(This is our first blog update posted directly to WordPress over our SSB radio. It will allow us to keep you up to date on our adventures when we are away from the Internet, but we won’t be able to easily post photos.)
We’ve been hanging out on the western side of Efate Island in Vanuatu for the last week. For three days we anchored inside a coral reef at Fultok Bay on Lelepa Island. Jenna was able to do some excellent Sophie school sessions with the kids, I was able to get some serious boat cleaning and other projects done, and Sara and Julie relaxed on a tropical vacation. On our second day there I was swimming the reef and spotted a spiny lobster in a little hole in the coral. This was my first lobster siting in the Pacific. I just had my bare hands and couldn’t get this one out. But, man was I hooked. I spent the next day and a half scouring the reef and island rock wall looking for lobsters. I was joined at various points by Lauren (our guest crew), Leo, and then Suzy and Phil from our fellow cat Morrigan who joined us in the anchorage. I found another lobster lodged in the wall 20 feet below the surface and made seven attempts to get him but failed. I even tried to use my speargun but soon realized it was the wrong weapon. Back on Sophie I made a couple of lobster snares from PVC tubing and heavyweight fishing line and am eager to try them out on my next reef.
Soon it was Sara and Julie’s last night on Sophie, and we invited the Morrigan crew over so we could all watch Leo attack the lion head pinata he made as part of his birthday celebration. Afterwards we grilled a big chunk of scotch fillet and ate it with a potato dauphinois that Lauren whipped up.
The next morning we headed back into Havannah Harbor to drop Sara and Julie off at a hotel so they could catch a ride back to the airport and then home. We hope they had a nice vacation with us. Lauren stayed on Morrigan to do a couple of days of scuba diving. So suddenly it was just the four of us again on a big and quiet Sophie. We had heard there was a bar near the hotel, and I scouted around in the dinghy until I spotted some Aussie guys hanging out on a big deck with a fishing boat in front of them. “Is this a bar?” I asked them. “Only one worth going to in the whole harbor, mate.”
So we found a place nearby where we could drop a hook and dinghied over to “Wahoo”, an outdoor bar and restaurant overlooking the bay. It was so relaxing to just sit and veg out. The beer, pina coladas, and basketball-sized cheeseburger (“Vanuatu’s Largest!”) helped.
After lunch we mosied up to the end of Havannah Harbor to a very protected spot where we are currently sitting out a tropical low that is passing over us. Lauren and Morrigan joined us here yesterday. Dinner last night was kumara gnocci (I love my wife) accompanied with a beef masala stir fry. It’s lunchtime right now, and Lauren has whipped up some beef and pork Texas chili. It is DUMPING rain, school is in session, and all systems are working.
Tomorrow morning we’ll leave early to return to Port Vila. We’ll spend a day there topping off our provisions (mainly booze, eggs, and cash). We will also connect with our friends Colin and Mercedes on Segue, who will buddy boat with us as we explore northern Vanuatu over the next month or so.
Vanuatu is turning out to be our favorite tropical country on this trip so far. We are indeed lucky to be doing this.