Oyster Island Resort
18 October 2009 | Santo Vanuatu
Oct. 18, 2009
It's still shaking here in the South Pacific. There have been more quakes this past week in Samoa, Tonga, and Indonesia, all more than 6.0. The earth is groaning, sputtering, telling us that something is going on! We strategize by anchoring deep with plenty of chain.
We dove the Coolidge again. This time we penetrated cargo holds one and two. The first thing we saw was a huge tank inside. It is hard to comprehend how they even fit the thing through the hold and down below. Next, we saw an area where there were big GMC trucks with full cabs and beds for either carrying troops or supplies. I looked at about 3 of them all in a pile. Apparently, they were lined up in a neat row before the quake that disturbed the wreck in 2000. Now, they're helter skelter in there. Moving on we saw several jeeps. The section they were in had a very cool electric clam right at the entrance. I had never seen anything like it before. It actually has an electric current that is a complete circuit all along the lips of the clam, very wild underwater! I didn't touch it, of course, but I wanted to see if it would really zap a person. We turned off our lights and suddenly, all around us were about 20 or so flashlight fish with their strange glowing appendages moving about like little blue incandescent bulbs everywhere. My maximum depth inside the wreck was 120ft. We only stayed down for about 25-30 minutes at that depth exploring the holds then moved out and back along the deck making our way to our decompression stop. It was a great dive. I wish I could spend another week exploring all the areas of the ship.
Million Dollar Point was crazy. There is so much junk down there! It's hard to believe that some crazed irate general dumped all that equipment in the ocean. I guess he really didn't want the French to get their hands on it! There were piles of engines and axels, the remains of many vehicles once intact. There were big caterpillars and forklifts, a lot of building supplies. I didn't spend a lot of time looking around. I've never been a big junkyard fan and an underwater junkyard doesn't do much for me either. Clint was a bit more interested, but he's not a big fan of diving on wrecks and junk. Abbey didn't really care for it. There wasn't much reef development on the stuff and only a few fish.
We topped off with fuel and water, provisioned, and checked out of Vanuatu to move on to the Solomons. We said our goodbyes to special friends aboard Meridian, Tin Soldier, and Airstream. Today Gerrie and Barry caught up to us at Oyster Island and have decided to travel with us up to the Philippines. We are checking over systems, preparing our routes, and looking at weather for the next 3 to 4 days. Gerrie and Barry need to go into Luganville to get diesel and check out, so we will probably all leave together on Tues. morning. We should have a nice sail up. It will be about 700 miles, a 5-day trip to Honiara on Guadalcanal.
Another friend of ours, Brad Hall who Clint met a few years ago in Taiwan, had flown into Nadi when we were in Fiji and spent several weeks with us and now has flown to Luganville and is staying at the resort here to spent some more time together. He may join us on the passage to the Solomons just for the fun of it all. Clint has been taking Brad in the dinghy to fish outside the reef. He caught a big 20lb. red snapper last night, so we all had dinner together on our boat. Brad was a bit freaked out about eating it because the resort manager here said that the fish inside the lagoon have ciguatera. Clint thought they caught it outside the reef system and that it would be okay to eat. I don't know if it was because we prayed over our food in faith that no toxin would affect us or that the snapper didn't have it, but we didn't get any symptoms. I'm not keen on eating any more fish from around here though. I'm certainly not into presuming on God's graces to keep us well. Ciguatera is a nasty neuro toxin that may present with minor symptoms as numbness of lips to severe symptoms of paralysis, coma, and death. So, there you go.
We had a nice cut of Vanuatu beef for lunch!
The resort we're anchored off of is owned by a Kiwi that we met while we were sailing with the rally from New Zealand to Tonga. He also owns a ranch here with about a thousand head of cattle. It's a little different anchored in a beautiful bay with clear water bordered by white, sandy beaches and gorgeous palm trees while hearing loud "Moo's" and seeing bulls and steer on the shore. Somehow it's a bit of a disconnect from Old MacDonald's farm.
Well, next time you hear from us should be enroute to the Solomons. Until then, love from the Glennys