Vanuatu! - 19:06.301S 168:56.796E

Alex Belmont
Sat 15 Sep 2012 21:49
The last couple days of the passage from Fiji to Vanuatu were pretty rough. Wind howling through the rigging, confused and breaking seas, you get the idea. The roughest part was actually not the weather (Moondance takes that in stride), but what it did to our plans. We intended to make our first landfall on the island of Anatom, so we slowed down on Wednesday night in order to make a safe entrance to Anelghowhat Bay early on Thursday. Unfortunately, with the big swell, the entrance to the bay was more than I was willing to try for. It probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry. So we continue on to the next island, Tanna. Of course, we were just a little too slow, arriving just after dark. Making yet another safe, but frustrating call, we turned away from land and waited for the next morning to make our landfall. The last day of a passage is usually the most tiring, as you must be even more alert to changes in weather, navigation, and timing. To have to stay on full alert twice for one landing was a bit draining. A bit of bad luck I suppose, but we did make it safely into Lenakel Bay by late Friday morning. That afternoon, we cleared customs and immigration, and then went for a wander around the village. Not too much going on, but plenty of friendly people, quick to smile and say hello.

This morning we decided to leave Tanna, and head to Efate, so we could finish our inward clearance in Port Vila. It would have been nice to hang out and see more of Tanna, but the anchorage was pretty exposed and very rolly. Plus, I liked Vila last year, and look forward to exploring the area more. It's sometimes nice to go back to a place. I'm already familiar with the city and know a few of the good happy hour deals and crappy but fun nightclubs to visit.

It's still blowing pretty hard. At least we can carry more than the double-reefed main and there's less water over the deck, not by much though. We're beam reaching at 5.5-6 kts under just the jib, holding a good course, but getting a few good slams and soakings from the more ambitious waves. So, I would say it's still a bit boisterous out here, but not bad sailing. If we keep this up, we'll make the 120 miles to Vila in less than 24 hours, which I certainly wouldn't complain about.