Category Archives: Vanuatu

Sailing Vanuatu Islands Part 2

Our last stop on Malakula was Wala island a small island on the east coast, we anchored on the north shore which gave us good protection from the south east winds.

Sailing vanuatu islands Wala island

Wala island vanuatu

We were met by a guy who was interested in getting his invertors repaired, when we went to his house we saw he had two huge speakers and was clearly blowing them up after some serious music was being played ! We tried to help but they were shot to pieces, I think he gives them to every passing boat to fix but knows they have had it. Another guy we met on the beach was a quietly spoken man called George, he asked us if we wanted a tour of the island and to go and see the ‘stones’. He asked us what sort of food we ate on the boat, we didn’t know whether he was asking as he had very little food or if he was just being inquisitive. We said we didn’t have too much as we needed to restock in Luganville as we had been away for over a week, he then asked if we would like to come to dinner that night with his family, I think he thought we were going to go hungry !! He then apologised to us as he hadn’t shaved for a while, his mother had died 11 days earlier and as he was in mourning he wasn’t allowed to shave for 30 days. It seemed to be that you had 30 days to mourn and that would be it as later he showed us his mothers house and said that he would take it down after 30 days and then she would be gone.

He took us through some land filled with coconut trees which led to a clearing filled with large stones on either side. When a child was born a large stone was carried from the sea up onto the land, one side for boys, one side for girls. In front of the stone were placed some smaller stones were a pig would get slaughtered in celebration. There did seem to be an awful lot more boys that seemed to be born than girls going by the number of stones, but then he said that the men had to carry the boys stones and the women the girls stones. I think the story did get lost in translation a little but it was an interesting walk through the island.


The ‘stones’ –

Wala island vanuatu

Me and George hanging out near one of their drums made from a tree trunk –

Wala island vanuatu

He showed us his house and the new house he was building next door, this was to be built partially of brick and he was saving up for the concrete floor which was currently coral from the shore.

The ‘new’ church with the old church next to it –

Wala island vanuatu

Wala island vanuatu

We returned to the boat for the rest of the afternoon before going back to Georges house for dinner with his family. He was there with his wife, daughter, brother, and other members of his family all sitting on the floor waiting for us. He had asked me before whether I wanted to try Kava, a drink that is drunk all across the Pacific and other places too. Its basically a crushed up root vegetable which has the effects similar to drinking alcohol. I had to sit away from the rest of the family and he poured me a glass of it telling me to drink it in one !! Fortunately it was dark so I didn’t really get to examine it but I’m pretty sure it looked similar to pond water and tasted similar too. It made the tongue and lips go slightly numb but nothing much else, I had another cup later with similar effect but nothing much else happened.

Wala island

Chris, Lisa and I were served dinner first with the others waiting and watching, it seemed to be that we had to eat first and then the kids would eat next. I noticed that George and his brother never ate, maybe there wasn’t enough to go around. It was a simple meal of rice, yams, vegetables, and to wash it all down rain water poured from a kettle. It was nice of them to have invited us to their home and have dinner with them, they had so little but were so very generous.

During our visit we had noticed a floating pontoon stacked up on the beach, the tourism board had managed to get cruise ships to come to the island. George said that there hadn’t been a ship for 7 months because of the cyclone but the cyclone had only been 3 months earlier. Apparantly the village chief had started to get greedy and instead of accepting the agreed price for each ship visited he now wanted to charge per person and now the cruise ships were never going to return. A big loss of income for the tiny island.

One thing you have to remember on some of these far away islands is that you could always become dinner – apparantly the last reported case of cannibalism was only in 1987 !!

Wala island

We left Wala island the next day and George was waiting on the beach to wave us goodbye, it was a worth while stop and we were pleased we went there.

We now weren’t far from our destination of Luganville so we stopped off just south at Ratua island resort. It was a private island resort but you were allowed to anchor outside and come in and use the facilties like restaurant and bar. It was a peaceful anchorage and a great stop for our final night before Luganville.

Ratua island luganville vanuta

Ratua island luganville vanuatu

Ratua island luganville vanuatu

Ratua island

Sailing Vanuatu Islands Part 1

We left Port Villa to start touring around some of the islands on our way to Luganville on Espiritu Santo. We went back to Mele Bay so the owners could visit the Cascade waterfalls, I stayed in the BeachBar catching up on some wifi and admiring the view.

Sailing vanuatu islands

We returned back to Havannah Harbour and dropped anchor at our original spot only a short dingy ride from the Wahoo bar.

Havannah harbour anchorage

We chatted to George and Christian again two local guys who had worked there for a few years, Chris and Lisa were going to have a meal at the Italian next door but we were enjoying ourselves so much we decided to stay and eat there.

We moved out of Havannah Harbour the next day and started to head north, we sailed for the island of Emae which was about 35 nautical miles away. The journey took us about 6 hours and we hit a few squalls along the way, the anchorage at Sulua Bay wasn’t great as although there were three volcanoes on the island the anchorage was right behind the middle of two of them so the wind blew straight between them !

Emae island

The island looked pretty deserted but then we spotted a few people on the beach, before we knew it an old tin boat had appeared with two guys rowing and one guy selling us some vegatables. They had a bit of a long trip back as the wind was blowing them offshore, hardwork for a few dollars. He had promised us some lobster the next morning but we never saw him on the shoreline and we couldn’t wait anymore.

Our next stop was the island of Epi and Revolieu Bay 25 miles away, a morning sail had us there in no time. We stopped for the afternoon and stayed the night as we had plenty of time on our hands.

We moved up to Lamen Bay which is positioned on the top north west corner of Epi. There were already three boats there and we were soon joined by another two later that day. The anchorage was well protected even though there were quite strong gusts but the anchor dug in well and didn’t budge for the next couple of days.


We went ashore to find quite a lot of people congregating around the village, it was the week of celebrating their independence, July 30th was independence day and they had made a week of it !! The biggest attraction seemed to be the football tournament, 11 teams from around Epi were competing for the cash prize, we never found out how much the cash prize was but only the winning team took the prize fund. We listened to the commentator for some time and the only thing we understood was that if there was any swearing the player would be sent off and should be very ashamed of himself, if only the players in the Premier League understood these rules !! It looked very professional and the team from nearby Lamen Island were warming up with routines akin to army manoeuvres. It did actually look like they were sponsored by the German national team, very German looking colours with AIG written all over them !!

Epi vanuata

The grandstand was packed (thats the thing in the middle of the picture)

Epi vanuatu

There were various food stalls set up and music played on into the night, I think they were going to enjoy themselves for the week !

We had a 32 mile trip to Malakula a neighbouring island and stopped at Banam Bay. We visited a village called Fartapo and as soon as we landed two young children appeared followed by a man who welcomed us ashore, he said his name was John Eedy and soon his wife appeared too. They seemed to live on the edge of the village and said that it was ok to leave our dingy there and walk on, they were very interested in where we had come from and we gave the two kids a couple of gifts.

Fartapo village malakula

Two locals fishing in the bay –

Fartapo village malakula

We soon met the rest of the children of the village who came out to see us and when Lisa gave them some paper and pens it soon turned into a bit of a frenzy !! They were also given a packet of stickers but clearly didn’t really know what to do with them, they had to be shown how to peel them off the card and then placed somewhere, mostly on each other.

Fartapo village

We met one lad called Joseph, quiet at first but then started to talk to us more, he asked if he could ask us a question – ‘Do you have a soccer ball ?’. Unfortunately we didn’t which was a shame as it seemed to be the most important to him, that and getting an Australian girlfriend. He asked us to take his picture and make sure that we took it back to Australia to show the Aussie girls !! We asked him why he wanted an Aussie girlfriend and he said – ‘just to talk to and walk around with !’ – if only it was that easy.

We soon met another guy who came up to us who spoke great English, he took us to the end of the village where he lived with his wife and four sons. They had two small houses built simply of timber and woven dried leaves, one to live and cook in and one for them all to sleep in. We chatted for a while and just before we were about to leave he talked to his wife and said he had a gift for us, we told him that it really wasn’t necessary but they insisted and gave us a snake bean !! It might not seem much but the only thing they really have is food and yet they happily give it away to strangers who passed through their village.

Me with said snake bean –20150724_172157-2

On our way back to the boat we met another guy who said hello who had just come back from his plot where he grew vegetables. He had an hour and a half walk there and back everytime he wanted to dig up some new dinner. He asked us if we liked yams and think he was just about to give us some of his crop but we told him we already had enough on the boat. We could have left the village with more than we went in with such is the generosity of the island people. Joseph appeared again and told us that the kids had gone to get us coconuts and true to their word appeared with fresh coconuts to drink. One girl was ripping off the dense husks with her teeth and soon another showed us how they do it – rather you than me I thought !!

Walk back through the village –

Fartapo malakula

Fartapo malakula

We said goodbye to everybody and Joseph had the last word -‘Don’t forget me !’

Fartapo village

Lisa later managed to send a soccer ball addressed to Joseph to his village, we all hoped he would get it.