Update from Vanuatu – July 12, 2010

Our last night in Lamen Bay was kind of rough – the winds started switching to the southwest and we knew that would mean that we would start getting a swell in the anchorage. It was so nice there, however, that we decided to take a chance and stay one final night – and hope that the swell would not get too bad. It did get bad however and the boat swayed and rocked all night long – real uncomfortable night – it alternated from feeling like we were in a washing machine to just being swung back and forth on a pendulum. We were glad to pick up anchor and head out first thing in the morning. We had been incredibly lucky to have almost 4 full days in Lamen Bay without the infamous Lamen Bay roll – but now that we have felt it we can say that it certainly is a bear.

It also turns out that there are tiny jellyfish in the crystal clear water that we were enjoying so much- and they must have been stinging me while I was watching the dugong (finally got the spelling right). I spent the whole night enduring the roll and trying not to scratch the itchy welts. Normally I swim with a full wet-suit, but I hadn’t put it on for my last swim and that was a big mistake.

We forgot to mention that on clear nights you can see the red glow from three large volcanoes in the distance – one is on Lopevi Island (12 miles away) and the two others are both on Ambrym island (about 20 miles away).

We left Lamen Bay yesterday morning and sailed 35 nautical miles northwest to the island of Malekula. It was much windier and the seas were rougher than predicted and we had a very fast sail. About an hour out Mark caught another mahi-mahi – this one was about twice as heavy as the first one – and we will be feasting on that for a while. He has had such good luck with fishing this year – combination of increased skill, good luck and the right lures.

We are now in Port Sandwich, on the island of Malekula which is a very protected anchorage – considered the safest in all of Vanuatu (safe from wind and seas that is). The wind can howl from any direction at all and you are nice and calm and protected here. To get here you have to head six miles up a little fjord like river (with the unfortunate name “Murder River”). Unfortunately it is not so safe in other respects such as you can’t swim here as it is famous for having had a fatal shark attack here some years ago. It is hard to know exactly when or how this attack happened as each person who tells the story has a little different twist to it, but no matter what the details are… we are staying out of the water.


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