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exploring the dream
The Rest of Vanuatu, a little late!!!
02/07/2013, 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!!!

At last, arriving New Zealand
02/07/2013, Opua Marina NZ

The last evening we were abreast of the North cape of NZ and as the sun went down and the wind increased, coming up to 25 gusting 30+ from the NNE. This was a broad reach for us, one of Pincoya's best, and the windvane was still working although requiring frequent babysitting. Good thing, because the seas got quite rough, 3-4 meter, and water was coming in the side and back. Plus that night we had two ships near us we had to watch and avoid. The night wore on and as morning arrived, rain was added to the wind cocktail. We arrived outside 9 pin rock, the entrance to the bay of islands, and turned in. The wind was now on the beam, we're heeled right over, with even bigger waves coming in behind us. Hand steering was required and difficult, with wind turbulence caused by the nearby land masses. Fortunately within the hour, the seas mellowed in the bay and we motor sailed into Opua, eating the last of our expensive bacon.

After clearing in, we went to our mooring ball and tied on, where we have been since, doing boat jobs. Boat jobs so far have included replacing the standing rigging, new batteries, 2 new solar panels, new anchor chain and a 73 pound Rocna anchor. Willis has remade the 130 genoa with cruising laminate, tri radial design, and alterations for our boat. Doyle is repairing the blade jib. South Pacific canvas is making us new bimini and dodger. The salon and aft stateroom floors have been sanded and revarnished and many more small jobs like cleaning out every compartment on the boat to remove the sanding dust.

We may not get back to this blog until we approach June, when we anticipate departing NZ for French Polynesia going east along the 40th South Latitude hoping for westerlies, uless, of course, something exciting happens. Cheers till then.

Onward to Norfolk I
Gene and Gloria
12/02/2012, 400 miles from New Zealand

Not really, but it seemed so since we passed within 60 miles of it on what we are now calling the Round About Passage. Because we were driven SW for 6 days when we wanted to go SE. But it was good wind with ok seas, fair sun and we made a lot of miles with more than half of them south. It was a beautiful day for a sail. Finally, the wind shifted a little to ESE and we were able to miss Norfolk I which is Australian. As close as Pincoya will ever get to Australia I think! Fourish, the wind shifted to ENE and we were able to lay Opua finally. We've been learning more about weather patterns and found out that a low is coming up from the Tasman Sea and bringing these more northerly breezes. However first the high has to pass by and there is no wind under it. We have been motoring for 12 hours now and may need to motor another 12. In these sunny calm seas with no wind, we have been reading, working on the boat, cooking, cleaning, and generally catching up. Especially since we are told that a storm will hit us on Weds, which is hopefully the day we arrive in Opua. But not before we get to pay more rough weather and seas dues! We have been fortunate to have nice full moons so our night watches are not so dark. Hoping for more wind tomorrow in the right direction and green flashes at sunset, we carry on.

01/23/2013 | Joan Ganz
You make it to New Zealand yet? Haven't seen a new post in a while. Hopefully you two are just having too much fun to take the time for another chapter in you log book!! All is well here, another low snow year so far. Installed Digital XRays in the office. Neil loves them! Joan
Opua take three
Gene and Gloria
11/30/2012, Anatom Vanuatu

On the way to Opua, take three

Throw the mooring lines off, get the official paperwork done, and get Chris R on board. Of course, it was raining. But the overall forecasts were favorable and Bob McDavitt, our weather router, agreed. It was smooth sailing in the bay; however, when we hit the open sea it got ugly. Turned out to be blowing ESE 25 to 30+ and we were down to the third reef in the main and the staysail only. And the usual complement of things went wrong like the staysail furler being stuck. When that happens I have to go forward and sort it out; especially nice when it is rough as the ocean tries to wash you away and you get to hang on for dear life. It didn't take long for all of us to start feeling queasy and Gloria and I were very seasick even after taking Stugeron. Chris was also ill but less. We all put Scopalamine patches on but it was too late for Gloria and I and our first two days were pretty miserable. We are just now on the third day able to do the computer and much down below besides being horizontal. Happily the weather has moderated and the sun has come out, yaaaaaa!! To make it even more exciting, the autohelm autopilot packed it up the first night at midnight, a disaster. So I got to rig up the monitor windvane (I had worked on it in Port Vila), It actually did work, good thing. This is a first for us. After three years of attempting to use this, it was working, a breakthrough. When we get to the doldrums I will look at the autohelm, hopefully it will recover. If not, for gentle conditions I can rig up a tiller pilot to help out. Onward, nothing stops us!! We spent some time trying to get the foresail from flogging; Chris was a big help here. But we were without success; I will be talking with Doyle Sails regarding when we get back. So far, nothing on the fishing lines, which only went out today, Weds, since we were not up to dealing with one earlier . We certainly chummed the fish well though.

Day 5 We are still being driven S by SE winds, thankfully lighter and calmer seas. In fact, we had to motor several hours last night as the breeze dropped below 10, not enough for us to sail. Today we have 14-18 from the SSE, a poor direction for us as we are currently steering about 215 in the direction of Oz. This morning, Gulf Harbor Radio indicated we should get more favorable winds soon, let's hope! We caught a nice wahoo this morning and will have a bbq at sea this evening; I've already remounted it. We are done fishing for a while now as we have a lot of food Gloria has prepared in advance which will be confiscated in NZ if we don't eat it. The tiller pilot is rigged to the steering wheel now and is working very well, whew! Sure glad all these alternative steering systems are working. Tried the autohelm again but we think there is something wrong with the course computer. We were going to replace it and the display in NZ anyway. Just got to get there! All is well at sea; blue skies, puffy white clouds, smooth seas, and lighter winds are making a great day for sailing. Our boat is crusted with dried salt and looks like an ad for a salt company. And we have finally got our sea legs and all of us are eating again.

Arrived to Anatom
Gene and Gloria
11/14/2012, Anatom Vanuatu

We arrived in Anatom just after noon day 3, 3 days and 2 hours after leaving, great time for Pincoya traveling around 7 knots. Unfortunately, no more fish. On arrival we spotted Sunny Girl and Imagine who had checked out of Lautoka 2 days before us. Turns out they had arrived Sat, the day before us, and had already checked in, and could give us heads up about the check in process here. No, they don't paddle out to us in a canoe as indicated in the cruising guide. We would dingy in Mon morning. We spent the afternoon working on cleaning up Pincoya both inside and outside, after this short but somewhat rough passage. Salt crystals were thick on everything outside. Sunny Girl, Mike and Tess from Australia, invited us for dinner on their huge brand new catamaran along with Imagine, Tor a Norwegian with son and friend on a 49 foot Hallburg Rossy. Turns out they and Imagine are going to Noumea, New Caledonia tues; we were glad to get to know them before they left.

We thought it interesting that at check in, the officials didn't offer anything about their island, even that it is a marine reserve. This is a very protected anchorage area, about 12 meters and we sure liked being still again. Tuesday a cruise ship. This village controls small Mystery Island with an airport, near our anchorage. It is fixed up as the perfect reception for 2000 cruise line people, with an improved trail around the island, many pit toilets, a market area, bbq-food area, and tourist trap things like a giant pot labeled cannibal soup with one of the locals painted up and sitting in it; for a fee, get your picture taken with him! Unfortunately, the market items were mostly trinkets that looked like made in China, not local handicrafts. We bought a modest shell necklace made by a local, and a piece of cake like food made I think of cassava with plantain banana layered in the middle. Both for under $2 US. The day warmed up, sunny, and we were thinking time to go snorkeling.

Back to the boat, a short rest, get our stuff, and only got part way before the motor conked out and we had to row back to Pincoya. Happily, some Clean R Carb spray took care of the problem without having to resort to tools! We continued our exploration out to the barrier reef, well inside it. They had a small mooring set up which we tied to and looked around at a quite nice reef, with lots of beautiful coral, some large clams, and many fish with some new ones we haven't seen before. Later we untied and drifted downwind toward Mystery I and thoroughly enjoyed out snorkel. There were more ginat clams, tons of sea cucumber and other fish. The sea cucumber typically has been very sparse as the locals harvested and sold to China and Japan. Glad they made it a reserve. Then it was back to Pincoya for a well deserved glass of wine after hanging out all our gear and taking showers. Our plan was to leave the next morning for the N end of the island, and then leave for Tanna on Thurs.

After a blustery start, we departed Anawhat bay in 25 to 35 knot winds from the SE fortunately for us a down wind sail, so we scooted right along. Had out all the fishing lines but the fish only laughed. We arrived at what we are calling Itch bay and anchored in 8m sand. A bit rolly, but less windy in here. We can't spell or pronounce any of the names of places here. But when you ask locals their names, they'll say Keith, or Tom; interesting. We got the dinghy packed up and tied down, the jib sheet retied to the jib, and are pretty much ready for the 40nm trip N to Tanna and Port Resolution bay where we will hire a driver to take us up to the rim of the active volcano.

11/16/2012 | Kenneth Newell
Hey boys and girls!

Saw your blog today and realized we haven't caught-up in a long time. Lori and I are living in Melbourne and I'm a working stiff again...shoulda been a dentist eh?

Anyhow, drop a line when you get good internet again...Port Villa most likely. Be sure to do the Volvan at night on Tana! Also buy some of that good Tana coffee.
11/20/2012 | Jim s/v Escape
It's great to keep up with you on your wonderful blog. Vicarious grand adventures! I'm soon on my way to Escape in Dania Beach, FL.. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sea Legs
Gene and Gloria
11/10/2012, The deep blue sea between Fiji and Vanuatu

Sea Legs Day 3 Today we finally feel we got our sea legs back, which is helped by the wind and seas lessening. To keep up speed, we unfurled our jib and went from second reef main to first reef main. It is a beam reach and our speeds have been great with a possible arrival in Anatom, Vanuatu, tomorrow. Maybe the new bottom paint is slicker! We have been passing our time reading now that we feel better, and no fish have been interested. Guess yesterdays fish passed on the work to laugh at our lures. The clouds are a little more today, but it is still blue skies, puffy white clouds, and salt spray as we plunge through the waves and seas at 7+ knots, great for us. We're looking forward to getting in, taking showers, washing Pincoya, and resting after our first passage in 6 months. And checking into Vanuatu, we heard the customs guy comes out in a traditional canoe; we'll let you know about that soon we hope

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Who: Gene Dennis, Gloria Watson
Port: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
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