In other news...
08 October 2013 | 15 02.183'S:167 05.004'E, Port Olry, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
So, we've been busy the last week or so, and haven't gotten around to posting. Upon leaving Pentecost, the home of land diving, we sailed to Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo. We caught two fantastic yellowfin tuna along the way. Great sushi, great seared tuna, great hawaiian poke -- the prize of the pacific.
While in Luganville we anchored of the Aore Resort, which is a nice little place to hang out, nice food -- especially the steaks. For those who don't know, Vanuatu is know for its steak, as there is now a fair bit of cattle farming here -- principally for the Japanese market. The coconut crab is outstanding too. Last time we had coconut crab was Suwarrow.
We spent most of the week diving and getting ready for our big passage to indonesia.
On Tuesday we dove million dollar point. Vanuatu was home to a couple of US bases during world war II. It was a support center for battlefields such as the Solomons (Guadalcanal), which is a short distance north. After the war, the US dumped a massive amount of equipment including tanks, jeeps, trucks, and pretty much anything you can think of, into the water off million dollar point. The scale of it is fairly mind blowing. Turned out to be pretty deep dive for the 4 of us -- 97 feet. Well worth it. I think it starts to put something tangible into Stephen and Rivers minds regarding WWII.
Next we spent an entire day checking out (customs and immigration) and fueling the boat. This is unfortunately a pretty common occurance in remote part of the world. (laundry can be an adventure too....)
After that we did 2 dives on the President Coolidge, which went down here in 1942 after running into friendly mines because the captain was impatient. Its a pretty massive vessel--nearly 700 feet. And it lies from a depth of about 75 feet to nearly 200 feet. Absolutely fantastic diving. Big guns, live amunition lying every where, helmets, suit cases, dishes, medical supplies, Tanks, yes tanks, small firearms, loads of airplane fuel tanks. Bottles still full of their original contents. The ship was abandoned very quickly so almost everything was left. And this is a remote place, so everything was left untouched, more or less. Deep dives though. Both dives were about 100 feet. And this is deep to be going inside such a big wreck. We limited it to 100 feet so Stephen could dive with us. Otherwise we'd have gone a fair bit deeper. They have it set up well with decompression hang out areas underwater, so you can stay down for a bit. Otherwise the bottom time at such depths would be pretty short.
Next we headed up to Surunda Bay to find dugongs. We didn't see any, but we found our friends Jesse and Zari on Maaliwalas, and shared a nice lunch on a beautiful day in a beautiful anchorage. We'd seen dugongs off Ambrym, so we weren't too disappointed. The following morning we were off to Peterson Bay. Another lovely anchorage, and a great place to hole up if the weather gets nasty. We took a long dinghy ride up a jungle encased river to find a blue hole. Stephen and Rivers really enjoyed the rope swing from a really big tree. That night we had a fantastic meal at the Oyster Island Resort, and were able to spend a bit of time with our friends from Imajica.
Then today we sailed from Peterson Bay to Port Olry, via Champagne beach. Champagne beach often shows up on lists of the worlds top beaches. It is, in fact, beautiful. But we prefer remote beaches with no signs of humans. Champagne beach is great but it is now basically cruise ship day stop, with buildings that are abandoned until cruise ships arrive and then they get filled with cheap crap to sell to the cruise ship passengers. So, we quickly left champagne beach and sailed up to Port Olry. A stunning harbor with a gorgeous beach -- and nobody here :).
But the stop will be short. Each day we have been running through checklists before our next passage which will be 2400nm to Indonesia. Today Amy and the kids cleaned the bottom of the boat, and I did some engine maintenance, some watermaker maintenance and topped the hydraulic fluid in our steering. Then I wrote this long winded crap.
Oh, and we caught a nice mahi mahi today thanks to rivers. She suggested I wear our hat with a mahi on it this morning -- and it worked. Beautiful and delicious fish.
Tomorrow, early, we will set out for the Banks Islands for a couple days, then off to the Torres Islands for a couple, then we leave for Indonesia -- so we will be at sea for close to 3 weeks. There happen to be a couple of remote atolls along the route, so we may pop in for a night or two of rest and to break up the trip.
Ciao for now.
P.s. thanks to all who've been leaving comments. We enjoy them! We often don't see them for a while after they are made due to our connectivity issues...but we do get all of them.