Day 102, Year 2: Day 2 of Passage to Vanuatu
Date and Time: Saturday, August 4, 2007; 1730 Fiji Time
Weather: Winds ESE 20 Knots; Sunny Day with Temps in the Upper-70’s
Latitude: S 18 degrees 42.845 minutes
Longitude: E 174 degrees 29.439 minutes
Miles to Go: 287 (We have come 188.)
Location: Passage from Lautoka, Fiji to Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu
When I booted my computer to start writing this log, the first thing I saw was the screen saver picture of our beautiful grand baby Sam. That always makes me smile. And then the little pop-up at the bottom of the screen came up that says “wireless network unavailable” here. Now that made me laugh. I talked back to the computer and agreed that indeed, there is no wireless connection out here. Then I got worried. Maybe I’ve been out here too long. Talking to a computer doesn’t seem quite right!
At 2200 last night, the bulging half moon rose giving us light for our first night of passage. When it rose out of the sea, it was right behind us and I kept thinking someone had left the back porch light on. With the rising moon, the winds settled a bit. They went from thirty-something to twenty-something which gave us a much smoother ride. I’m using the word “smoother” only to indicate that we were no longer wildly rockin’ and rollin’. The bucking bronco had been tamed just a little. Our
boat speed was reduced from 7 plus knots to 6 plus knots. When we first exited the pass leading out of Fiji waters, we were going so fast the GPS was saying we would arrive in Vanuatu in 58 hours. As the evening went on, it went to 68 hours and settled out at 72 hours to go. Of course, that was last night. We have slowed down a bit and are now sailing head downwind with a double-reefed mainsail and full headsail poled out to starboard. We are now averaging about 6 knots, and at this current speed,
we now have 68 hours and 28 minutes to go to reach Port Resolution on Tanna Island. You might ask, just where is this place? I have been asking myself the same question. So I started reading last night.
If you want to read a funny travel book about Vanuatu and Fiji, get a copy of J. Marteen Troost’s “Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu.” I think I mentioned this when Mark was reading the book a couple of weeks ago. I started reading it last night and you really can’t read a page without a good laugh. I keep checking what Troost is saying against what is written in the Lonely Planet guide and both seem to agree. Vanuatu is a country of 80 small islands,
altogether the size of Connecticut. It sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire where two major tectonic plates meet. Right now, the Pacific techtonic plate is being forced up and over the Indo-Australian plate resulting in frequent earth quakes and volcanic eruptions in Vanuatu’s nine active volcanoes. Vanuatu’s 83 islands stretch from near near New Guina in the north to New Caledonia in the south. Many people here still live according to kastom (custom) where grass skirts and nambas (leaves) are
the only covering. I love Troot’s description of the big nambas and little nambas. You’ve just got to get the book and read it. Vanuatu is also a land of magic and sorcery and kava. Not kava as we know it from Fiji, but really, really strong kava. It still tastes the same, so I guess I’ll avoid that like the plague. Every village speaks their own language, so they have devised a pigeon English language mixed with French called Bislama. Do you have . . .? is “Yu gat . . .?” Thank you is “tank
yu (tumas)–very much.” Excuse me is “skiusmi.” Learning Bislami will be fun or maybe just funny. And pigs are still money here. This is the land of the pigs with curved tusks. Still today a boar with a full-circle tusk is worth up to 40,000 Vatu or about $600 US dollars. There are even magic rocks in Vanuatu. This is going to be quite an experience.