Saturday, May 31, 2008


After the simplicity of Port Resolution in Tanna, I wasn't sure what to expect of Port-Vila - Vanuatu's capital. In the event it turned out tobe a modern bustling city, albeit in a tropical setting with awonderful 24hour fruit and veg market. In both Noumea and Port-Vila it felt as though time spent in the capitals equated to less time in beautiful anchorages. Consequently I set an exhausting schedule; rushing around trying to locate spares, complete Internet tasks before our one day Internet access card expired, and deal with the official formalities of entering a new country.

Those of you reading about Internet access and wondering why their email reply has been lost in the ether - apologies, though I have a new excuse. Foolishly I've introduced Charlotta to the joy of Skype and now, regardless of the quality of the connection, she seems to have suddenly realised she's lots of urgent calls to make... helpful to have a new excuse though.

Port-Vila proved surprisingly handy for spares. I finally found a replacement rowlock for the dinghy - could become more essential as the outboard needs some attention. Currently it runs well at idle or full throttle, but stalls at any intermediate speed. Secretly I quite like the additional operating challenge, but think I'll soon have to delve into the dark recesses of the carburetor before things deteriorate further.

Our salvaged folding bicycle was a great help in Port-Vila, despite being afflicted by frequent punctures and becoming a little self-serving when you need the bike to search for puncture repair patches.

Port-Vila's bike shop was shut with an informative notice:
Dear Customer
Bicycle centre close from 04/04/08
to 21/06/08. If you want buy the
bicycle and some spare parts or want
repair the bicycle must wait master
back. Thinks
Bicycle Centre

Tempted as I was to wait the return of the "master", I flagged down a bicycle somehow operating in absence of the shop and eventually found some patches in a well stocked hardware store.

We bought a guide to Vanuatu Pidgin English titled "Evri samting yu wantem save long Bislama be yu fraet tumas blong askem" which translates as "Everything you wanted to know about Bislama but were afraid to ask", looking forward to using some of the useful phrases such as:
"Sista blong mi emi punum grasket blong em" - "My sister is wearing her grass skirt"
"Pol i fasemgud wan krab kokonas" - "Paul ties up the coconut crab"
"Emi wan basket blong titi" - "It is a bra"

We left Port-Vila around midday to head for some anchorages further north in an area know as Havannah Harbour. A new lure on our fishing line caught a barracuda soon after we left Vila - not as big as the giant one we had living under the boat in Ouvea, but unfortunately large enough to maul the new lure and make us very cautious when we removed the hook from it's mouth. Unfortunately barracuda’s are renowned for high ciguatoxin levels - they are high up the food chain - so we returned it to
the sea.

Currently we're anchored in Mallao Bay, off the NW of Lelepa Island about 20 nmiles from Port-Vila. Beautiful coral enclosed bay with a sandy beach ashore, with what initially appeared to be abandoned buildings, until we found the smouldering remains of a recent fire. Where had everyone gone? After consulting some tourist brochures, it transpires that the Havannah Harbour area is a Port-Vila day-trip hotspot. We plan is to leave at first light while we still have the bay to ourselves and head for an island further north.
Mallao Bay: S17°34.66' E168°12.44'

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