In the morning before we left Port Resolution, Tanna to make passage to Port
Vila, Efate, a man in an outrider canoe passed close to us and I asked if I
might take a photograph. The man was quite willing. He was about to go
fishing in his canoe which was very obviously made from a hollowed log with
no varnish or paint to enhance its beauty.
We noticed that although the villagers on Tanna are very poor, none of them
looked as though they had insufficient to eat. However, obesity was not a
problem here. 45% of the population, which is growing at 3% a year, is under
15 years. We saw only one person who looked older than 45, a woman who was
present during the gift exchange ceremony but other WARC participants were
advised that there are a number of elderly people in the village.
We motored most of the way to Port Vila as there was insufficient wind to
sail although we did motor sail briefly on a couple of occasions.
On arrival at Port Vila, we had to pick up a mooring buoy and Dick went
below to manoeuvre the boat using the second lot of controls. The controls
for the starboard engine did not work from the flybridge.
Once we were tied securely to the buoy, we had lunch and then went ashore to
explore. The fresh produce market which is open 24/7 though closed on
Sunday, had adequate supplies to see us through the weekend although we
shop until after lunch on Saturday. The SPAR supermarket also had plenty of
produce. We didn't get to see the other 2 supermarkets until later in the
Saturday night we went out to dinner and had an extremely good meal though
the prices were not inexpensive by any means, despite the contrary advice in
the Moon guide. Having been occupied by both the English and the French, the
cuisine is second to none.
Sunday, Oisin joined a non-WARC boat and took part in a local regatta. The
boat on which he was sailing was 2nd across the finish line but he didn't
know what position they actually achieved on corrected time.
I did a stock-take and spent the day creating an up-to-date list of all the
produce on board Tucanon, including medical products. This is for the
Australian officials when we arrive in Mackay. From the list of items not
permitted to be brought into the country, it looks as if most of the stuff
on board will be confiscated. I am hoping that my detailed list might be
sufficiently lengthy to spare me losing all my provisions. Unfortunately,
there is a limit to what we will be able to take on board in Mackay as each
region has its own laws and what we can utilize in Queensland is not going
to necessarily be acceptable in the Northern Territories.
Monday evening we went to a pot-luck supper at the house of the commodore.
During the day, a number of WARC participants joined the trip to abseil down
a waterfall and had a brilliant time. Others hired a car and explored the
Tuesday we hired a 15 seat vehicle, in conjunction with six other people and
toured the island, stopping at Havannah a really excellent restaurant, for
lunch. That evening there was a rally supper and prize-giving and despite
eating heartily at lunchtime, we still managed to consume a large quantity
of very good food and wine.
Snorkeling off Hideaway island, we were able to post waterproof postcards,
in the underwater post box.
Wednesday we were able to refill the butane bottles and stock up with fresh
fruit and vegetables. Finding the supply of butane was a real bonus as this
is usually not available here. It was then time to prepare meals and snacks
in advance of the start of the next leg.
Oisin was "borrowed" by Brown Eyed Girl which is short-handed, for the
passage to Mackay, so we have had to rethink our watch system. As we didn't
know that this would happen until the day before leaving Port Vila, we
missed out on celebrating early, Oisin's birthday on the 16th. He departed
from our boat after breakfast on the 15th, before we left our mooring and
made way to the fuel pontoon.
After fueling we bobbed around in the bay until leg 11 commenced at noon. We
were off on the 1150nm passage to Mackay.
We had a beam reach, blowing force 3 as we set sail but by 13.50 it had
increased to a force 4. By 3pm we were sailing on a broad reach .As both of
our parasailors had been damaged and not yet repaired, we sailed under main
By the 4th day at sea the wind was blowing up to force 7 with moderate seas.
We put 2 reefs in the main and 1 in the genoa. Fortunately this state didn't
last beyond 36hours when the wind decreased to around 15 knots and the sea
reduced and became more comfortable.
By 5am on Tuesday, 20th, the wind reduced to a paltry 1-3knots and it became
necessary to switch on an engine. This has to be rather a fast leg as all
boats have to arrive at Mackay finish line by 17.30 on the 23rd or be
classified as DNF(did not finish). There is no leeway for lack of wind. The
only solution is to use the iron sail. I guess that if we haven't arrived in
time for the authorities to come aboard before 18.30 on Friday, we will have
to remain on board until Monday, thus missing the rally party on Friday
Dick and Irene Craig,