Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Port Resolution

We had a great passage from Ovea to Tanna; full sail on a beam-reach, making 7-9 knots in surprising comfort. So much so that our passage was much faster than anticipated and we hove-to for 4 hours in the early morning off the south coast of Tanna. My just-in-time navigation nearly failed us when I discovered our electronic charts covered Tanna at a useless 1:1 million resolution and the only paper chart we had of the area showed the island at a similarly unhelpful scale. The chart was based on an Admiralty survey of 1853-1894 and it was unclear which if any datum was used, making GPS position plots relatively useless. It all made for an exciting slow search round the coast of the actively volcanic island, imagining we were chartless Captain Cook. The illusion was shattered when we recognized Port Resolution by the yacht masts already at anchor.I'd anticipated our arrival at Tanna for weeks; not only as it's the first of the islands of Vanuatu we plan to visit, but also as we had a letter and gifts to deliver, which Nuance, our Whangarei neighbours, had entrusted to us, with an intriguing address; Lea mother of Josephine and Charles, Port Resolution, Tanna. What a great place to be an apprentice postman; lots of willing helpers to point the way, accompany, then introduce us in person. Lea seemed delighted with the letter and gifts and showered us with fruit and veg in appreciation.Before meeting Lea, we were introduced to the chief, his son and various other family members, organized a trip to Mount Yasur - the very active volcano, but declined the trip to the Lenakel, the main town to officially check-into Vanuatu. The charge to cross the island seemed a little expensive at 7500 Vatu ~ $75USD each. As we'd arrived on Saturday it didn't make sense to head over there until Monday and when we suggested that we'd sail to Port-Vila on Efate on Monday and check-in there instead, Stanley the chief's son, didn't seem too upset at missing out on our custom.One of the intriguing legacies of the joint English-French colonial past is the split schooling; there are French and English schools. Children either go to a French or English school. Lea went to a French school and preferred speaking French, although her English was better than our French, whereas the opposite was the case of Stanley the chief's son.

The photos don't really do justice to the beauty of the village and surrounding bush. It feels a privilege to glimpse the traditional way of life the Ni-Vanuatu people lead and yet be welcomed and able to communicate easily with locals, even though our worlds are so different.

Johann and Inga on Adriatica turned up last night, more Scandinavians friends from Whangarei - is there anyone left in Scandinavia? At times it seems as though half the population of Scandavian are at sea. Great to catch-up with them and confirm rumours that our blog entry about the confiscation of our Whangarei market garlic had been reprinted by the local paper and I hope increases market sales as well as publicise the garlic pilfering quarantine regime in Noumea.Just before leaving we swam across the anchorage for an early morning dip in the hot pools. In a couple of places around the anchorage are boiling water pools, possible to cook-in, but also great for a morning bath when mixed with the cooler surrounding water.

It's sad to leave Tanna so soon and miss out on a visit to the John Frumm cult (a cargo cult) tribe who worship the Duke of Edinburgh as a long lost son of their tribe and believe he will return one day to lead them, as well as all the helpful friendly people we've met in Port Resolution.

Sailing up the east-coast of Tanna we had a great view of Mount Yasur and could hear and as well as see the eruptions. Impressive.
The sea is alive with flying-fish and we've even seen couple of large tuna jumping out of the water, mocking my fishing efforts. Our lure, Squiddy, is becoming less squid-like each day, as he looses more of his tentacles to fish-bites, perhaps it's time to retire him - seems a shame though after the delicious mahi-mahi he hooked.

We're busy working our way through our veggies locker in preparation for the health inspectors at Port Vila - Green bean and christophine(?) curry tonight, with "king of rice" (recipe (c) Ian Aim)- in the absence of a fish, not too shabby.

Great trade-wind sailing in 15 knots of wind, full main, poled out genoa and rolling along with the wind behind us. As the sun sets we've Erromango island to the east and Efate 80 miles to the north-west.

Position @ 18.00 (GMT-11); S18°54.9' E168°51.6'

1 comment:

Mrs Trellis of North Wales said...

Dear Mr Knox-Johnson,

Oh dear, well you've brought it on yourself haven't you dearie. No boozy celibration as you head up the Thames for you eh. Would have voted for Ken again if it wasn't for the newts. Oh well chin-up keep that hair bleached, can't stand coloured roots myself.

Yours etc

Mrs Trellis (North Wales)

PS RIP Humph