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Date: 19 Oct 2015 06:44:28
Title: Change of plan.

Happily, tropical depression 02F didn’t turn into a cyclone, though, apparently, it was a near thing. It has passed safely South of us, so as it turned out, we needn’t have come back down from The Banks after all - but better to be safe than sorry. There turned out to be another reason why it was for the best as well: You may remember that we’ve been having trouble with our radar? It failed back in French Polynesia and we spent a lot of time trying to get it fixed in New Zealand. We had boards replaced, which would then fail after a day or two, then they’d replace them again, and they’d fail again… We kept on trying to get them to work out why the boards were failing, no point putting in another one just to fail again, but after the third try it seemed to be working and worked fine for the trip up to Fiji, but whilst we were in Fiii it failed again. Since then we’ve been in email communication with Raymarine to try to come up with a solution. When we returned here we got an email from them saying they’ll replace the complete system, for a nominal fee, and they’ll pay the shipping out to Vanuatu, Port Vila. Now, that’s an offer we can’t refuse, and we’ve been unhappy about travelling without a radar, so it’s about turn again, we’ll be heading back down to Port Vila as soon as the winds change from Southerly.

In the mean time, we’re so safely tucked in away from any potential strong winds that we’re sitting in a millpond here. With no breeze to lift the humidity and ease the tropical sun we’ve been dripping our way around the boat, so there was nothing else for it: snorkelling beckoned and we head off, along with Bud and Helen and their family on Desire, in the dinghies through the inner pass to a little Island in the middle of the outer pass known locally as Turtle Island.

The coral there was stunning. Don’t get me wrong, the fish were great too but the variety, colour and scale of the coral was magnificent. Huge plates, ten feet across, soft folds like velvety reindeer horns, little bouquets of lavender blue, stag horns… See for yourself:

  

    

  

  


Back on the sandy beach by the pontoon at Oyster Island Resort there are some rather spectacular Sea Cucumbers. This snap shows a regular little black and grey one (centre shot),like we’ve been seeing since French Polynesia, and a new one on us. He’s about 5ft long and known as the ‘elastic sea cucumber’ by the locals because he sucks in water and expands right out.


But the chap who took the prize for being the most impressive today was a Giant Moray Eel. He was pocking out a hole in the rocks quite far down so I had to dive to get the shot, I couldn’t see what I was doing but managed to catch him on the bottom of the picture:

I don’t fancy those teeth chomping me, he was the largest we’ve ever seen...



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