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15th September 2002
In the Banks Islands. Northern Vanuatu.

Capt. Tony reports:
On departure from Luganville on the south side of Santo we sailed north and east up the coast and our first stop was Palikulo Bay {See map}. Here V/crew went snorkeling& we all enjoyed the good weather. Then Soren Larsen sailed north to Port Patteson on Vanua Lava, the main islands of the Banks group {See map} . I went ashore to present custom clearance and V/crew had good walks to the village and beach headland. Thursday 12th September we set out towards Ureparapara - the most Northerly point of our entire Pacific voyaging . We stopped for 3 hours at the Reefs Islands where there was excellent snorkeling. Continuing up the Ureparapara with a favourable F6 gave us a good sail and arrived late pm.

Greeted by numerous canoes that came out to our anchorage, Chief Nicholson is still here and is now paramount chief of the Banks & Torres group. They gave us a great welcome and we stayed two nights here and this remote and spectacular island.

The island is a volcanic cone and a massive ancient explosion blew out the entire side of the mountain and the sea breached the crater. The long steep sided bay that this created is our entrance to the island and the village settlement is at the its head. Dense jungle clings to side of the high crater walls that protect the anchorage and reinforce the sense of remoteness. The worrying issues of the 21st century do seem a long way away here.{See map}

Organised a guided walk to see bats in the caves & the custom dance here was very good. We left half of the books and cloths that had been put aboard in Auckland (thank you Richard) and these were much appreciated by the village.

Last two days have been overcast with some rain & F6/7 SE. This made for a rough motorsail back to the Twinfalls. Arrived 1600 and Kerely met us & told us that there was no longer any landing fee or charge to swim in waterfall pool and he was getting freshwater prawns & crayfish for us. Inspite of the weather all are well aboard.

 

Sunday 15th we sailed south to Lakon Bay Gaua island. Here the villagers are renowned for their amazing water dance - a custom display in the waters edge - having arranged with the village to saty and see this we were disappointed to be thwarted by the weather - by mid afternoon the wind had risen and gone round to the west. Not good for this anchorage at all so I decided to leave and head back (north) to Port Patteson arriving early morning to the more sheltered and secure anchorage to wait out the gale. Voyage crew ashore for a walk up the township during the morning and back for lunch onboard. By early afternoon (Tues) the wind has eased hauled up and motorsailed south wards.

 

 

 

 

 

Although there was still a big swell running the overnight passage was quite pleasant and we made good progress down the the east coast of Santo, being able to use the wind and sail assist the Alpha mainengine. By breakfast time (Wed 18th Sept) we were at anchor at Palikulo Bay on the SE corner of Santo. The weather had brightened up and the inflatable boat was lowered to take advantage of the very good snorkeling here. In the late afternoon sunshine we made the final 2 hour passage up the Luganville Channel to our final anchorage off the Aore resort. Here we spend the last night of this voyage together before guests depart Soren tomorrow.

 

This is also the last anchorage of this tour for me - I hand over command to ournew relief skipper Todd Thompson here and fly home to Auckland and to Fleur..

We have known Todd for 15 years, when he captained the R.Tucker Thompson the New Zealand topsail schooner during the First Fleet ReEnactment voyage. He is a first rate seafarer and I know voyage crew and crew will enjoy sailing with him.

Ends+ Tony.

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10th September 2002
Luganville - Santo, northern Vanuatu.

The crew were taking some well deserved time off over the weekend as the ship lay at anchor just off the Aore Plantation resort. Some took the foot ferry to investigate the town while others had an unwind and recharge day around the pool and bar.

Our new Voyage Crew all arrived and boarded this morning (Monday) and Eric the 1st Mate is running through safety procedures, Daphne the Purser is signing them on Ship's Articles and showing them to cabins. This afternoon we set off northwards up the east coast of Santo for this 10 day voyages though the Banks Islands.

3rd September 2002
Vanuatu Discovery North
Capt Tony Davies reports:
Monday F6/7SE winds & rain but good sail to Asanvari village on the south west side of Maewo. Tuesday morning the rain came down on this very pretty anchorage by the village, still by the afternoon it had stopped and the voyage crew and half the permanent crew were ashore in the village for a pig roast, traditional dancing, kava and stringband put on by the villagers. It was good to see our friend Nelson, the village chief again and his son Coddrington but we were saddened to learn that his eldest son Freddy had passed away since our visit last year.

I intend to haul up anchor first thing in the morning for the passage west past Aoba to Santo.

Our eta at Lunganville, Santo is mid afternoon on Wednesday were we shall spend the final night of this trip.

1st Sept 2002 -
Vanuatu Discovery North

Ranvetlam Saturday 30th - our friend at the village, Isaih Bong, arranged Rom dance in the village of Fanla which was about 40 mins walk through the rain forest above Ranon.
We had never been to this very traditional custom village before Beautiful nasara dance area surrounded by many Tamtams
(Ni-Vanuatu carved totems see pic).
On Sunday the walkers set off for the full day trek through the rain forest to the volcano - sadly rain set in and conditions were not ideal.

29th August - Malakula, Vanuatu
V169 Vanuatu North
Hi all:arrived at Banam Bay, Malakula at 1400. We had a great sail from Epi and were really able to use the tradewinds.

In about an hour and a half we will be in the village as we have been invited to watch the Small Nambas do kustom dance, which will be a sight to behold for those that havn't seen it before.

 

 

 

 

See Custom Dancing from this village - picture page here.

 

We aim to stay here all tomorrow as Voyage Crew are taking guides for a walk to the waterfall.

28th August 2002 - anchored Epi,

Soren Larsen has embarked her new voyage crew yesterday for the 10 night Vanuatu Discovery North passage through the islands to Santo. We motorsailed overnight round the west side of Efate to arrive at Lamen Bay, Epi.

Weather is rather mixed at the moment - there was a small low with two fronts that brought down much rain - but right now it is sunny and we have Voyage Crew off snorkeling.

We have seen turtles but no dugong here yet.

I aim to spend the remainer of the afternoon here and rest at anchor overnight and depart 0830 tommorrow morning for Malakula. We hope to use the wind for the 30 mile passage north and west to Banam Bay on Malakula.


See Bob Majors's Pics and words of his Auckland & Tonga voyages here


 

See reports of Fiji-Vila passage here

 

 

 

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