Luganville, Vanuatu, Lat 15.32.2S, Long 167.10.8E

Splinters Apprentice
Bone & Beth Bushnell
Sun 31 May 2009 22:35

After that easy trip up to Vanuatu it was bound to get harder but not
much. We left Port Vila and had a gentle sail to Havannah harbor. We
anchored in the same place as in 2001 but were amazed to see the
villagers not using canoes but motor boats to get to their gardens.
That's progress for you but it means they don't pop by for a chat or to
sell veggies. The Dugong was still there.
We split the journey to Epi by stopping at Esmae island and were
astounded to find the mobile phone worked. There is a huge local Dolphin
Pod and they put on an amazingly acrobatic display for over an hour that
evening. There was a bit of swell in the anchorage but nothing upsetting.
The sail to Lamen Bay on Epi was brisk in a SE breeze but in Lamen bay
it became NE so good shelter and no roll. More Dugong.
Forecast was for a nasty low to cross us giving north winds, not too
good in Vanuatu but south Malakula has good shelter so next day we had a
cracking sail across to the Maskelyne islands. Gaspard Bay looked a good
bet but there is no pilot information on the inner bay so we very
carefully, slowly crept in keeping the reef on the east in sight( light
wasn't brilliant which didn't help), quick jink to port to miss a large
reef spur sticking out and we were in the inner bay . A lovely sheltered
pool in 7m mud with plenty of room to swing.but poor water visibility.
The inner bay was full of Dugong. There must have been 6-10 some very
small ones, quite active and inquisitive, coming very near the boat.
It did blow and rain so we filled the water tanks then moved on to Awei
bay just 6miles away. Here we had lots of visiting canoes and
bought/traded for coconuts, pamplemousse, bananas and papaya. The
swimming was good and the reef badly damaged by cyclones is recovering
The passage across the south of Malakula to South West Bay was grotty. A
very disturbed sea with beam on swell, yuck but once round the SW corner
very much better. SW Bay is huge, an easy safe anchorage. We visited the
village of Lembinwen and were given yet more Pamplemousse and Papaya.
It's a large clean, organized village with a primary school so we took
them some paper, pencils and pens. Bone had spent the afternoon blowing
up balloons for the kids so they knew who he was.
We had our first dive of the season at Hook point a lovely , secluded
anchorage, no village, no canoes, with a pristine reef. Excellent and
good to sort ourselves out.
Lamboubou harbor was OK but it's a good job we left early as the local
trading boat was on its way in and there would not have been room for
both of us.
Malua Bay was delightful. A better sheltered bay than it at first looks
with clear water. We were visited by lots of canoes all wanting to sell
something or trade but we were more interested in their river. Heavenly,
cold fresh water. I did our laundry sitting up to my neck in the water.
The villagers, I'm sure, thought I'd gone potty. Bone disowned me.
We are now at Luganville on moorings at Aore resort. We will do some
diving whilst here then load up with food, trade stuff and water before
heading up to the Torres.