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Showing posts from September, 2015

Bon Voyage

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We've been in Vanuatu for 3 weeks now. It seems like we just got here. Unfortunately, our time here is about to end even though we've only explored 5 of the multitude of islands in this tiny island nation. We made an attempt at the island of Maewo which would have been island number 6, but after we crossed miles of open ocean, we had to turn around with our tail between our legs. When we got to our intended anchorage at Maewo, the wind and weather had shifted around to the south, which turned what would normally be a protected anchorage into a rough and tumble spot that was fully exposed to the wind and swell coming off of the ocean. Since we didn't want to risk the boat in that exposed spot, we headed back to sea and made our way back to Ambae where we spent a couple of more days exploring the island and swimming in crystal clear warm water over the volcanic black sand beaches. It was heavenly.
For the last 3 weeks we've been paying pretty close attention to…

A Ride on a Coconut

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I don't know how many times I can repeat myself before my rambling starts to sound like a broken record, but I'm going to say this again anyway. We are pretty lucky. We've been retired for about a year and a half now, and almost every day brings us something great. We've been able to see and do things that most people only dream about and we've been able to see and do these things with someone we love. Every once in a while, we have a day that stands out as being extraordinary. Today was just one of those days...actually, 3 of those days in a row.
On day one of these 3 extraordinary days, we set sail for one of the outer islands in Vanuatu called Ambae. We had a full day of open ocean sailing to get here. For you sailors out there who are reading this and wondering what it's like to sail in the mighty South Pacific, one word comes to mind...idyllic. This is not like sailing in the Puget Sound where you are bundled up and clutching a cup of coffee to st…

Suckers

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We are currently anchored off a small island called Rotua. It's your typical tropical paradise island and comes complete with all of the things you would normally associate with such an island. Palm trees gently sway in the breeze, there are pristine white sand beaches, there is crystal clear warm water that begs to be swam in, and a vibrant coral reef with oodles of colorful fish. It also has something that is not very typical of the other islands in Vanuatu. It has a 5 star resort and a yacht club.
A French billionaire purchased this island a handful of years ago and decided that he wanted to turn it into a resort. He purchased 200 year old bungalows from Bali and had them brought to the island for the accommodations, he had a small airport runway built on the island so guests could get here easily, and he even had a small farm created with a garden and cattle to feed the guests. Being that it's a 5 star resort, you can guess that it's pretty nice.
Since we …

A Wreck of Epic Proportions

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Back in WWII, the United States made one of the largest bases in the South Pacific on the Island of Santo in Vanuatu. Something like 50,000 troops were stationed here. The US brought tons of stuff that would be used for warfare, like tanks, guns, ships, jeeps, bunkers, etc... After the war, most of the stuff was just left behind. Some of it was left in the jungle to rot and be taken over by vegetation and some of it was just dumped in the ocean (massive amounts of stuff was dumped in the ocean...massive, masive amounts).
In 1942, a battleship/troop carrier named the S.S. President Coolidge was carrying 5,000 plus troops and all of the associated gear that those troops would need to go to battle. The ship was supposed to deliver all those troops and gear to the base on Santo to be staged for battles ahead. Since Santo was a huge base, the US made major efforts to keep the base safe from Japanese attacks which included underwater mine fields and submarine netting to block off…

A Double Birthday and the Italian Connection

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There is an interesting thing that happens on this side of the world. When we left Seattle, we crossed the international date line which puts us one whole day ahead of where we came from. Basically, we lost a day. Because we lost a day, Brenda turned the ripe old age of 40 one day sooner than she would have if we were in Seattle. On September the 12th in Vanuatu, we got to celebrate her big day. But since she says her home is in Seattle, we also got to celebrate her 40th birthday when September 12th happened on that side of the world. Basically, she got the longest birthday known to mankind...2 big days long.
There is another interesting thing that happens when you are cruising the world on a sailboat. You run into other cruisers that come from all parts of the world and all backgrounds. Where we are currently moored on Aore Island in Vanuatu, there are 4 boats that are from 4 different countries. It's an international coalition.
Our newest neighbors just happen to be…

The Third World

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We have a few sets of friends that we know have traveled through third world countries, but for the most part, most of the people we know have not. Until a few days ago, we hadn't either. Sure, we've been to some places in Mexico and even the United States that seemed like they may have been third world, but trust me when I say that they are not even close to where we are now. In our few short days in Vanuatu, we have had our eyes stretched wide open.
If you read my last post, you know that we have arrived in Vanuatu. We had a day to explore the capitol city of Port Vila before we had to hop on another plane that would take us to the largest island in the country called Espiritu Santo. Once we got off the plane, we hopped in a bus and made our way to downtown Luganville which is the largest “city” on the island (the city is about 4 blocks long...it's a tiny city and more like an itty-bitty town). After the bus, we took a quick ferry ride to a neighboring island a…

Vanuatu

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We've made it to Vanuatu! It only took about 25 hours of travel time to get here, but we're here. We have an overnight layover in Port Vila and then we'll be on one more flight to an outer island that will bring us to our good friends in Luganville where we will join them on their boat. Since our “hotel” (it's a pretty awesome “hotel”...more like an open air beach bungalow where we can open our wall of shutters, sit on our deck, and hang our tosies in the ocean...it's really great) in Port Vila has a wifi signal, I thought that I should send out a quick little update because I'm not sure when we'll be able to do this again. I'm also pretty sure that just about none of you will ever make it to this place so I'm going to fill you in on what it's like.
First of all, it's pretty awesome here. We've had about 6 hours to wander around Port Vila and it's nothing like any place either of us have ever been. Port Vila is on the island o…

The big blow

Last weekend the Northwest had what has been called “the storm of the century”, or “the worst wind storm on record for the month of August”, or “Windaggedon”. Whatever you want to call it, it was a lot of wind. I had a few emails and texts asking us if we were still on the boat during the big storm and if we were surviving. Yes we were on the boat and yes we did survive.
Having lived on a boat for just about 20 years now, I can tell you that I have had some pretty rough nights while in my floating home. When you look out your window in your warm and comfy house and see the trees swinging and swaying, we are swinging and swaying with those trees. When you say to yourself, “it looks awfully windy out there!”, we say, “Holy Crap! Did you feel that gust? That's a lot of wind!” I can honestly tell you that after all of those 20 years of living on a boat, we just had the roughest night of our floating home career. Thanks Windaggedon.
For most people, when a big storm comes t…