Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Port Villa, Vanuatu

After a relatively short and interesting crossing (5 days), we arrived at the quarantine ball in Vanuatu's capital city of Port Villa at 2150 on the 5th of September.  During the trip, managed to hook our first Dorado fish, only to lose it during a failed attempt to bring it aboard.  Sure was a pretty fish.... getting to a place to anchor near the quarantine buoy was a challenge, to say the least.  It was dark (no moon), it seemed the entire shoreline was lit up, making it almost impossible to see the boats anchored in front of us (most without any lights on).  Finally, after a couple of close calls, we dropped anchor, shut down motor, and were greeted by a cacophony of noises from shore, mostly loud music from the local night clubs...went below and most of the noise was blocked by our wood hull.  

The following we got on the VHF radio and called the harbormaster for customs clearance.  They came out by launch, boarded, had us fill out forms, asked appropriate questions, and cleared us in.  Told us we would have to go into town to get immigration to stamp our passports.  We hung out on the boat, getting it changed over to "in-port" condition.  That evening, Rainbow's Shadow pulled in after dark, and we talked them in so they would not have to go through what we did.

The following morning, we got mooring ball assignments and headed into the actual harbor where we would through the entirety of our 28-day visit here.  In company with Adrian and Christina (Rainbow's Shadow), we drove our dinghys to the dinghy dock, hiked downtown and found (after asking a number of locals) the building that housed the Immigration Office.  We finally realized why hardly anyone knew the building....they don't have to immigrate.... More forms to fill out, got passports stamped.  

The mooring field (Shakedown about center of photo)

Hiking up the hill towards the supermarket.

The National Museum (which was closed for unspecified

Walking around up the backside of town (town and harbor
off to the right)

Got to top of the hill.  Building on left is the women's
correctional center

The beginning of the "big box" stores (as opposed to
the million tourist shops along the harbor road)

The local equivalent to Home Depot....very big and full
of building materials and tools

Always something to fix!

Adrian standing by to catch falling bodies
Behind Rainbow's Shadow is one of the numerous now-
deserted boats that did not avoid disaster during Cyclone
Pam, two years earlier

Another view of the mooring area and downtown

More views of moorings and shoreline

One of the sunsets viewed from Shakedown

Night life in the harbor

The commercial wharf area. 

More of the mooring area looking back towards entrance

The Waterfront Bar & Grill (thatched roof) is also where
the dinghy dock is located.  Spent some time there....

Some local fun to be had if adventurous

Rainbow's Shadow and Shakedown resting comfortably

Adrian leading the way up the hill to supermarket

View from the top
The time had come to move on once again.  We spent the last few days provisioning and some last minute logistics.  We got our mizzen sail back from a local sail repair shop after ripping out some slugs (over half of them) on the short journey from Fiji.  We found out that one of the local pubs were going to show multiple screens worth of the Australian Football League (AFL) (like the USA's NFL) Grand Final (Superbowl) on Saturday, the 29th.  We all left together in great anticipation of a good time.  Which it was.  The locals and expats were super friendly and we all cheered (even though Nancy and I had never seen this type of game being played.  

We returned to Shakedown to find most of our things on deck and in the cockpit had been stolen.  Were were only gone about four hours!  Talk about disappointment!  Best we could determine, it was a simple snatch-and-grab, since no break in had occurred.  Missing were a 5 gallon jug of diesel fuel, our Honda 2000 generator, the "dinghy bag" containing tools, spare propellers, etc. for our dinghy, and other smaller items which would require replacing.  Pretty dismal way to end our otherwise enjoyable stay.  Now it was time to get out of here.  When weather seemed appropriate, we departed Port Villa, and lifting our spirits, we knew next stop would be Australia!

Pulling out of Port Villa harbor

We encountered the ferry, which we hadn't known existed

A last look back at Vanuatu

Rainbow's Shadow leading the charge 

Getting ready for our first of thirteen nights at sea....

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