Monday, September 23, 2013

baby dugong

The calm finally came to us around 3PM and the glassy pink water, reflecting the clearing clouds was spectacular. It was a very intense morning as the wind picked up, sometimes to 40kts, and we turned on the engine and drove forward, just enough to help release the tension on the anchor by keeping us pointed into the wind as it accelerated. Unfortunately, this anchorage did not give us the complete protection from the wind as we had hoped, but at least the reef outside helped keep the swells down. We were so thankful to not be out in the ocean dealing with this gale force wind!!! Amazing how tense it makes you feel inside and out, and I continued silently to breathe deeply and ask the wind to finish and quiet down......of course, I am sure when it began to diminish, it was just because of my plea! :)) Ah.....such power! Seriously, thank you, Wind, for moving on! We did fill our tanks with water and I know the villagers were so very grateful. Tomorrow morning we are going with a local from this island over to the village to find their resident baby dugong; sometimes they do come into this bay, but so far, we have not seen them.  Later tomorrow we will move to another island with good protection, where there are supposed to be more dugongs and some hiking. It will be nice to have some good weather so we can enjoy this area. Hope all is well with everyone. S&D

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Hi you all - David here with another daily update from Sidewinder the wonder ship. We left Laymen Bay on the north end of Epi this morning around 09:00 and sailed over to the south end of Malakula where we are hunkered down in a great little bay ( 16 31.8 S 167 46.0 E )which hopefully will offer us enough protection from the forecasted winds that are suppose to begin tomorrow afternoon. The trip over was delightful with even a spinnaker run to entertain Sidewinders crew and to remind us of our best cruising partners of all time Richard and Virginia on s/v Mandy. The first time we met them on the west coast of the Baja just days after we had left San Diego, they helped us patch our spinnaker. Well the patch is still there and holding like it was done in a sail loft instead of the cockpit of Mandy in Bahia Santa Maria. I love flying that kite and remembering the special times we spent with them. But I also have to mention yet another fish tail, this one was a bull Mahi Mahi about 4 ft. long that fought like a big dog. In fact he fought so hard that after I horsed him in along side the boat and missed with my first gaft attempt he made that last ditch effort and slipped off the hook. I was soooo bummed I yelled at the top of my lungs " Fuc..........." I so wanted to land that beauty and have fish dinner for us along with our cruising partners Evan and Donna off s/v Java. He was big enough to give some to the locals as well and nothing like a little fresh fish to put smiles on their faces. But it wasn't meant to be so that lovely green, golden and blue monster is still out there swimming around with a new knowledge of what not to bite into.
Tomorrow will be a rest day with no crossings or anything on the agenda. Suzi may venture over to the local village and go to church but this old Pirate is hanging out with a good book and a cold beer thank you. It's time for a little R & R ...    So hope all is well at your end's and we will stay in touch. See ya -  D & S   PS. Suzi here just needing to mention the huuuuge turtles with heads the size of coconuts, grazing on the bountiful flat green covered coral laying on the black sandy bottom, right underneath Sidewinder. They were the largest turtles I have seen since the galapagoes and they could care less that I was hovering just above them. WOW! What a treat!


We are now at the north end of Epi in a great little bay with a village large enough to even have not one but two little stores. Calling these stores is maybe pushing it a bit but they do sell things and they sure are stores to the locals. They even have fresh baked bread and peanut butter and to top it off they have "COLD" beer !!! You heard right cold beer and they opened it for us as well so we could stand right there and drink it. Try doing that in the states !!!!  Anyway, as Suzi said in yesterdays post we had a killer sail up from Efate. One of those sails where the wind was at about 120 degrees off the course at about 15-20 knts. and we made it to our new anchorage on one rump line reach !!! From anchor to anchor on one reach is something you don't do very often, we always have to jibe here or tack there or something but to run the rump line from point to point just doesn't happen. It did yesterday and I even hooked a marlin or sailfish or something so big it gave me a stiffy but after almost spooling me ( taking all my line ) the line snapped right at the leader and I lost him. Oh well, too big to land so just as well, but why did he have to go and take my favorite squid jig ?? Hope it gives him a tooth ache before it rusts out and drops free. But all in all it was a killer day and we averaged over 7 knts. which for us is speeding down the line.
Tomorrow we head for the south end of Malakuta where there are a few really protected anchorages and we will need one as there is some weather on the way, that's what the weather forecasters say and I jump when I hear talk like that. So we are "jumping" for a protected little bay with a shallow bottom and good holding. We will try to let you know how the trip went but you know how that goes, can't always depend on these sailmails going out. Steve I don't know if you read the blog or not and knew you would like hearing about a great sail day, as you know, they just come around that often, when it does happen you really enjoy it.

Monday, September 16, 2013


The villages in Vanuatu are beautifully neat, tidy, colorful, and organized. We have already had some very special times with lovely people we have met and we look forward to meeting many more. The power of the volcano is felt and respected by all on Tanna.  What fun to explore this remote area of the world! Today we leave to go around the corner to Mele Bay here on the island of Efate and are looking forward to some wonderful water time. It is cooler here than in Fiji, but we do have sunshine today and that is good! From here we will head up to Havannah Bay and then onward to the northern islands of Vanuatu. Each island has a different culture as well as some great diving, we hear. Off we go!  Love to all,  Suzi and David

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Port Vila, Efate, and Onward To Explore More of Vanuatu

 The volcano energy was quite incredible to be near. What a thrill to hear it roar with life!
Finally we have been able to connect with a strong enough signal to at least say hi to all and update you with our next plan! Thank you to Casey, who has been able to post a few blogs to at least let you know we did, indeed, check into Vanuatu by way of Anatom and we did have a fantastic time standing next to the rim of the volcano on Tanna, as it was groaning, grumbling,  spewing, and explodying. We have been in Port Vila, the capital "city" of Vanuatu, on the island of Efate, for over a week and are close to being able to move on up the chain of islands. We were able to re-connect with great friends from the past, Nick and Kathy on Impala and Linda and Jim on Chesapeake; it was fun finding different restaurants to try and visiting with all of them before they continued on to New Caledonia and Australia. We are now hoping to buddy boat with Evan and Donna on s/v Java, whom we met a while back in Fiji, and make our way up the chain looking for new cultural adventures and surf. We are all still possibly heading for Pohnpei, Micronesia for the typhoon season, but that seems a long way into the future and "ya never know!"  It has been a major challenge to get set up with internet and we do hope that Digicel will be okay for us, but right now, the connection is sporadic with them so we are using left over wi-fi time given to us by our cruising buddies who left a few days ago. We shall see.......  I will try my best to include here some of the pictures from Tanna, so you can all see that we are really finding wonderful people and interesting things to do out so far away. Continue to enjoy life
 Across from where we anchored in Rort Resolution, Tanna, the hot mountain was full of hot springs.
The energy of Tanna's volcanic god was incredible to be near. WOW !!

Monday, September 2, 2013

headed for Port Vila

We moved up to Dillon's Bay on the island of Erronango yesterday and had a tough sail. 20-25 all the way with seas so confused they didn't know what direction they wanted to go. Very rolly, hard to even move from one side of the boat to the other. Would have liked to hang here and explore but the weather report is telling us to move on because of high winds (35 +) on the way. So we will pull anchor around noon headed for Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu and the largest city in these parts by far.