Mice & Men
09 September 2010 | Between Port Resolution and Port Vila, Vanuatu
Mice & Men
With the big high in the Tasman Sea starting to squeeze the isobars over Vanuatu, it was time to head out of Port Resolution. Cat's Paw IV was stopping in Dillon's Bay Erromango while we were planning to go straight to Port Vila, Efate Island. Well, the best laid plans of mice & men... As the wind died with the setting sun, so did our engine. A quick appraisal uncovered a dead fuel pump - one thing for which we have no spare. Cat's Paw had one, as the engines are identical but we were six miles offshore with no wind.
By morning we'd managed to make ten miles in twelve hours. A temporary fix using a spare outboard priming bulb spiced into the fuel line got us the ten miles back to Dillon's Bay and Barry's spare pump. One squeeze every ten seconds kept the engine purring, but I wouldn't want to do that for more than an hour or two. Max.
So, we made an unscheduled stop at Erromango! I'm glad we did. One of the locals gave us a quick tour to the Sandalwood plantation which provides income for the island. I managed to trade a gallon of gasoline for his chainsaw for a pair of boar tusks (selling for as much as $250 in the Port Vila market).
The next day we were invited to watch families making Laplap, the traditional Island meal either pumpkin and taro root, banana and cabbage and tapioca and taro leaves. It was quite a process, with the whole thing mashed into a mush which is wrapped in banana leaves and buried in coals and hot rocks to cook. Served with rice and a nanny goat stew, it was quite tasty.
The weather was starting to kick up a bit on our third day there so we upped anchor and set of for the overnight run to Port Vila. It was a bumpy ride with 25 kts and 2.5 meter seas but the wind and waves were all from behind, making it a fast, dry.... bumpy ride.
Once we were in the lee of Efate, the ride smoothed out and with the dawn, the harbor opened before us... with a cruise ship bearing down from behind! It's all good. They won't run you down on purpose. Another turn and Port Vila revealed itself to be a fairly modern little city. We'll be here a week or so before sailing on north to Espiritu Santo.