Day 123, Year 2: From Ambryn to Malekula
Date: Saturday, August 25, 2007
Weather: Mostly Overcast Day with Periods of Rain
Latitude: S 16 degrees 28.420 minutes
Longitude: E 167 degrees 49.203 minutes
Location: Gaspard Bay, South Malekula Island, Vanuatu

We traveled from the east to southwest today with northeast winds behind us. We motor sailed, sailed wing and wing, motor sailed again, and finally just motored our way into Gaspard Bay on the very southeast tip of Malekula Island. It was an easy day, only 32.5 miles from anchorage to anchorage. We traveled with Ranger and Scot Free II. Diva, Arctic Fox, and Rendezvous Cay went a little further to Awai (pronounced like Hawaii without the ‘h’). We plan to spend a few days here in the Maskelyne
Islands on the south end of Malecula, and then possibly sail up the east side of the island. All will depend on the weather, but at this point, this plan looks like it will work for us. We are hoping to visit Sakao Island here and meet Chief Willie. Travel here is all done by sailing outrigger, and we have some canvas from New Zealand that we are to deliver to him. We also hope to go down to a little island called Ulivea where there is giant clam reserve and to a snorkeling spot where the National
Geographic cruise ships go. The snorkeling is supposed to be really great. In between water excursions, we hope to spend some time just chilling out. We have been on the go ever since we arrived in Fiji in May, and some down time would be nice. But if I were a betting person, I would say that there will be no down time. Somehow we will manage to find just one more thing that we must see or do. We shall see. Right now, it is evening here and we are listening to a mix of classical music on our
MP3 player. We are in a quiet little anchorage with nothing but bird sounds and it is so peaceful. So maybe we are on the right track for down time.

We are still reeling from the experience we had at the Ambryn festival. It was just all so fantastic, but almost unreal. But there is a little side story that I must tell. After we returned from the festival yesterday, Marie and I gathered as many school supplies as we could from our two boats and Mark and I took them back to shore to give to a very young primary teacher we had met on the way back from the festival. She has 33 first and second graders and all she could say was that it is “very
hard work.” I could certainly emphasize with her and we wanted to give her supplies that might make things just a little easier for her. Mark and I then went back to Windbird to print some photos for Chief Justin. We were to meet him on the beach at 5 PM with the photos and then stay for a little kava session. We got there and delivered the photos, but Mark and I decided that we just had too much to do to get ready to leave early this morning to stay for the kava–any excuse we can make to avoid
this nasty stuff. So we said our goodbyes and left Gerry of Scot Free II, Tim of Arctic Fox, Mark of Diva, Jan of Christina, Rose, Tim, and Joe of Rendezvous Cay, and a couple from New Zealand with Chief Justin and a few locals. We heard nothing more about this until this morning, but evidently there were four rounds of kava and everyone came back to their boats pretty wasted. Some were very sick, throwing up all night, while others were just went to sleep immediately. Ambryn kava is known to
be among the strongest, and I think that might be right. Two shells (a half of a coconut shell) of Vanuatu kava are supposed to leave you fairly wasted for a couple of days. But four shells?? Obviously not a wise idea. They should have read Getting Stoned with Savages. This is one time when I am really glad we opted not to participate.

So Ambryn is behind us now and we are on to adventures here in the Maskelyne Islands on the south end of Malekula. Captain Cook named this island after his successful venture into Port Sandwich just around the corner from us. It was successful in that he didn’t get eaten. So he named it Mallicollo which I have been told translates as “bad bottom.” In the Lonely Planet guide there is a reference to this and some explanations as to why it might have been named thus. “Most stories involve mischievous
villagers, plants that contain a strong skin irritant, kava, and French sailors clutching their rear ends, shouting ‘Mal a cul!’.” After last night’s experience, I’ll go with the kava story.

070825 Day 123 Malekula, Vanuatu–Ambrym to Malekula