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At anchor: Ambae, Maewo, Pentecost and Ambrym, Vanuatu

July 7th, 2011 · No Comments

Been on the move now for while doing a circuit of the central islands. Some excellent short sails and some good time ashore. We are now heading north to the Bank Islands Ambae was tourist free and lots of sizable infrastructure. A good sized hospital that serves the three local islands, a agricultural college that serves the whole of Vanuatu, a private school complete with playing fields, live-in accommodation for the children and a farm to provide the food. Maewo is claimed to be the wettest of the Vanuatu islands and it lived up to its reputation. Pentecost is famous for the land diving – the original bungy jump. We got to see the last one of the season as its linked with getting a good Yam harvest. Ambrym is famous for magic and Rom dancing. There was a super yacht in and so the dancing and magic was put on for them. Our take on the main element of the magic was – the tourists have the money now we have it! They charged a lot for not much but it was a great walk up into the hills to their village. Ambrym is famous for carving as well and we did well trading with rope and clothes. Weddings are held in the Yam harvest season – you wouldn’t want to organise a wedding and not get Yams! They invited us along and we had a great day observing the cermonies. It was slow though, made the average UK wedding with the long pauses for photos etc look slick. Mike helped explain all the parts of the ceremony and the various Tabus. He is a PhD student from London University recording one of the local languages that has never been written down. Weddings are sad occasions as the Bride severs all relations with her family and the Grooms family have to pay a high price to the Bride family that puts them in debt for a long time.

We have had a lot of wet weather while in Vanuatu. Forecast now is better. A few days have been windy as well. The short trip from Pentecost to Ambrym was in 30-35 knots with 40-45 knots when the wind was coming down the valleys in Ambryn. It was very windy when we were in Efate as well. 40 knots in the bay in front of Port Villa as we left and a 30-35 knot following wind up to Epi. All looked like accelerated trade winds caused by “Big Fat Highs” as Bob McDavitt calls them. He is a well known forecaster for yachts in New Zealand.

Only a few boats around. Up to now most of them have been on their way to South Africa for Christmas 2011. I think the last of these boats left Luganville yesterday. I guess we may see boats that have been in Fiji come across soon.

We have seen a cruising boat from New Caledonia several times and even managed to get one up in a game of Petanque. I think they were used to well broomed playing surface not very variable soft sand. They have given us plenty of tips on what to see first in New Caledonia even a phone number of friend that speaks English in case we have a problems.

Position of Ranon, Ambrym: 16°08’S 168°07’E [-16.139,168.118] Position of Wali Bay, Pentecost: 15°54’S 168°11’E [-15.914,168.188] Position of Ansanvari, Maewo: 15°22’S 168°08’E [-15.376,168.312] Position of Lolowal, Ambae: 15°17’S 167°59’E [-15.281,167.979]

Tags: At Sea