Day 147, Year 2: Trip to the Mele-Maat Cascades
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Weather: Sunny Morning, Rainy Afternoon
Location: Port Vila, Efate

” . . . and it will most likely change.” That is Paul on Ranger’s daily mantra concerning weather reports, and he is most likely correct. We started our day at the internet cafe taking a close look at New Zealand’s MetVuw 7-day weather forecast and comparing that to our GRIB files. For once, both are in agreement that our best weather window is to leave here late on Thursday, arriving in the Loyalty Islands on Saturday morning. We could also leave on Friday and probably have better winds, but
by Monday a system will be going through New Caledonia bringing windier weather. We’d like to get there before that system approaches, so we will probably leave here on Thursday. “Probably” is the key term. We will check out in the morning and arrange to get duty free fuel on Thursday morning. We will then be ready to leave if the weather gods so will.

After checking out the weather, we hopped on a bus with Ranger and Scot Free II and headed to the Mele-Maat Cascades. This was about a 20-minute bus ride out of Vila. We arrived at our destination and could immediately see the pools of milky-clear water. We had read that the pools would be crystal clear, but I think the amount of rain we have had in the past few days might have contributed to the milky-tint to the water. Mark thinks the rocks were limestone and that was the source of the milkiness.
He thought this because he saw stalactite formations in some of the falls, looking identical to formations you would see in a limestone cave. As we started our walk up to the waterfall, we passed water rushing over rocks and falls forming pool after pool of water. We then started to climb and had to walk through the pools and sometimes rushing water. These were the cascades. As we approached the falls, the path was through pools of water and small climbs up the rocks made possible by steps carved
into the stone. The final ascent was straight up the falls holding onto to guide ropes as the path leads you up the mountain of water. At the top, there were two pools of beautiful water formed by the 35 meter falls. We swam in the pools and stood under the water crashing down from above. The water was cool at first, but once we adjusted to the temperature, it was very pleasant. We were surrounded by rainforest and waterfalls. It was truly stunning.

We were back at the Waterfront restaurant by 1:00 in the afternoon. We all had lunch together and then Mark and I went back to the internet cafe to do a little more research on our destination in the Loyalty Islands. Mark then took me to Windbird and he went back into town to do one last ATM withdrawal in Vanuatu. We need money to check-out in the morning and to get fuel on Thursday. I spent my time figuring out what we have onboard that needs to be shipped to the US before we leave here. Both
New Caledonia and Australia have very stringent entry requirements, and there are things that we have bought that might not make entry. Those will be shipped home tomorrow.

070918 Day 147 Efate, Vanuatu–Mele-Maat Cascades
070918 Day 147b Efate, Vanuatu–Mele-Maat Cascades, Pics from Scot Free II
Day 148, Year 2: A Visit to a Magical Place
Day 146, Year 2: A Little of This, A Little of That