Saturday, August 06, 2011

Feeling the Cold

The temperature has dropped here recently and we are feeling the cold. At night it has dropped below 25 degrees necessitating the use of a sheet and making a welcome change from it being too hot to sleep! At the moment there is a cold wind blowing, although the thermometer, mounted above the chart table where I am writing this, registers 28.3. We are currently in Asanvari in Maewo Island. It is nice and calm here, if a bit gusty, but outside of the headland the white caps are roaring past.

We sailed here from Gaua in the Banks via Ambae Island. The passages to and from Gaua we motored as there was very little wind but we beat into a S/SE wind of 25ish from Lolowai Bay in Ambae to Asanvari. There was quite a steep sea so at times we were getting solid water over the decks but tucked in the lee of Maewo Island, the going wasn't too bad and we had good views of the lush green hills with tumbling waterfalls. Lolowai is a small unprepossessing town in a lovely setting in the flooded crater of a volcano. To get there we had to motor over a shallow coral sill which afforded excellent protection once inside. The towns in Vanuatu have struck us as being quite scruffy in contrast to the villages which appear very neat and tidy. Most villages we have seen have swept, hedge-lined paths and flowers between the thatched huts with maybe the occasional concrete building. The odd solar panel or person holding a cell phone is the only evidence that we are still in the same century. Although only western clothing is worn.

Asanvari is also a sheltered bay and a good place to wait for more favourable weather. Unfortunately, the holding is poor on coral gravel and rocks. This morning we discovered we had dragged overnight and we found a large coral boulder wedged in our anchor when we brought it up, so no wonder we weren't staying put. We have admitted defeat and picked up a recently vacated mooring in the bay, one of 3 put down by the Island Cruising Association. Yesterday we went on a walk with Erica to her family's gardens. Each family has an area of land for growing coconuts, kava and vegetables such as 'island cabbage' (a sort of cross between spinach and bok choy) etc. To get to Erica's was about a 30 minute walk uphill passing another village. There was an area of coconut palms and two cleared areas with kava bushes, taro, banana plants and vegetables (mostly island cabbage it appeared). We tried some sugarcane and were shown a nutmeg tree on the way home. We bought some bananas, coconuts and passionfruit to supplement our dwindling supply of fresh food.

We are hoping from the latest forecast that the wind will ease tonight and we will be able to head for Ambrym tomorrow.

Happy Birthday to those in both our families who are celebrating around now


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