LTY UPDATE: Friday, August 31, 2012
Dillon’s Bay, Erromango Island, Vanuatu
LTY time: 17:100 (Vanuatu time = UTC +11)
Location: Dillon’s Bay, Erromango Island, Vanuatu
Position: 18 49.105 S, 169 00.694 E (you can cut & past this into Google Earth to see on map)
Wind: 10-15 knots SE (inside the bay)
Seas/Swell: 2ft @ 6 seconds SE (coming from)
Air temp: 78.8 F 26C
Sea temp: 85.1 F 29.5 C
DELIGHTFUL DAY in DILLON’s BAY
I awoke to a new day with a clearing sky and it was a beautiful sunny day right up till this evening when the clouds have come back in again and cooled things down quite a bit. Not too much to report today as I’ve simply had a super simple day. Had several more men row out from ashore early this morning as I was having breakfast and traded for some fresh papaya and a few new fruits I don’t know and look forward to trying. Ruby and I went ashore to one of the few small sandy beaches in this bay, most of them are rock cliffs or rock beaches. She enjoyed her time ashore racing around as usual and I got some good shots of Learnativity looking out through some of the large coral outcroppings sculpted by the sea.
Did a bit of snorkeling but I’m afraid I’ve been spoiled with that I’ve found in Fiji the past few years and so it was a bit underwhelming but still gloriously clear waters and always interesting creatures to observe and learn from. I took the opportunity to give Learnativity’s hull a good inspection and clean off a bit of the growth starting around the waterline and all looks very good there. I spent a few hours ashore walking around the village that spreads itself along the river here.
One interesting thing I learned was that they all live on the north side of the river because the south side is where they bury their dead so this is all a beautiful cemetery area. It was the same simple village buildings and quite a large community by Vanuatu standards as they are a people who much prefer to live in small little communities of 10 to 50 people rather than create larger ones. In this case I think it is the river that creates a single area where more can live. Even so, the homes are all quite spread out and what I’m gathering from my walks through these villages is that the people are much more inclined to spend time in small groups than large ones. Though there was an area all cleared off under some beautiful huge trees that they explained was where the ladies held their market to sell their wares each Wednesday. Two men rowed out to visit and brought me this delicious selection of Popos (Papaya) and Pamplemouss (Grapefruit) which will last me for several breakfasts as you can see.
And once again there was great care paid to keeping the village area and pathways very clear and well-manicured. The soil is very rich so there is great variety of plants, flowers and trees growing. They don’t have any electricity in the village but they do have a supply ship that comes in about once a month from Port Villa and brings things like building supplies, rice, flower and other goods they can’t produce. They also showed me an area where they are cultivating Sandalwood, which historically was a very sought after prize by foreign sailors from faraway lands. Too much so actually in that most of the forests of Sandalwood have apparently long been wiped out and hence the need for this village to try to bring this still prized wood back into prominence. They don’t do any carving or other processing of the Sandalwood, just sell it to buyers in Port Villa apparently and helps them generate some income to purchase the other goods they need.
I’m likely going to pull up anchor about 8pm tonight and make the overnight sail to Port Villa. It is just over 80 nautical miles so I’ll do this passage at night so I can arrive there in good light tomorrow morning. I still need to look after my full checking in as there was no Immigration authorities on Aneityum Island where I first entered Vanuatu. Port Villa is also the largest harbour and city in Vanuatu so it will give me another glimpse into this fascinating country and culture. I’m also looking forward to restocking my galley with fresh veggies, bread, cheese and the like. All the more so given the high French influence of this area so I’m hoping to enjoy some particularly good and different breads, pastries, cheese and wine. I’m also looking forward to meeting up with Philip, a single handed sailor from Switzerland who has become a very dear friend. We initially met when we were both checking into Ecuador about 3 years ago and have serendipitously met up several time since as we both ply the waters of the South Pacific. Philip and Teri have been kite surfing their little hearts out up north in Vanuatu the last month or more and looks like we might be able to meet a bit north of Port Villa and spend a bit of time with Blue Bie and Learnativity anchored together once again.
So life continues to treat me extremely well and I’m doing my best to enjoy, appreciate and savor each moment in an attempt to be worthy of such great fortune. I’ll write more once I get to Port Villa and let you know what urban life is like here in Vanuatu.