We spent a fantastic 4 days anchored
off Oyster Island on Santo. It was a spot we had looked at 3 years ago when we
were exploring the East coast of Santo by Jeep. We never made it across to
the resort that time but it had stuck in our minds so we decided
to head back on Quartermoon. Oyster Island resort is a
beautiful, small resort and owned by a very friendly Kiwi who is extremely
welcoming. It has a handful of cute bungalows and bar restaurant right on
the water. Perfect spot if anyone fancy's a holiday here from Oz! We are
definitely heading back.
The entrance through the reef was
interesting to say the least, so we anchored outside the reef in a small lagoon
and went to investigate by dinghy. The owners are very welcoming to sailors so
they regularly replace the buoys marking the "channel" which is a big help. You
still need to enter / exit at high tide and in good light at slack
water - a boat went aground just before we left and blocked the pass for
most of the day! The pass through the coral is so narrow you can see the coral
heads that you need to squeeze through whilst watching the depth gauge drop
to tenths of a metre....
"Oysters" were the highlight on the
menu so of course we had to indulge. Oysters at Oyster Island (we did want to
get take-away Oysters so as to eat oysters on our Oyster at Oyster Island - but
we 're not that pretentious yet). They were great but then so was the beef
fillet. And the bottle of red!... (The beef on
Vanuatu is specifically farmed for the Japanese Kobe market and
definitely in the top 5 best steaks ever). Our last treat until we start work again!
Blue holes are scattered all around
Vanuatu so we borrowed a Kayak from the resort and headed up a beautiful small
river to one that was close by. We wound our way
up stream for about an hour through low hanging rain forest and lily pads
everywhere. We passed the happiest free range cows who were chilling in coconut
groves and swimming in the river - no wonder they taste so good! When we
arrived at the Blue Hole (much to Mike's delight) it had one of the
highest rope swings we've ever seen, hanging out of a giant Banyan tree.
Mike joined in with the locals who were diving off cliffs, climbing the tree
like Monkeys, swinging way out, then dropping about 10 metres or more into
the water. It was great fun to watch but I'm a big wuss so I sat on my
butt in the kayak and watched the school kids play! The fresh
water is so blue and crystal clear, the bottom was about 20m but looked more
like 2m away.
We unexpectedly bumped into some
friends Brad and Kat we had met in Tahiti on a boat called "Ghost" who are also
heading to Sydney after their 3 yr trip. It is great to catch up with them
again. They had some new friends onboard and one of them recognised us! We
finally figured out it was from a party and Ann & Murph's not long before we
left, small world. We spent a fun day with them diving, snorkeling, wakeboarding
and playing cards - I could get used to this lifestyle
;-) Having played many games of shithead with Mike
and him never taking the title, it was great to watch him lose several games in
a row (after explaining the rules to everyone!) hence the picture
Together we decided to head around to
Aore Island (just off the capital of Santo, Luganville) Mike and I stayed at the
resort 3 years ago and loved it so we were keen to go back and anchor off.
There was a lot of confusion amongst all the yachts planning to leave next
morning as the tides are quite confusing around these reef channels. Nobody
wanted to be the next yacht stuck on a bommie so it was an early start
(7am) to get the tide right. Ghost got down to 0.0m of water under the keel but
we both made it through no worries.