Port Patrick, Vanuatu
Fri 20 Oct 2023 23:58
20 08.00S 169 49.64E
After a night in Anelghowhat, the anchorage turned rather rolly so we headed to the north coast to an anchorage in Port Patrick. Don't be fooled, it's definitely not a port, just an opening in the reef and a small settlement lining the beach. Shortly after we dropped anchor, the chief of the village paddled out to us in his dug out canoe to welcome us and invite us ashore.
We came ashore and brought them food and a few items such as rope, pens/paper and books for the school, they were really grateful for the gifts. The chief took us on a tour around the village and along the beach finishing with a coconut cup of Kava, a traditional drink made from soaking the root from a kava plant to produce a muddy looking drink. The chief gave us a chunk of coconut to chew after, a bit like the pacific version of a tequila slammer I guess?! Kava is a substitute for alcohol for most of these communities, it gives you a numb mouth and a drunk feeling....dose dependent I'm sure.
It was amazing to sit beside these people who are so happy but have nothing. They build all their houses from local materials and grow their own food. They cast nets every morning off the beach to catch fish and collect rain water. This southern island is remote, we are only the second yacht to visit here this year!
The next day, the chiefs son took us on a hike to show us some ancient rock carvings. We walked along a dried up river bed and through the jungle passing little communities along the way. Eventually we arrived at a huge boulder with various carvings of fish, people, suns and strange looking birds. They don't know how old they are or who created them. It was obvious that they hadn't been visited for some time and the boys brushed away the moss using tree branches and then sketched over the carvings with unripe bananas to produce a chalky white line.
We have been monitoring the forecasts closely and it would appear that the cyclone they were predicting is hopefully weakening. One thing we've learned this year from cruisers who've been sailing for many years is that the weather systems are changing. Less predictable patterns, stronger winds, weaker trades. Most of this is driven by sea temperature, but also an El Nino year.
Our current plan is to leave here early Sunday morning for New Caledonia.