Bob Culbert Reports

Southern Princess
John & Irene Hunt
Sun 24 Aug 2008 02:22
Bob Culbert is an old mate from Picton in New Zealand and will be sailing with us off an on until we get to NZ in October. Bob has done a news letter for his other mate and I have proved lazy and include it here as I don't have to type it.



Bob C in Vanuatu 2008
Newsletter 28 08 2008
I arrived in Vila two weeks ago & flew on to Luganville the same day. Stayed
with Ian & Babe for a few days in their house on Aore Island and then joined
Southern Princess. Ian took all the guys out deep sea fishing. Two Mahi Mahi
& a Tuna. Nothing extra large. That night John & Irene, Steve (John's
brother) & Rhonda and another couple (John & Sue) also with a Beneteau 57
were all invited to dinner at Ian & Babe's house. A great night. Many wines & lots
of lies.

The jungle on our land  which we cleared 3 years ago was back at 2 to 3
meters in height. I have arranged to have it cleared again & I understand
from Ian that it is almost completed. About 10 houses have been built on the
island since we were last here three years with more under construction. The
site immediately to the west of us has been built on. I managed to get the
same deal as last time regarding the clearing of the jungle. That was that
you paid for the first lot & got the second lot cleared free. Our mate Mike
& his son Brady own the lot on the other side of us so of course I got them
to clear their lot first.

Sailed across to Lolowai on Ambae for the night & then to Asanvari on Maewo.
It is as beautiful as ever. My friend Nixon, Chief Nelson's son cooked us
all coconut crab dinners. Their hydro scheme is up and running but is very
small. We looked at the label on the turbine generator & it read 500 watts!
I guess it is enough to run their fridge & a few light bulbs but that is
all. I would have thought that for a small increase in cost they could have
had a much bigger one. The guy who arranged it all, Harry Hungate, got money
from Greenpeace to do it!

From there down to Awei Island in the Maskelen Islands. A popular place with
around 10 yachts anchored there. Then on to Lamen Bay on Epi Island. One can
usually see dugongs (sea cows) there but none this time. We did see several
large turtles though. Then  a good sail, hard on, through to Havana
Harbour on Efate. We have caught a few tuna & a Wahoo but no fishing that
day as it was too rough to have handled anything large. We haven't caught
anything over 40 kg yet! Still there is plenty of time & distance to go.

We arrived in Vila last wed & the usual first night in port happened yet
again. Dined at the waterfront bar, some 32 paces from where we are tied up
to the sea wall, had a great meal followed by dancing to an excellent band
and before you know it we were the last in the bar, again!

Elaina (Bob's daughter) has been up here for a week staying with a friend at Breakas Resort.
The La Rendezvous Restaurant up the hill from the waterfront has reopened.
It is in a great location overlooking the harbour. We all went there for a
meal a few nights ago. She flew back yesterday. Great to see her and an
excellent meal.

Steve & Rhonda left to go back home this morning (Sunday). They are a great
couple & I have very much enjoyed their company. They were with Lorraine & I
on Southern Princess last year in Croatia.

I brought up a bright yellow ukulele which I have gifted to John. Eddie, a
wunpella working on the boat next door kindly has tuned it & is giving John
& I lessons on playing it. Our progress has been amazing. You would be most
impressed to listen. We reckon we only need another 57 more lessons to be
able to play a recognisable tune.

Our weather has been generally overcast with the trades blowing. This is
actually quite good as it is not so hot during the day. Our plan is to leave
here on Tue for Eromanga, Tanna, Anitom, & then down to New Caledonia.

Very stressful as I am sure you are aware but someone has to do it!