position S19 31.600 E169 29.700

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sat 1 Jun 2019 20:28

Friday 31stMay

After a rolly night we moved into the bay at 1st light, 3 other yachts anchored but plenty of room, 5m depth. English accent in the 1st yacht said good holding as we passed by.
An australian passed by in his dinghy as we anchored & gave us useful information. Told us to ask Stanley in the village about registration and money and the volcano, but I think he said approx 10 VATs to the dollar and that the volcano would cost 12000 VATs each. We had heard it was expesive but that was quite a shock and had us worried that we would't be able to raise the cash.
He mentioned that the English/New Zealand couple were taking a ride into the main town Lenakel so I quickly launched the dinghy, grabbed the papers and some us dollars and headed for shore. Luckily Stanley had seen me and was waiting on the beach and held the pick-up truck for me.
The ride into town was rough (like F7 into the wind rough) untill a paved road for the last 1/2hr of a 2 hr ride. The route passes across the ash field below the volcano with desert like landscape and amazing views of the volcano and the coast.
In town I was relived to discover that the actual exchange rate is closer to 100 VATs to the dollar so was able to change enough money to get us up th volcano with a bit to spare. The english/nz couple had sailed to New Zealand 27 years ago with 4 children and stayed, put the children in school and built a house in Opua. Now they have sold their kitchen joinery business and are cruising the islands. Their Nicholson 40 looks very smart having had a full re-fit.
I bought bread and peanuts in the busy market but failed to buy coffee beans (They grow coffee and have a processing plant on the island). I also bought a sim card but it hasn't produced any internet access and we are locked off the satellite due to exceeding the limit.
Our driver Wendel asked on the way back if I could look at his outboard motor which wasn't startng. Amazingly after checking the spark I pulled off the air intake and saw that the choke flap was stuck shut. I freed it with some WD40 and hey presto the motorstarted up. 1st time I have ever solved a mechanical problem so easily.
We had a walk round the village, met Jonson who is the deputy village chief but also acting chief because the actual chef is too young. He made us feel very welcome and told us to ask him if we needed anything and that we were free to wander around the village. We met several other men while walking round who were equally friendy and all introduced themselves. The village is set round a wondeerful mowed green with football, volley ball an open sided building for gatherings and fetes and a womens stall for produce. We found the white beach- a long white sandy beach and found a path back through the lush forest taking through the village houses. Beautiful woven leaf roofs and walls with clean swept paths between, some with tidy colourful gardens.
If we thought we had found paradise in the Tuomatus or the Marquesas this must be the real deal. We bumped into a morman missionary, every wacky religion is represented in the village including the John Frum worshipers. The people are so welcomming that they wouldn't turn down any misionary but Jonson said that there is no onflict betweeen the religions. It seems that it is important to believe something illogical but it doesn't matter what. Jonson gave us a couple of courgette type vegetables from his garden- probably the nicest one in the village.
I booked a volcano trip with Stanley and as an afterthought reserved supper at Chez Lea's restaurant for when we get back from the trip tomorrow evening. There are 3 restaurants in the village and you have to book a day in advance to eat ant any of them. We chose Lea's because her husband was around as we passed. Back on board I cooked the courgette with lemon zest and pasta- Nigel Slaters idea and very nice it was.