Saturday, July 23, 2011

Busy days at Ureparapara

Ureparapara is in the Banks Islands in the north of Vanuatu. It is probably as far north as we will go in Vanuatu as I don't think we will head out to the Torres Islands which are the only ones further north. Its a pretty remote spot and I don't think they don't get many visitors but everyone seems to have arrived at the same time! We arrived yesterday from Vanua Lava at the same time as another yacht, 'Giselle', and a local trading boat. The trading boat normally only calls to pick up copra and resupply the island 2-3 times a year and this visit was the first for a year. Unfortunately, the boat does the rounds of the islands and has already run out of flour and rice (and I wonder what will be left by the time it reaches the Torres group?). On the way in, 'Giselle' had caught a huge sailfish but it was way too big for them to deal with. Luckily, the tender to the trader came and took it off their hands, saving them from having to cut the lure. It seemed almost a shame it was such an impressive fish with a big sail-like fin which gives it the name, but it was very tasty on the barbeque that night! There was enough fish for the 3 yachts in the anchorage to get some and the trading boat and the village.

The trading boat left early this morning but in its place two game fishing launches arrived and then the small superyacht 'Kaori'. I suspect this is the busiest the island has been for quite a while! Unusually, the wind is from the NW and apparently it is quite choppy outside today but it is nice and calm here in Lorup Bay, which is open to the predominant SE and usually subject to a bit of swell. The bay was formed when a volcano blew out so has very steep sides and quite dramatic scenery.

When we left Espiritu Santo, we had planned to sail overnight straight to Ureparapara and then work our way slowly south. However, we had a fast and uncomfortable sail on the first day so decided not to continue as we could make an anchorage on Gaua just on dusk. We stopped overnight there and then sailed to the next island, Vanua Lava and anchored at Waterfall Bay. We spent an enjoyable few days here, were welcomed ashore by the Chief and his family, went diving and did our laundry in the stream that flows from the waterfall. Or I should say, waterfalls, as there are two falls parallel to each other about 40m high. We went for several swims/showers under the falls.

Our luck fishing has improved and recently we have caught a mahimahi and two tuna, including our first yellowfin. Unfortunately, we caught both tuna on the same day so the village at Waterfall benefited as we don't have a freezer to keep extra fish. We will spend a few more days here and then hopefully head out to the Reef Islands if the weather settles.


Post a Comment

<< Home