Skip to content

We have arrived in Vanuatu!

May 16, 2015

We are sitting on a mooring in Port Vila, Vanuatu, after a great passage from Fiji. It feels good to be on the move again.

We left Savusavu, Fiji, our home for five months, on April 8. Our plan was to slowly work our way toward Port Denarau on the northwest end of Viti Levu where our neighbor Alan from Campbell would join us for the passage to Vanuatu. We experience great sailing days as we day-hopped from island to island.

Our first stop was Koro Island where we met a number of ex-patriots from all over the world who have decided to live “off the grid” in paradise. We caught our first lobsters in nearly a year and they were delicious. This is one of the few places in Fiji where foreigners can buy freehold land.

We stopped at Levuka on the island of Ovalau and anchored off the city front. Levuka was the original capital of Fiji back in the mid-1800’s and the town has been beautifully restored. We enjoyed the museum and just walking through town looking at the restored buildings and noting the dates they were established.

We revisited Suva and the Royal Suva Yacht club and did some serious provisioning at the Costco-like Cost-U-Less store. We continued around Viti Levu stopping at Yanuca and Robinson Crusoe islands before arriving in Port Denarau April 21. We had some of the fastest sailing days yet on the trip.

We took a day trip to do some river rafting on the upper Navua River. We started at 5:30 AM with a long bus ride to Pacific Harbor where we changed buses and headed into the rain forest for another hour. The rafting trip took us through deep gorges with lots of white water. We highly recommend the trip to anyone coming to Fiji. We arrived back at the boat at 7:30 PM very tired.

Alan joined us on April 28 and we immediately left for the postcard-perfect and uninhabited Sacred Islands in the Mamanutha’s. Over the next week we explored the Yasawa Islands spending four days in the Blue Lagoon as some heavy weather passed through. Sailing out of Blue Lagoon we blew out the clew on our staysail in 30+ knots of wind and ended up heading back to Port Denarau a day early to get the sail repaired.

On May 8 we checked out of Fiji at Vuda Point Marina and spent the last of our Fijian dollars at the restaurant. The wind filled in while we were eating and we were able to sail across the lagoon and cross through the reef just before sunset.

We sailed fast for the first 24 hours but were disappointed by our 121 km 24-hour run. There is a very strong counter current leaving Fiji that we were unaware of. We lost our wind the second day and motored overnight. But by mid-morning the next day we had the spinnaker up and were zipping along with genoa and main by dusk. We were out of the current and making good time.

We arrived in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on May 12 at first light; couldn’t have planned it better. We were met by customs, immigration, and bio-security that cleared us into the country and we were soon on a mooring at Yachting World. The next day we went to Mele-Maat Cascades and hiked up to the water falls where we could swim and jump into the pools. Lots of fun after being at sea for four days.

It was a great passage and we enjoyed sharing it with Alan who continually entertained us with his unique knowledge of knot tying and the proper method of exiting the dinghy. We were sad to see him leave us.

We are now fully engaged with Sea Mercy. We have been meeting with the three boats that have just complete rotation 1 in the southern islands of Vanuatu and the two other boats that we are joining for rotation 2 in the Shepherd Islands. Vanuatu has suffered greatly from hurricane Pam and we are looking forward to shuttling supplies to small islands that larger vessels cannot get in to. Much of our mission is damage assessment and communicating back to Sea Mercy that can provide targeted aid. The three boats will travel together and we are pretty much on our own to distribute supplies where needed and help the villages in any way we can. We expect this rotation to last 2-3 weeks and then we will head for Australia to meet up with the Indonesia Rally.

Koro Island at sunset

Koro Island at sunset

Parrots were everywhere on Koro Is.

Parrots were everywhere on Koro Is.

We anchored off Levuka, the original Fijian capital

We anchored off Levuka, the original Fijian capital

We had some great sailing days in Fiji

We had some great sailing days in Fiji

Sandie preparing to make banana bread

Sandie preparing to make banana bread

Chinese fishing boats tied to a single mooring in Suva

Chinese fishing boats tied to a single mooring

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Gorges on the Navua River

Gorges on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Rafting on the Navua River

Waterfall on the Navua River

Waterfall on the Navua River

Anchorage at Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas (Persephone on the right)

Anchorage at Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas (Persephone on the right)

Sea planes deliver guests to Turtle Island

Sea planes deliver guests to Turtle Island

We were joined by several luxury yachts in Blue Lagoon

We were joined by several luxury yachts in Blue Lagoon

Alan transitions from racer to cruiser

Alan transitions from racer to cruiser

Sandie and Alan enjoy the dolphins

Sandie and Alan enjoy the dolphins

Enjoying our last night in Port Denarau at Lulu's

Enjoying our last night in Port Denarau at Lulu’s

Downwind run to Vanuatu

Downwind run to Vanuatu

We finally caught a walu on the way to Vanuatu

We finally caught a walu on the way to Vanuatu

Day 3 started with light winds

Day 3 started with light winds

BBQ walu at sea

BBQ walu at sea

Fresh fish lunch at sea

Fresh fish lunch at sea

Alan conserves water by showering in a rain squall

Alan conserves water by showering in a rain squall

Our welcoming party in Port Vila

Our welcoming party in Port Vila

Mele-Maat Cascades on Vanuatu

Mele-Maat Cascades on Vanuatu

Hiking up to Mele-Maat Cascades

Hiking up to Mele-Maat Cascades

Alan takes the plunge in one of the pools at Mele-Maat Cascades

Alan takes the plunge in one of the pools at Mele-Maat Cascades

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

Destruction from cyclone Pam in Port Vila

From → Travel

One Comment
  1. Tod Asmussen permalink

    Hello Brian and Sandie,

    Wow, I just am so amazed at each blog u post!!! The river rafting and the gorge looked spectacular! This blog was filled with so many adventures. I am a adrenaline and travel junkie and your posts r so much fun to read.

    Also enjoyed reading that u r making a difference in the lives of many with Sea Mercy. What a wonderful mission of hope u r providing to many first hand. The cyclone effects looked devastating. All those lost boats. I am sure many people lost homes and lives were lost in the storm.

    Like seeing u r still catching some great fish. That was a nice wahu Brian. Bet that fish fought great.

    As for me, I am heading down to San Jose this morning. Should b there later this evening. Full week of meetings ahead.

    Thanks again for posting your adventures. I really enjoy reading them.

    As always fair winds and following seas. Miss u both!

    Cheers, Tod

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: