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Cruising the South (and North) Pacific
Big Day!
rob
07/20/2011, Port Resolution, Vanuatu

Hi All, So guy and I got up at 0530 and were in the dinghy on the way to shore by 0700. We found Stan( the man) and met a young lady (Adelli from Sweden). She had just come off the boat Infinity anchored next to us after 5 wks of doing research and educational stuff on global warming. She was en route to the airport( 3 hr drive from Port Resolution) to go home. We tagged along in the back of the truck along with 8 other locals.. This time however there were no seats so we all stood up and hung on for dear life to these metal pipes as we dodged tree limbs and pipes over head on the main "road". We dropped off people here and there until they dropped us off near Sulfur Bay where the John Fromm village is located and they have this awesome hot water stream which drains into the ocean next to this huge black sand beach lined with @ 20 home made wooden outrigger canoes. I took off my shorts and took a bath in my underwear as others were doing laundry or bathing or just lounging about chatting. After visiting the village and trying to understand the guide who spoke poor english, we headed home ( 2hr hike) over the back side of the active volcano,Mt Yasur we visited yesterday . You could hear the thunderous explosions of the volcano as we walked through this amazing tropical forest with huge banyan trees, Mango trees ( out of season) and plantations where they farm the land for Taro , yams ,sweet potatoes, bananas, Kasawa or Manioc and Kava. We passed through multiple small villages where everyone lives in the traditional grass roofed Bures and of course were all friends or relatives of our guide( Stanley). He came out to the boat for a snack and a Fanta. Beer makes him sleepy. We showed him around , fed him a bunch of cookies ,gave him lollis and pins for the kids, and then spent the rest of the afternoon pulling up the stern anchor and preparing for our departure in am. Got to get to bed, bye for now. Rob

Mt. Yasur-Wow!
rob
07/20/2011, Port Resolution, Vanuatu

Hi all, So we got up this am to the sound of thunder in the background, only it wasn't thunder it was mt. Yasur going off. I thought i would wash the deck off of ash so I could exercise, but the Rose said she couldn't bare to be so dirty so I ended up washing the entire boat despite the fact it was still raining ash. This huge boat Infinity then comes in and anchors too close to us. Now I have a stern anchor at the bow with the prime anchor all tangled up as we have been going around in circles for 2 days now. We decided to forget the anchors and went to this slick little "bungalo" called rocky Island. No one was there but it looked like a nice place ( not luxurious but very local. i.e. small little rooms with thatched roofs) .There is a beautiful beach there where we talked to some surfers from New Caledonia. The walk down to the beach is very picturesque. We met Stan ( The Man ) on the way back to confirm our trip plans to Mt Yasur. The normal driver is 7th day adventist and won't drive on Fri. or Sat. So we got this colorful fellow named Fred who drove us along with 10 other people in the truck bed to The Jungle Bungalo where they were staying. We then headed up to the mtn. The roads are so bad it is unbelievable. Somehow we made it to the entrance where you pay 2,500 Vatu about $30. US each to see the volcano. I thought alas, at least we will have a nice road now. Wrong, the gov't takes 1/2 the profit but they do nothing in the way of infra structure maintenance. Even the steps up to the volcano's edge were in a terrible state of neglect. You would think there would be some rangers or guard rails or at least warning signs to stay away from the edge of the Caldera, but, no, there was only a small post office box offering to send your letters to wherever. We walked around the craters edge to get upwind from all the ash that was falling all around. It was @ 5 pm when we arrived. The volcano was going crazy! It sounded like they were bombing London or Berlin, etc. The sound was deafening! It was so different from the big Island where the lava flows slowly down to the ocean creating lots of steam. Every few seconds there would be an explosion and a huge plume of smoke and ash would ascend from the caldera. As it got dark, it was like a spectacular fireworks display, only it was pieces of molten lava shooting up into the air 100m from where we were standing on the rim. My thought was only I hope we don't have an earthquake because he whole side of the volcano could easily cave in where we were. Guy took lots of pictures, the battery died on my old camera. We got back to the "yacht club" where the dinghy was only to realize that we had forgotten a flash light and it was pitch black and we needed to get down the cliff to th dinghy. We stumbled about a bit until luckily some girls from the new boat ,infinity, appeared magically with a torch and saved the day for us. Tomorrow we hope to get to the sulfur springs and perhaps see the " John Froom" village. Great Day! Love Rob. Guy and the Rose

spewing ash
rob
07/20/2011, Port Resolution, Vanuatu

Aloha, So we had a vigorous shower last night as this low pressure trough moved up from the south. So we awoke early this am to go to the sulfur springs and do some hiking. We were expecting to find a nice clean boat all bathed from the nights showers. But,alas , when we looked outside the boat was covered in a layer of black ash and sludge. Amazing ! The wind had shifted 180 ' over night and was blowing ash from Mt. Yasur all over us. It looked like rain with poor visibility so we decided to skip the 0700 drive to the springs and instead spent the next 2 hrs cleaning the boat. The ash gets in your eyes and throat, and by the time we were through it was obviously a chore done in vain as the ash continues to fall. So we spent a rather nice relaxing day reading about mercury engines, Vanuatu, and Guy downloaded some of our movies for one of the local lads with a DVD player. Now, its 1300 Vanuatu time and the wind has picked up to 20 k out of S. The stern anchor is now holding the boat stern to the wind which as you can imagine is not an ideal situation and particularly hard on the stanchion it goes around. So, its off to turn the boat around and make the stern anchor the bow anchor. Good Fun!, Love as always, Rob, Guy, and the Rose.

made it !
rob
07/20/2011, Port Resolution, Vanuatu

Hi All, Just a couple corrections to the last blog. The waves were 8' , not 8". The Mahi weighed 9 kg or about 20 lbs for you imperial types. So we arrived about 4 PM local time aided by a 1 hr time change. The anchorage was full of boats ( sailboats) which was a shock to us. We were expecting to be the only boat in the bay. We had to anchor closer to the entrance since it was so crowded. Some boats had stern anchors out which also limited the free space. We anchored without difficulty in this nice bay and immediately started rocking and rolling as the wind proceeded to circle around out of the NE thus coming straight into the bay. So, we found out the truck to the customs office in Lenakel leaves at 0700 every am, so we set our alarm and went to bed. We got up at 0530, and rushed about getting everything together. We jumped in the dinghy and the engine conked out after running nicely for about 10 secs. We started paddling to shore when Lory, Treen , and Russell came buy to tow us to shore. The ride to Lenakel will never be forgotten. It has to rank as one of the worst roads in the entire world. The ruts and holes and creeks and rivers we crossed would send shivers down your spine. Alas it was a beautiful trip. We drove passed the active volcano across the ash planes etc. and miraculously arrived safely despite a sore ocole from giving up my nice cushioned seat to this sweet old lady to sit on this hard board in the truck bed . Naturally the customs officer was no where to be found so we wandered around town for hours waiting for the return trip. He finally showed up and we were able to finish clearing in, but then the truck went to the garage for repairs so we were stuck again. Finally, everything worked out, we grabbed some groceries from the market and off we went for the 2 hr truck ride home. We got back to the dinghy just before dark, and now the motor refused to start at all, so we paddled back to the Rose. Exhausted, we had dinner about 9 pm and went to bed with ear plugs to blunt the racket from the rocking about. Hopefully, if all goes well we will go up to the volcano tomorrow. Hope you guys are having as much fun as we are. Stay tuned, the rocking Rose

Mahi Time!
rob
07/15/2011, Underway

Hi Ya'll, we are currently 320nm from Vanuatu and closing fast. Had a wild rolly ride yesterday with 20k winds and 8" seas. Finally calmed down enough this am for me to put the big Jib back up. We caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi @ 15nm out of Fiji yesterday. I managed to gaff him with my makeshift spear pole duct taped to my small gaff. Had a huge piece for dinner. Rascal broke my hook trying to get it out of his mouth. Had quite a time cleaning him with all the rocking and rolling and lurching about, but finally got it done just before dark with guys help. Wind is down to 15k now but still making 6k. Be Good, love, the rocking Rose

Cleared out
rob
07/14/2011, Momi Bay

Aloha, Well, after 2 hectic days of preparation, we got the repaired genoa back, retapped and lengthened the bolts in the pedestal, and refueled. We were only running 2 hours late when we arrived at Lautoka to clear out. However Hasim became very upset with me when I couldn't produce some coastal clearance form which I apparently was supposed to have gotten before leaving for the Yasawa group, I apologized profusely, and after much scolding he finally cleared us out. By this time ,Guy had run off to find some critical provisions we were needing, only he was gone so long I had to wait for 30 mins for him to get back to the dinghy so we could leave. So now we are running 3 hrs behind schedule. Meanwhile , Hasim looked on suspiciously. He did everything except take a picture of the Rose . As a result, we were afraid to stay anywhere nearby and so at 1630 we took off for the 4 +hour trip to Momi Bay. We arrived here safely at 2045,and are now anchored and preparing food for dinner and the crossing to Vanuatu. We leave first thing in the am after getting the motor off the dinghy and deflating the new paddleboard. Had a nice motor sail down here at sunset. Wind is about 15k out of SE, hope it holds for the crossing. I'll let you know how it went in 4-5 days after we get to Port Resolution on Tanna I. Have a great day!, Rob,Guy, and the Rose

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