We had 3 days rest in Port Vila to sort out formalities, re provision the boat, do some washing and generally check the place out. We got to know the staff at the Waterfront bar, a hang out for all the yachtie folk and worked out where the cafes were that had the best wifi. Home of the Waterfront bar –
We moved the boat just an hour around the corner to Mele Bay, home of Hideaway Island. The bay was wide and open with some development going on in certain places. Hideaway Island was a small island only about a hundred yards from the shore, small boats ferried people back and forth but there didn’t seem to be much there worth going to see. Instead we found a great cafe/bar on the shore called BeachBar, staff were friendly, menu good, great view !!
It was being managed by some expats and they told us about the night of the cyclone. They said they simply locked the place down and kissed goodbye to it, they weren’t expecting to see anything of it left when they returned. They headed into town to a friends house and just waited, the main storm hit at 9 o’clock and didn’t finish until 2.30 a.m.. They said the noise was the single most amazing thing they remember, the noise simply shook your body and you vibrated with the wind. With the winds come the waves when you’re by the sea and they were expecting 4 meter waves to come through the premises. Fortunately it was a spring low tide so the water was exceptionally low, only a meter of water came through the bar and not much damage was done, it could have been completely washed away.
The next day the winds picked up and there wasn’t much protection so we made a quick dash back to the safety of Port Vila arriving in darkness about 6.30 p.m., we picked up a mooring bouy first time and we were settled. It was a good decision as the weather got worse and it would have been an uncomfortable night out on anchor.
We waited another couple of days before heading up to Havannah Harbour on the north west of Efate, the harbour is well protected and after a bit of a rough ride there around the headland it was great to be protected from most sides. We stayed in and around Havanah Harbour for about 4 days picking different anchorages as we felt.
Havannah Harbour –
We found a good bar called the Wahoo bar where I got a history lesson from Christian an old guy who worked there. It is called Havannah Harbour after the man who was in charge of the US Navy fleet that were based there during WW11 . Apparently it is the deepest harbour in the Pacific hence why the US Navy used it and it proved pivotal in winning the battle of the Coral Sea. A seaplane and naval base were constructed there and they use to go on bombing raids up to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands before returning to Vanuatu.
We stopped just before getting to Havannah harbour for a spot of diving –
Turquoise waters and sheer rock faces of the island –
He also told me of the 3 big cyclones that have happened, the first was in 1958, 28 years later in 1986 there was the second, and another 28 years later (and a bit ) in 2015 there was the 3rd – how strange is that ?
I had a few coffees one morning sitting out on the veranda admiring the view from the Wahoo Bar wondering where else I would rather be right then but it was all kind of good !!
Our boat in one of the sheltered anchorages –
We had just taken the dingy ashore and gone off to explore walking through a very small village and on our way back some locals started yelling. We didn’t know whether they were shouting at us or not but then a young girl appeared with an arm full of cabbages !! They offered them to us as they had too many and we exchanged them for a couple of solar lights we had. We were told that it is a good idea to take things with you as the locals might want to exchange goods but they seem pleased just to give them to us at first !