The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Mon 6 Jul 2015 20:43



15:15S  165:37E


So far we've done 75 miles with 825 miles to go, we did 75 miles in the past 20 hours. We've got 5 knot south winds and 1 metre waves, so we’re bumbling along at 2 knots and will get the spinnaker out after breakfast. Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


6 July 2015  Luganville to Papua New Guinea (Day 1)


We were up early and on the beach by half past seven, clutching four, 5-gallon jerry cans for fuel; and four bags of rubbish, which we've accumulated over the past four weeks.  Graham and Karen from "Red Herring" shared a taxi into town with us.  Our first stop was to drop off the rubbish.  There's no proper place to dump garbage in Luganville and the hotels want to charge $3 per bag to take it.  The locals seem to dump bags on certain street corners, so we did the same on a corner near to the vegetable market.


I dropped the fuel cans off at a garage to pick up later and then the taxi took us to the customs office to start the out-going clearance.  It was fairly painless apart from having to pay $100US for port fees. The process was: customs for form filling; port office to pay fees; customs office for issue of clearance; then immigration for more form filling and passport stamped. 


Despite our worries about having illegally drunk 18 bottles of the duty free wine that we bought in Port Vila, the customs officer simply asked if we had the bottles of wine on board.  I truthfully told him that we did have the bottles, but neglected to tell him that some of them were filled black paint and water...


I went to the garage to fill the jerry cans then caught a taxi back to the boat, while Glenys went to the market and supermarket to buy food.  By midday, we were both back on board; had the food stowed away; the dinghy stowed on deck and were motoring down the channel just behind "Red Herring".


We were a little bit late with the tides and had 2.5 knots against us at the south end of the channel, but were soon out following the southern coast of Santo.  After a couple of hours of motoring, we'd cleared land enough to get some wind and had a good downwind romp for five hours, sailing at 7 knots.  Unfortunately, the wind started to drop just after sunset and, by half past nine, we were only doing 2-3 knots.  The seas were still quite big, so our sails were slatting and banging, which sounds horrible, so I cracked up and turned on the engine.


By dawn, we were still motoring, but we don't have enough fuel to motor all the way to our destination, so we pulled out the sails and bumbled along at 2.5 knots.