[This is a blog post that I wrote in Tanna on September 30th, 2013 which is why I’m back dating it. I thought I posted it with the sat phone, but it obviously didn’t go through. Since I’m using wifi once again, I’ve posted it with photos]
I woke up yesterday morning in our warm, cozy, stationary bed. Oh, to lie in a bed that stays still so you don’t have to wedge yourself into a corner to keep from rolling around. Wonderful.
“Where are we?” I asked Will, delirious from a solid 10 hours of sleep.
“Vanuatu,” he responded. A pretty cool answer, I thought.
For some reason (or many), this short, quick passage really took it out of us. We broke our rule of never heading straight out to sea after being in a flat marina. We also broke our rule of never trusting the grib files – the 10 knots forecasted turned out to be 25, at a bad angle. We covered 460 nm (as the crow flies) in exactly 72 hours, which is an average of 6.38 knots. However, we definitely sailed an extra 40 miles because we bore off the wind on the first night to try and make the motion of the boat more comfortable. Anyways, it was great to make landfall once again, in the beautiful bay of Port Resolution on Tanna. Orkestern arrived 12 hours after us (we guided them into the anchorage in the dark) and Ninita and Orion were not far behind.
Without doubt, this is one of the most interesting places we’ve visited. Before we even disembarked Hydroquest we were visited by locals in dugout canoes, offered a stalk of bananas and invited to land. The main village is quite big (200 people) and the huts are set out in a circular arrangement around a soccer field-sized common ground.
One of the locals, Johnson, showed us around. He took us to ‘the store’ which had a few cans of tuna, bottles of chilli sauce, and some oil for sale. We spent the afternoon hanging out at a white sand beach. A group of about 15 young boys had built a fire and were heating up bananas. They had the equivalent of 3 surf boards between them (all missing either the nose, tail, fins, or a combination thereof) and were taking turns on the waves. Will, Johannes, and Dylan borrowed the boards and showed off their stuff. The kids – with best smiles I’ve seen – taught us how to use a bow and arrow and shoot it straight up in the air. They gave us a banana to try and it turns out that when you heat up an unripe banana, it tastes like a potato.
On our way back to our ‘yachts’ (I love how everyone seems to refer to our boats as Yachts in this part of the world), we gave Johnson some USD to exchange into local Vatos (unsure of spelling). He was driving to the other side of the island in the morning, and was happy to to our money to the only bank on the island.
We will meet Johnson at 4pm today to load ourselves in the back of a pick up truck and be driven up to the volcano, Mt. Yasur. We are lucky that it’s bubbling at a 2 out of 5 of the ‘danger scale’ at the moment. I am sure this is going to be another one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences with a full dose mother nature at her scariest. We’ll be charging up the video camera for this one.