06 October 2010 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
Sailing north from Port Vila around Devil's Point to Havannah Harbor , a favorite sheltering spot for the WWII Pacific Fleet, is a pleasant half day sail in the fifteen knot prevailing easterlies. There isn't much to do in the bay, but it makes a convenient stop on the way to or from Port Vila as you're coming or going from the north.
Next stop: Sesaki Bay on Emae Island. There is a small village here but we didn't go ashore here either - pushing on the next day for Lamen Bay, Epi Island. We rendezvoused with Cat's Paw VI, launching the dinghies for a shoreside walk and dinner ashore. Not much to do in Lamen Bay.
By the time we weighed anchor for Port Sandwich, Malacula Island, the wind was twenty five knots out of the East with seas to one and a half meters.
Fourteen boats are anchored in this very protected bay for the Island Festival. Festivities planned were an Island Feast followed by two local string bands. Better than Laplap, it was a smorgasbord of very tasty eats. Eating Island Style involves no tableware. You grab a banana leaf plate and load 'er up, eating with your fingers. Being nobody's fool, I grabbed two meat/veg skewers and had chopsticks!
The two string bands were very good. Guitars, homemade ukuleles, and a packing crate base. I hear they practice every day and make up their own tunes. Exposed to a broader variety of rhythms, I'm sure they could compete with the best pick-up bands anywhere.
As it's breezing up outside so we'll hold out for lighter conditions before making a break back to Port Vila. These little out island excursions are always interesting but tend to be downwind/upwind affairs. After a week, it's as good as it gets. We're out of here.
It was blowing SE 25 when we poked our head out of Port Sandwich. No going back. We were comfortable enough bashing into it with a double reefed main and half the jib rolled out. A couple hours later, near Ambrym Island, we flopped over on port tack and headed south. The wind had backed into the east and moderated to 20, then 15, making Port Vila tight but sailable angle for one tack for the entire 85 miles. And 20 hours.
Next blog from Noumea, New Caledonia