Since our last blog, we had a couple of our best days at sea so far. The trade winds filled in as predicted, so we put up the spinnaker and left it up for most of the remainder of the passage to Tanna. In the calm seas and steady winds, we were averaging 7 knots without feeling like we were moving. We had forgotten what it was like to sail in such ideal conditions, and we were all in very good spirits, even Ash, who was in a bit of withdrawal since we didn’t have enough juice to constantly run the stereo.

fruit Shiroma even felt up for baking!

The speed of the boat must have been ideal for trolling as we caught four fish in two days! Considering we had never caught a fish before this passage, that is a pretty major accomplishment. Granted we threw two of them back (one was a medium-sized barracuda that Colin wasn’t sure about eating and the other was a tuna with parasites inside and out), but the two tunas that we kept were really good. We tried preparing them in several different ways–two kinds of sushi rolls, pan-seared, fried, and in tuna salad–and I liked them all. Dallas still hasn’t developed an affinity for fish, but for the rest of us, it is a great supplement to the usually vegetarian diet.

DSC_0565 (2) Colin was pleased with the catch of the day

We cruised into the anchorage at Port Resolution on Monday afternoon and found that our friends on S/V Marionette had just arrived as well. (Those of you who have been following the blog for a while might recall that this was the boat that was declared missing during the September 2009 tsunami.) Ash and Colin were interested to discover that Cathi & Markus currently have three female crew (two Swedish, one German), and before long, Cathi and I were making plans for the five of them to join us for dinner aboard Pura Vida.

First we all went ashore to check out the “yacht club”, which turned out to be a large, empty, open-air room with a few folding tables. There was a sign advertising drinks for sale, but there were no drinks or staff to be found. We did, however, meet a local who had moved from the neighboring village into an isolated wooden bure next to the yacht club. He waited patiently while we caught up with our friends on his property before realizing that we should move on.

From there, Dallas, Colin, and Markus decided to head to the “Naka Mal” hut where men and only men are allowed to gather to drink kava. (Needless to say, this is at the top of my list of reasons not to live in Vanuatu.) It sounds like it was a really interesting experience, but I will let Dallas tell you about that…

The rest of us took a walk through the village before returning to the yacht club for a cold shower. (It was surprising to find indoor plumbing in a little shed outdoors.) The path to the village was beautiful, lined with the usual palms along with large banyon trees with sprawling roots that extend to the top of the trunks and beg to be climbed. We passed several people walking along, carrying wood or food back to their bures. Unlike Fijian homes, most of which were concrete shelters with an adjacent bure outside to serve as the hot weather shelter, this village contained only the thatched roof bures. The people we passed weren’t ebullient like those in Fiji and only looked and spoke to us when we spoke first.

bananas Cooking bananas

Back on the boat, Shiroma and I prepared a nice meal for 10. Her potato pizza was so yum! While we had been ashore, S/V Anima had arrived to the anchorage, so the three aboard came over as well to bring our total guests to 13! Not bad for our first night in a new place! Martin brought his guitar, of course, and I did my best to recruit people to sing along. Most people just made requests, but one of Martin’s German crew was quite an enthusiastic participant.

music Taking our show on the sea

The guys went to the other side of the island today to check in, get Vatu (local currency), etc. Shiroma and I stayed behind to hold down the fort and relax. We’ve already had a local come by in his outrigger along with his two younger brothers to bring over a basket of fresh tropical fruit (papaya, pamplemousse, passion fruit) and a plate of island-style chicken and taro, cooked up and ready to go. Apparently he made some kind of arrangement with Ash this morning…



The family transport


The fresh flowers in the fruit basket were a nice touch

We will meet up with the guys later on at the top of the volcano!! Shiroma and I are going to walk up with the Marionette crew (2 hours each way!), and the guys will arrive by truck when they get back from town. Looking forward to posting some pics of the crater when we get to Port Vila, probably in a few days.