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.
We returned back to Havannah Harbour and dropped anchor at our original spot only a short dingy ride from the Wahoo bar.
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 !
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 !!
The grandstand was packed (thats the thing in the middle of the picture)
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.
Two locals fishing in the bay –
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.
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.
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 –
We said goodbye to everybody and Joseph had the last word -‘Don’t forget me !’
Lisa later managed to send a soccer ball addressed to Joseph to his village, we all hoped he would get it.