More on Tanna and Efate in Vanuatu

Island of Tanna….a few stories before we move off Tanna. We had to check in to Vanuatu, as is customary with every country we enter. When we arrived, we anchored at Port Resolution. While this is the preferred and closer anchorage on Tanna, we had to, at some point, make our way to the other side to the capital of Lenekal. This involves the chief arranging for our transportation in an SUV. We were warned it is not an easy or quick ride as all roads here are dirt/lava rock and very bumpy. Well they weren’t kidding. It was a 2.5 hour trip doing hard core four wheel driving. Very bumpy and very steep in places. It was an amazing way to see the island though as we passed many villages and picked up and dropped off many villagers along the way to take them to wherever they had to go.
When we arrived in Lenakal we clearly stuck out like a sore thumb as we were nearly the only white people there. They all seemed to know us and where our boat was anchored. Along the way we saw two schoolgirls, about 8-9 years old walking home, each with a leg of a cow slung over there shoulder. Complete with hoof and dangling flesh and blood. When we tell you that we are in such a remote part of the world…we are not kidding.
Mike sat in the back of the Pickup truck along with other and Stanley (chief). As the chief got to know Mike he asked if he could take a look at one of the local boats as it was on the beach with some leaks in the hull. Well, that turned into Mike fiberglassing, sanding etc… the hull and making it like new! Those of you that know Mike know that no job is left half done and no job is a small job.
We left the island of Tanna and headed for the main island here, Port Vila. We hit some rough seas and high winds as the volcano actually plays a big part in altering the weather when sailing this area. We ended up anchoring at the island of Erromango for the night. A little tough pulling into an unfamiliar anchorage in the dark but we managed and thank goodness for night vision goggles. We rose at 4:30am and headed out for the remaining 80 nm journey to Vila…stil big seas and winds but not as rough as the previous day. There was so much haze and smoke from the volcano in the air that we could not see land until we were only 3nm from it….scary…we had to double check our navigation to be sure we did not head the wrong way in the dark 
Port Vila is on the island of Efate and is also quite lovely. Most of Vanuatu is very lush, thick, green rainforest. Vila is the main city here and offers many stores and supplies along with a 24 hour local open food market. The fruits and vegetables here are amazing. So much better than Fiji offers, and a larger variety. It is a decent size small island city with lots of cars as tourism is high here. You will not find a McDonald’s or the like here though. While Vila has resorts and a city the remainder of Vanuatu remains extremely remote. The few “resorts” they have in the outer islands are nothing more than “bungalows” where you are basically living in a village. The people here are exceptional in that they are genuine, warm and friendly. Vanuatu has actually been voted “The Happiest Place on Earth” in the past.
One thing we have been warned about from the cruising guides and locals are that there are lot’s of sharks in Vanuatu. As we are getting closer to Australia there are now Tiger Sharks and Great Whites….(not to mention the size and variety of spiders here, yikes!) We are going to provision here and sail North to some outer islands….we will keep you posted….stay tuned…Life is Good….

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