Fiji to Vanuatu - SOUTH PACIFIC 2009
Pearls of the Pacific
Tall Ship adventures in the South Seas
V289 - Fiji to Vanuatu, via Yasawas

This voyage is a combination of two island cruises linked by a short sea passage and allows us a fascinating insight into the contrasting cultures of two very different island nations. Linking the two will be a four day blue water passage with the excitement of seeing the ship sailing before the SE trade winds.

From Lautoka we will cruise to the Yasawa islands, a half day’s sail to the west and spend two or three days amongst these exceptionally beautiful islands, with each night at anchor. We hope to organise an evening ashore at one of the villages, probably on Waya island, to see the local dancing and hear the fantastic Fijian singing.

The coral around the anchorages is some of the most colourful and accessible we'll see and snorkel on from the ship's inflatable boat.

The ship has to return to Lautoka for customs clearance before the open water passage to Vanuatu. This will give us a chance to see something the bustling town and fabulous Indian spice and fruit market.

Voyage starts Lautoka, Fiji
Sunday 2 Aug 2009
Voyage Ends Santo, Vanuatu
Thursday 20 Aug 2009
Duration 18 nights
Type Island & Ocean Cruising
Berth fee UK £2050

A Søren Larsen voyage is a holiday adventure where your enjoyment is of paramount importance. Participation in the ship and the voyage is central to the experience and you will be signed on ship as Voyage Crew as part of the ship's crew for your trip. However the level of involvement is up to you and no previous experience is necessary. The ship requires authentic seamanship to sail her but participating Voyage Crew are treated in a friendly and informal way and Søren Larsen's level of comfort and facilities reflect this.

See Previous Voyage Logs and first hand reports and pictures of these destinations here

See Videos from this voyage from last season.

See previous Voyage Logs and first hand reports and pictures of these destinations here

Running westwards before the southeast tradewinds we will head for Pt Vila, the capital at the southern end of the Vanuatu group. Sailing downwind, this will give a taste of the beauty and freedom of an ocean passage and we will all be involved with the watch system, helping steer the ship and handle the sails and keep lookout.

The transit time from Fiji, depending on the winds will be 3 to 5 days and this will allow us to spend a few days sailing north through the fascinating islands of central Vanuatu.

We have found so many 'favourite places' in Vanuatu during our voyaging here that choosing a route can be difficult... The serene anchorage at Pt Havana makes a great overnight stop at Efate.

There are choices of a visit to a custom village on Malakula, or a call at the small communities of the Mescalyne islands.

At anchor at Epi, if we're lucky, we may swim with the tame dugong there, or at Ambrym make a jungle trek inland to a traditional custom village.

This voyage will finish at Luganville, Santo which was the main American base during WW2 and is a short internal flight to the capital Port Vila with its international air connection.

Vanuatu is a Malaria Risk Area so insect repellent is vital and it is recommended that you check with your own doctor for the requirements this area whether malaria medication is necessary or suitable for you.

Twin berth cabinOn arriving onboard you will be shown your berths, introduced to the crew, and signed on Ship's Articles as Voyage Crew members. Much of the first morning will be spent introducing you to the ship and explaining the various routines, safety procedures and equipment and how the watch system works.

During the short sea passage from Fiji to Vanuatu the ship is sailing 24 hours a day and as voyage crew you will stand deck watches and work within a normal 4 hours on / 8 hours off watch system.

on the mainsail halyardOur sailing between anchorages in the island groups may involve some motoring but also some quite intense sail handling. However this allows those who would rather relish the amazing scenery to stand back and let the keener sailors get involved in handling the ship under sail. Everyone is involved in the duty watch system as Voyage Crew which will operate while we are under way and you may have your turn at the helm, on bow lookout or helping trim sail or help tack ship. Going aloft is a unique experience but is not compulsory and everyone can decide when or if they’d like to. People of all ages join us and many have never sailed before - previous experience is certainly not necessary.

There are 13 permanent crew who maintain and sail the ship who are there to assist and help you enjoy your time aboard. Once we drop anchor the deck watch is undertaken by the permanent crew and you the Voyage Crew are free to explore ashore.

A complete list of clothing and personal gear is contained in the Soren Larsen’s Voyage Handbook, available only after a booking has been accepted. Here we make a few specific recommendations with regard to your voyage.

One main piece of luggage, which should be a soft kit bag. A hard suitcase is NOT suitable as space is strictly limited.

The ship has 7 x 2 berth cabins and 2 x 4 berth cabins and generally they are allocated on a first come/first served basis, or occasionally on a needs basis.
Cabins are comfortable but compact and are intended as somewhere to keep your gear and sleep and the ship's layout is designed for having larger social areas in the main saloon. Being a traditional timber ship she does not have air conditioning and when operating in tropical latitudes it of course gets quite warm below. Some like to bring a sleeping roll mat for sleeping out on deck.

The ship has Musto wet weather jackets and trousers for your use. For any extended sea passage it is wise in invest in a quality wet weather jacket of our own. It would also be sensible to have warm clothes for night watches. Cotton tops, t-shirts and shorts get worn on sunny days.

In these tropical latitudes most go barefoot on deck. Bring a pair of trainers or velcro strapped sandels (reef walkers) for excursions ashore.

Seasonal Climate
Fiji 25 – 29 deg C., Sunny with occasional tropical showers Vanuatu 26 deg to 30 deg C. during the day, slightly cooler at nights, although in tropical latitudes you should expect it to be still warm and humid.

Equipment: High factor sunblock and sunglasses are recommended protection from sun on water; sea sickness tablets (Stugeron recommended); a large and small towel; earplugs, a torch and spare batteries; extra camera film; binoculars may be handy. A lightweight rain jacket would be good insurance as when it rains in the tropics, it really pours. On tropical journeys bringing insect repellent, ideally containing Deet, is vital for taking ashore. A personal waterbottle is also highly recommended.

Meal Plan
Local Food and Drink: Three meals a day are included in the voyage price while on board the Soren Larsen. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are available on board and are paid for separately at the end of the trip.

Personal Expenses

You’ll need some extra money to cover drinks and souvenirs not included in voyage price, and some local currency for sightseeing and spending money at islands visited etc. Credit cards are accepted on board.

Health - Useful websites are

Freedom and Flexibility
Voyages are planned to allow us some flexibility en route as to where we stop and anchor, how long we stay at each place and where we choose to go. We feel this is the key to the sailing authenticity and the genuine adventure of the ship’s voyaging. Itineraries may change due to weather conditions, readiness of the vessel or any other reason and so are without guarantee. If winds are unfavourable we may make use of the ship’s engine to maintain the schedule. All decisions regarding our route and itinerary will be made by the ship’s Master.

National Geographic Adventure mag award


About the Søren Larsen
Now famous for providing sail training adventure voyages and as the star of the BBC’s classic series "The Onedin Line", the Soren Larsen was originally one of the last cargo carrying sailing ships trading throughout Scandinavia, northern Europe and Britain. Built of oak by the Danish ship building company of 'Soren Larsen & Sons' in Nykobing Mors in northern Denmark, she carried timber, grain and general cargo from 1949 to 1972. Purchased in 1978 by Tony Davies and his family, she was taken to Colchester on the east coast of England and lovingly restored and rerigged as the graceful 19th century brigantine she is today. Captain Davies specialised in period film work and so the Soren Larsen began her working life again in early 1979 starring in "The Onedin Line". Other projects followed including "The French Lieutenant’s Woman" and "Shackleton". In 1982 she was invited to pioneer sailing for the disabled for the Jubilee Sailing Trust in Southampton before being chosen, in 1987, to be Flagship of the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage to celebrate Australia’s Bicentennial. She led a fleet of squareriggers on an ambitious 22,000 mile voyage from Portsmouth via Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town, arriving to a tumultuous welcome in Sydney in 1988.

She came to Auckland in 1989 to represent Britain in the 150th Celebrations and was made so welcome that she adopted New Zealand as her base from which to cruise the idyllic South Pacific Islands, taking many first time sailors on adventure holidays to Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu. In 1991 she made a passage back to Europe along the Clipper Route across the Southern Ocean and in December 1991 she became the first British tallship to round Cape Horn since 1936 and is now one of the very few authentic square riggers still operating in the 21st century.

After a major refit in the UK at Gloucester, Soren Larsen returned home to Auckland. She established herself as 'Flagship of the City of Sails' and has won Tourism Awards for Adventure and Experience categories. This illustrious ship  celebrated the Millennium with a spectacular round the world voyage, the 2000-2001 Global Odyssey, visiting 25 countries and sailing 30,000 nautical miles. This 2008 project sets out to visit the further corners of the Polynesian Triangle and visit the very best of the untouched tropical South Pacific.

Tall Ship Soren Larsen Bridgewater Chartering Ltd.
P.O.Box 60-660, Titirangi, Auckland 0642.
Tel: +64-9-817 8799
Fax: +64-9-817 6799
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