatu almost 4 months now. It’s been a cultural experience that is almost beyond words. They say that the Ni-Van are the happiest people in the world and I wouldn’t question that for even a minute. You’d be hard pressed to not get a big smile or the raised eyebrow greeting from anyone you meet or pass on the street. We love it here.

The last time I blogged was from our first stop in the Banks Islands on Gaua. I think I mentioned helping prepare a flyer for their first Kastom Festival at Lakona Bay to be held in August. We didn’t get to join in but have been told by both yachties and the villagers that it was a great success. We’ve already prepared the flyers for 2015 and highly recommend attend if you’re in the neighborhood. Traditional canoe races, food, dancing, singing, magic, cooking, weaving and water music which is is played only on Gaua. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. A group of 4 to possibly 20 women stand in waist deep water near the beach (which is stunning black sand). The music is made using varying techniques of slapping and moving the water. All beautifully orchestrated. I can’t wait to be able to post some photos.

As an aside, the volcano on Gaua blew around 2007. Residents of the villages of Dolav and Ontar that we visited, as well as many others were forced to evacuate to another part of the island where they lived until 2009. In that two year period both their homes and gardens were lost to the overgrowth of plants, vines and ash. Traditional construction still prevails using bamboo, natangura and indigenous trees lashed together with vines. The bamboo is scored into flat panels and woven to create a very strong wall. They’re often very creative in their use of materials and occasionally you’ll see the bamboo painted for a different look. I’m not sure where they get the paint!

We departed Gaua saying we’d be back in about 3 weeks and made a day sail to Sola on Vanua Lava which is the government seat for the Banks Islands. Our assignment there was to meet the head of tourism and pass on the flyer for the Lakona Bay Festival and pick up some supplies for Chief Richard’s little store in Ontar. That quick stop lasted about 5 days. The weather turned less than desirable just after we arrived so we sat tight, enjoyed our visits ashore and socialized a bit with a French single-hander who we were moored next to.

As soon as conditions improved we headed on north to the village of Tivitwut to deliver a letter we’d been given by a yacht back in the Marshall Islands.

Rockin & Rollin' In Sola

30 June 2014 | Sola-Vanua Lava Island, Vanuatu
Linda
After a memorable week with the villagers on Gaua in Lakona Bay, we had a great sail to Sola on Vanua Lava last Monday. About 15 knots of wind so we were here by mid afternoon. It's good we arrived when we did because the weather went downhill within 24 hours. We've had strong gusty wind, buckets of rain and a lot of swell rolling into the anchorage for the past 6 days. When there's been a break in the rain we've gone ashore to walk and beachcomb but we've been pretty much holed up on board. That means playing card games, bananagrams and plenty of reading. We have lots of books on board and every time we finish some and pass them on to other yachties we get more in return!

In spite of the rocking and rolling we've been doing a lot of baking and also had our neighbor, a singlehander from Brittany in France over for dinner a few nights ago. He has a rat that has taken up residence on board and has borrowed a local cat in hopes it will be hungry and devour the stowaway. Bon chance Francesco! As soon as the weather clears up we plan to sail just a bit north to a village called Tiviwot and deliver a letter to a couple there from friends on a boat from Alaska that visited them last year. We'll also get permission from the village chief to visit the Reef Islands that are close by.

Hoping everyone had a nice 4th of July celebration. We had fun thinking about where we've spent each of the past five. I think making our landfall on the island of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas after the 26 day passage from Monterey across the Pacific in 2009 tops the list.

It's been several weeks since we've had access to internet so if you've emailed we're not ignoring you!
Position Reports
'Lark''s Photos - Bora Bora
Photos 1 to 15 of 15 | Main
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Garbage Barge
Waterfront Homes
Linda With Bora Bora In The Background
Goin
Nice Digs!
View Towards The Reef
The Secret Snorkeling Spot
Brad At Work In The Aft Lazerette
Local Transport
Studio Alain Despert Above Matira Beach
View From Alain
View From The Studio
Bora Bora Yacht Club
Sunset
Another Quiet Sunset Viewed From Kattywompus
 
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