Port Orly

We are up in Port Orly – a beautiful anchorage on northeastern Espritu Santo Island about 30 miles north of our previous anchorage, Oyster Island. Before we left Oyster Island we spent a day in Luganville (the main town in Espirito Santo) trying to prepare ourselves for the next leg of the trip. We wanted to extend our visa – which expires September 9th – and had been told that we could do so in Luganville – but the authorities there said we could not extend it yet. They said it was too soon to renew it and that we should just come back in a few weeks. They don’t understand how difficult it is to just “come back” to Luganville with the sailboat after we leave to sail north. We tried our best to talk them into renewing it, but the supervisor was just not interested in helping us out, so we will see how things go over the next few weeks.

 We plan to sail north to the “Banks” – a set of islands in the far north of Vanuatu (about 50-60 miles from where we are now) – and then start working our way back south again. We may have to stop back in Luganville to extend our visa, or we may go all the way south to Port Vila to do it. Anyways, it was an interesting day in town. We drove there with Joseph, a chief in the little village near the Oyster Bay Resort. He has a nice pick-up truck that accomodated the 7 fuel cans we brought with us as well as all the fruits, vegetables and food that we bought while we were in town. It was an all day affair to do our shopping, but well worth it, as we have re-stocked on all the important things we need for the next few weeks. We even found apples which was a big treat – there are just so many bananas a person can eat! On Monday, after 10 days in Oyster Bay, we left – heading out of the shallow pass at hight tide with just a foot of water under the keel again – and sailed up to Port Orly. This is a very beautiful spot – and we were very excited to find our good friends from Intiaq here. They have already been up to the Banks and were headed south again – and we were fortunate enough to rendezvous here for a few days.

 It is always a gourmet affair with Karin and Jean Francois as she is an amazing cook and always invites us for terrific meals onboard their boat. They are a lot of fun. There are 3 other boats in the bay as well – 1 Australian (Flame), 1 New Zealand (Kaitorete), and one Swiss (Miami). We know them all from meeting them in other anchorages over the past few weeks. The two kids onboard Kaitorete know Hannah and talk about her all the time.

 We had some lovely weather the past few days, but today it is grey and rainy and it is expected to stay that way for a while.

 L.

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Still in Oyster Bay but without Hannah now

It has been 5 days already since Hannah left (we miss her!) and we are still in Peterson Bay anchored outside Oyster Island Resort. When Hannah left we had a couple days of terrible weather – grey skies and too much wind . Then it calmed down and the sun came out again. What a difference weather makes around here. We were extraordinarily lucky with weather during Hannah’s visit – lots of sunshine, not too much wind, and a few cloudy days – but nothing extreme.

We had planned to go to town yesterday ( Friday) to renew our Vanuatu visa, but as we got in the cab the driver told us that all the government offices would be closed that day for International Children’s Day. We decided to wait until Monday to go to town – it is a half an hour drive from here and we will just go in once, re-provision, get our visa renewal, and hopefully head north on Tuesday. Oyster Bay has been a nice spot to hang out.

The most interesting and beautiful thing we have  discovered here are the “blue holes” . These are deep pools formed from underground freshwater springs that carve themselves over time into expansive swimming holes over the underlying limestone rock. The color of the water ranges from an aquamarine to a deep velvety blue – and they are terrific to swim in . There are two blue holes with rivers that run into our anchorage, and both involve about an hour of kayaking each way. The rivers are very narrow and shallow – too shallow to go up at low tide even. They are lined with rich dense foliage , including some huge banyan trees, and when you kayak quietly you hear dozens of different birds. We have enjoyed the blue holes so much that we have already made 5 or 6 trips up and down them. Tomorrow we are going to treat ourselves to a big Sunday brunch at the resort! That will be a nice change from the Special K we have been eating every morning of the trip to date.

L

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Some random photos from Vanuatu during Hannah’s visit

These photos are from Hannah’s visit to Sabbatical III. Higher resolution versions are on our Flickr site (just click on any of the photos). — M. 7-20-2009

With Paramount Chief of North Pentecost, Chief William, and his wife.  Loltong, Pentecost
With Paramount Chief of North Pentecost, Chief William, and his wife. Loltong, Pentecost
View of Sabbatical III at anchor in Loltong, Pentecost Island
View of Sabbatical III at anchor in Loltong, Pentecost Island
Hannah with bananas and naked little girls peering out of their houseHannah with bananas and naked little girls peering out of their house

Dickie and family, Loltong,Pentecost Island
Dickie and family, Loltong,Pentecost Island
Mark with Chief William, Chief of Tomman Island
Mark with Chief William, Chief of Tomman Island
Laura with wife of Chief, Tomman Island
Laura with wife of Chief, Tomman Island
Hannah drinks kava (Southwest Bay, Malekula)
Hannah drinks kava (Southwest Bay, Malekula)
Hannah checks out huge cucumber (Dixons Reef, Malekula)
Hannah checks out huge cucumber (Dixon's Reef, Malekula)
Father and daughter prepare to explore Dixons Reef, Malekula
Father and daughter prepare to explore Dixon's Reef, Malekula
Laplap supper after the Kustom dance, Banam Bay, Malekula
Laplap supper after the Kustom dance, Banam Bay, Malekula
Women dance, Banam Bay, Malekula
Women dance, Banam Bay, Malekula
Men dancing, Banam Bay, Malekula
Men dancing, Banam Bay, Malekula
Change comes to Vanuatu
Change comes to Vanuatu
Longhead, Tomman Island
"Longhead", Tomman Island
Dinner on Intiaq (Karin and Jean-Francois) with the Bahatis (Nat, Betsy, Cameron) and Sam, his wife, and baby Jackson
Dinner on Intiaq (Karin and Jean-Francois) with the Bahati's (Nat, Betsy, Cameron) and Sam, his wife, and baby Jackson
Hannah with Jim from Cardeaat Lamango Ranch, Malekula
Hannah with Jim from "Cardea"at Lamango Ranch, Malekula
Solomon and Rita and their family, S.W. Bay, Malekula
Solomon and Rita and their family, S.W. Bay, Malekula
Hannah
Hannah
Lobsters in Banam Bay, Malekula
Lobsters in Banam Bay, Malekula
Chief Saitol, Banam Bay,Malekula
Chief Saitol, Banam Bay,Malekula
Hannah and schoolchildren, Loltong, Pentecost Island
Hannah and schoolchildren, Loltong, Pentecost Island
Village on Tomman Island
Village on Tomman Island
Masing performs for us aboard Sabbatical III at Banam Bay,Malekula
Masint performs for us aboard Sabbatical III at Banam Bay,Malekula
New Zealand boys bring their kill in for butchering, Lamango Ranch, Malekula
New Zealand boys bring their kill in for butchering, Lamango Ranch, Malekula
Hannah and Laura in front of the Au Bon Marche Nambatu, the best supermarket in Port Vila.  Nambatu refers to radar station number two of the US Navy during WWII.
Hannah and Laura in front of the Au Bon Marche Nambatu, the best supermarket in Port Vila. Nambatu refers to radar station number two of the US Navy during WWII.
In the dinghy
In the dinghy
Hannah and Chief Saitol, Banam Bay,Malekula
Hannah and Chief Saitol, Banam Bay,Malekula
Intiaqs rat get only a small taste of salami before the end comes
Intiaq's rat get only a small taste of salami before the end comes
The girl loves paw-paw
The girl loves paw-paw
Children at the dinghy, Loltong, Pentecost
Children at the dinghy, Loltong, Pentecost

Hannah looks for coral bombies
Hannah looks for coral bombies