A Lightning Filled Sail to Port Resolution
12 October 2016 | 19 31.58'S:169 29.65'E, Port Resolution, Vanuatu
Yesterday we left Aneityum and its cruise ship for a short 50 mile day sail up to the island of Tanna. You may remember that we are heading to Tanna so that we can climb the active volcano, Mt. Yasur. That is coming tomorrow.
The sail started out quite boring, in fact. For the first 10 miles there was no almost no wind. But, then things got a lot better with a tail wind of 15-20 knots. Three boats were heading to Tanna: Speakeasy, Tranquilo, and Kiapa. As we closed on Tanna, we could see large squalls on the radar screen. Then, we started seeing fork lightning hitting the water. Lightning is always exciting - too much so! Tranquilo stayed to one side of the squalls, we were on the other, and Kiapa sailed right down the middle. At times, I could see lighting hitting the water on both sides of Kiapa! The thunder was loud and rumbled for ages with all of the strikes quite close, within a mile of two of the boats. For Kiapa I am sure that they were much closer!
It was pretty intense already when Tranquilo came on the radio saying that they saw a water spout to between us and them! A water spout, to be brief, is a tornado on the water. No fun! We all rushed to shorten sail in case it found us. But, shortly they called, the water spout dispersed and all we were left with was the lightning.
It all worked out, nobody was struck by lightning, and we arrived in Port Resolution Tanna safe and sound. The harbour here is a very nice anchorage. It is shallow for a change with about 10-15 ft of depth throughout. There is a little bit of swell finding it's way into the anchorage, but its more like a gentle massage than a violent roll. Of course, we are on a cat!
The shoreline is full of jungle with several steam vents on the beach from the active volcano just over the hill. We always know where it is because of the gray clouds billowing behind the anchorage. On the other shore is the most beautiful village of grass huts where the locals live. They even have a larger hut on a point of land that is the "yacht club." Keep in mind that I am using this term very loosely. They do sell beer although I am not sure that they understand their fridge no longer cools the beer! Tonight we are heading on shore to the yacht club for a pot luck and to watch the movie "Tanna" which is a Vanuatu tribal love story that was filmed on the island with local people. It is supposed to be a good film and one that was well received at a number of film festivals. We are looking forward to the warm beer that will surely accompany the film!
We've still got a couple of great stories to tell about a tribal birthday party that we attended yesterday plus a brutal 4x4 trip to the town of Lenakel where we had to pass through the volcanic ash fields & clouds. We may need to keep those stories to tell in person once we are home!
Tomorrow, it is up the erupting volcano. So, if you never hear from us again you can guess what happened!
Picture: Speakeasy and her welcoming committee in Port Resolution, Tanna