The Rest of Vanuatu, a little late!!!
07 February 2013 | Opua Marina NZ
Having arrived in Port Resolution (Tanna Island), we made our way to shore to find out about the transportation to the live volcano. After wandering around for awhile and realizing that no one was around at the yacht club, we finally headed down the road finding a village. After some conversations, we just thought we may have made arrangements, but we were not sure. The conversation had a lot of maybes and we’ll sees in it. We continued our walk through the rest of the village and continued down to a beach before we headed back to the boat. The next morning, we did go to shore hoping that transportation had been arranged. After waiting a wee bit, a 4 x 4 truck similar to a Toyota Tacoma arrived with several people inside, a group of French tourists. We got the privilege of riding in the back which was uncovered, through the misty rain and along rough dirt roads. About 45 minutes later, we arrived at the volcano, hiked up to the rim. It was cloudy, misty and the volcano was just blowing a lot of steam with a lot of thunderous explosion. It was actually quite spooky listening to the ground under you make such tremendous sounds. Only once did we see a couple of red rocks blow into the air in the two plus hours that we were there. We were glad we had some good pictures from our friends Ross and Roz on Worralwind. Fortunately, the return ride back had less rain, but just as rough. It was interesting to know that everyone is taught both English and French in the schools. At one time or the other, the British and French ruled Vanuatu so the locals were speaking both languages. Vanuatu has two official languages, plus the local pidgin language.
The next day, we moved on to our next anchorange, Dillion’s Bay at Erromango Island, some 50 miles away, where we just dropped the hook and spent the night without going to shore. We caught a couple small yellowfin tuna on the way so sashimi was in order. While we did not go to shore, the village has an interesting rock where a petroglyph was chiseled in the rock outlining Reverend John William’s body before cooking and eating him. Such history in these islands!
The next day we left early as it was a fairly long jaunt to Port Vila, 80 nautical miles. It was a good day for sailing and we made to Mele Bay, an anchorage across the bay from Port Vila. And happily caught a nice mahi mahi on the way, our favorite! We processed these fish in vacuum packed plastic food bags which keeps them quite well in the freezer. While in Vanuatu,we wanted to get some more Tanna coffee and heard that the Tanna coffee beans were roasted and ground in Mele. To our pleasure, we found the place easily. It was an old mission remade into a coffee processing and sales outlet. All of this in one small building, one oven, one grinder, bags of raw coffee beans, packaging table and their retail outlet. The person who manages the place is actually from Tanna. From the coffee beans produced, they only have enough coffee to sell within Vanuatu. Their goal is to find more places to grow coffee beans and then export. Fortunately for us, we were able to by 25 bags of ground coffee and 4 bags of coffee beans. We did this over two visits and were recognized and given some free expresso to drink while we were there. We actually planned on staying in Mele Bay for a couple of more days, but a severe tropical storm was moving in. We actually though we were anchored well, but the ferry shuttle to the resort and another boat informed us we should leave as it gets really ugly when the winds come from the west. Off we went to Port Vila and arranged a mooring ball with difficulty as most of the moorings had been assigned to local boats for when cyclones hit. The activity was quite interesting with all the resorts moving their jet skis and small boats tied together in a line, being towed ten at a time. The wharf was cleared of boats by placing them on mooring ball. A cruise ship was to arrive at Port Vila, but canceled because of the tropical storm. We waited and we waited and no storm, everything went east of Port Vila. It is difficult to know what direction tropical storms move making various changes as they build depending often on the highs and lows and the convergence zone.
Because we arrived in mid November, there were hardly any other yachts around. With coffee now aboard, our next stop was the liquor stores to arrange for duty free liquor. It had been quite some time since we have been able to purchase reasonably priced grog. Chris from the USA arrived, having asked if he could come and crew on a passage with us. Food for passage was made and we were ready to go back to New Zealand for a third time!!!