The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 9 May 2015 21:40



20:14S  169:46E


We're safely anchored in the bay at Aneityum in Vanuatu.  It's been a tough 960 mile trip and we're glad to be here.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


9 May 2015   New Zealand to Vanuatu (Day 8)

The day started with overcast skies and a light 5 knot wind, so we carried on motoring.  By lunchtime, the clouds had cleared and the wind picked up enough for us to sail again.  For the rest of the day, we had an idyllic broad reach in 10-15 knot winds, with the sun shining - this is what it's all about.


We took the opportunity of the settled conditions to tidy up the cockpit, which looked like bomb had hit it.  Everything was covered in salt and felt sticky - the salt retains water, so nothing was getting dry.  I rigged up a hosepipe to the aft deck shower and Glenys gave everything a good clean with fresh water including the underside of the bimini.  An hour later everything was dry and the cockpit was habitable again.


I put out a lure on my fishing rod and quickly had two massive strikes as we were sailing over an underwater volcanic region called Monts Gemini.  The line screamed out and, when I tightened the clutch on the reel, the 60lb line snapped the first time and a stainless steel 60lb tracer snapped the second time.  Having lost two lures, I put out two hand lines with 130lb line.  Thirty minutes later, another lure had gone as well.  I decided to give up - as Glenys wryly said, fishing is an expensive game when you don't catch anything.


By sunset, we only had 45 miles to go and the wind had backed even further, so we rolled away the main sail and ran downwind with a heavily reefed genoa, trying to go slow to arrive a couple of hours after dawn.  The moon came out at midnight and it was beautiful drifting along in the calm seas under clear skies.  What a difference to the maelstrom that we had a few days' ago.


We weren't able to slow down enough, so we hove-to six miles from the island and waited until dawn before heading towards the entrance to Anelghowhat Bay.  It looked very gloomy as we approached the reef entrance and I was concerned about the low level of light, but the Navionics chart was accurate and there is a good leading beacon on the headland.  Just after nine o'clock, we dropped anchor in 10 metres of water, relieved to be here after a tough 8 day passage.