We took 4 days from Fiji to Vanuatu. Two days of absolutely no wind, along with a broken water pump, which meant no motoring. Finally the wind gods helped us out and we had two 200-mile days, with 2 reefs and the no 1.
We have explored Vanuatu as far north as Champagne Beach – Espiritu Santo, the most famous beach in Vanuatu for sure. White sand as soft as icing sugar, water so clear you can see the anchor lying on the bottom at 8 metres, certainly one of the best beaches in Vanuatu as quoted in every Vanuatu tourist brochure. Pics attached, not a huge beach, the huts in the background are turned into market stalls when the cruise ships visit, evidently causing madness 20 times a year. We were lucky and only had to share the beach with a German couple who are cruising.
Other places of note were, Aitchin Is (Dugout/canoe city, village with lovely gardens), Lamen Bay (Dugongs, turtles), Ratua Island, (if you ever want to spoil someone this is the place, a Balanise themed resort, all huts with their own private beach on the doorstep.
Pentecost Island, we only got to visit Loltong Bay, a huge effort has been made to create a yacht club. We had tea there, the local food just kept coming, an amazing spread, the best so far. The Chief had recently died, so a lot of sightseeing around the Island was tabu, but the drums, which we could hear from the boat in the bay, just kept banging day and night, starting at sunrise!
The Ni Vanuatu people do seem like the happiest people in the world, in particular, the children who are so proud to show you around their village, and go the extra mile, for example, to pull your dingy ashore, whenever possible. The dugout is still the main means of transport in most places, the turtles are abundant, and if you are lucky enough you will see the odd Dugong around the bays, Bislama (Pidgin English) is still alive and well too.
We have met and made friends with several cruising boats including quite a few Aussi cruising boats, and bumped into ex sailors now cruising from Port Nic, ex crew on Flojo, and Lowry Bay, small world, who recognised the Good ship Gucci at anchor. The cruising faternity affectionaly referring to Gucci as the “little NZ boat”.
Finally a fish (Mahi Mahi) jumped aboard the line on the way back to Port Vila. The first fish since first arriving in Fiji, worth the wait, we filleted one side of it and traded the rest of it to someone who dropped by shortly after anchoring on a dugout, who promised us pamplemousse (grapefruit) in return the next day, never saw the Pamplemousse, oh well.
A great time was had on the good ship Gucci and then staying ashore with Elizabeth and Peter, complete luxury, onshore a real bed shower etc, infinity pool, and of course no drinking.
Six of us (Deb, Brent, Hilary, Nicci, Bex, Martiller) leave for NC tomorrow, ETA 3 days.