Anchored in Anelghowhat Bay, Aneityum island Vanuatu LTY time: 16:20:00 (Vanuatu time = UTC +11)
Location: Anelghowhat Bay, Aneityum island Vanuatu
Position: 20 14.243 S, 169 46.58 E (you can cut & past this into Google Earth to see on map)
Wind: 12-18 knots South True
Air temp: 86.8 F 30.4C
Sea temp: 86.4 F 30.2 C
Barometer: 1020mm A GREAT SICK BAY!
Just a quick update for you today as I’m still recovering from a nasty flu/cold bug that seems to have hitched a ride with me as one last gift from Fiji. I felt something trying to get hold of me on the passage over here but I so rarely get sick that I didn’t think much of it but it hit with a vengeance just after I got the anchor down here in Anelghowahat Bay. Nothing too serious, just the usual fever, very sore throat, achiness and the like of a flu/cold kind of thing and I think the worst of it is over now. For some reaons this has also affected my lower back pain which I normally just live with but has been really off the charts the past few days. However I have what must be THE best “sick bay” in the world, both in the form of my dear Learnativity which is very comfortable as well as being in this truly gorgeous little bay and island. So I’ve just been spending the last few days mostly sleeping and some reading and letting this all play out as I take in the splendor that surrounds me. If you haven’t yet had the chance to go check out this location on Google Earth or Microsoft Bing I think you’d really enjoy what you see and it is certainly going to do it more justice than any attempt I might make to describe it in mere words. The island is relatively mountainous so it isn’t what most would picture as the postcard type Southern Pacific island which are more the atoll types. It is very lush and completely carpeted in various shades of green from all the different types of trees growing ashore. Again not a typical looking tropical jungle and to my eye at least much more resembling what you would see in much colder climates with lots of evergreen type trees thought the initial beachfront areas are all palms. The overcast skies have all gone away and I’m back to the blue sky and sun that I’ve become so accustomed to and spoiled by. Not sure what it is but I can literally feel the energy in the sun coming into me as it caresses my skin and is a feeling I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. I’ve read that sunlight on your skin (in reasonable doses) does indeed stimulate the production of various chemicals inside us and I think I’ve just become much more attuned to these and can feel them and miss them much more than before. I’ve not wanted to venture ashore yet until I’m sure this bug has run its course and I’m certainly not feeling motivated to go just yet anyway so relaxing onboard and taking it all in from a distance has worked out very well as an introduction to Vanuatu for me. I’ve had several locals row out in their dugout outrigger canoes, mostly young boys and had some relatively short conversations with them and explained that I wasn’t inviting them aboard while I’m sick. But earlier this afternoon and elder, “Keith” rowed out in his dugout and was very gently more insistent and curious to know more about me and the boat so I did have him onboard for a delightful visit for a few hours. He’s in his 50’s I would guess, born here on Aneityum, his wife passed away a number of years ago and so he now lives with his three younger boys and the older one is away at school in Port Villa. We had a wonderfully casual talk with each of us curiuos about the other and covered a wide range of subjects. This is one of the greatest gifts to me of this type of travel and life style, to get to learn about so many other people, diverse life styles and customs. I’m always particularly interested in how different people learn and from a formal sense people in Vanuatu have a very similar education system as most of us had with primary and secondary schools and for some on to vocational or university, though those numbers are much lower. Schooling here is all done in either English or French with the majority being in English from what I’ve learned from the ones I’ve talked to so far. However Vanuatu apparently has the most number of different languages per capita of any place in the world and so they also speak a different language or dialect on each island and in some cases in each village. Additionally they adopted Bislama as their official language when they gained full independence in 1980 and this is a refined form of pidgeon English. I love languages and so I’m looking forward to learning more about ths side of Vanuatu as I travel more within it. If as I suspect, Keith is an example of the people of Vanuatu I’m going to enjoy my stay here very much. He was very soft spoken and gentle type of man and our conversation flowed very comfortably. Near the end he pulled out two huge grapefruits out of his backpack as a gift to me which I found very interesting in that he had obviously prepared for his visit and yet he kept these hidden until he saw how the conversation and the people he met reacted with him. In the course of our conversation I learned that he has an AC generator that his powered by a Briggs and Straton engine but it won’t stay running for more than a few minutes at a time so I’m going to go ashore in two days and go see if I can perhaps help him get it running properly. Keith keeps himself busy either fishing for his family and sometimes catches enough to sell some and he, like most others here, work on the island when the cruise ship comes in. He thinks he is going to go out fishing early in the morning and if he catches some Yellow Fin or Wahoo he said he will bring some by for me, which I’ve humbly accepted. So other than recovering from this nasty flu bug all is going very well over here in Vanuatu and aboard the good ship Learnativity. Ruby is keeping busy alerting me to every dugout that comes anywhere near us and is also much happier now that the sun is back and things are warming up here. Not sure how long I’ll stay here, or anywhere for that matter, but I’ll head ashore and do more exploring once I’m feeling better and will post some updates on those experiences as they happen. Wayne