nav notes for Vanuatu 2013

August 29, 2013 – Gaspard Bay, Malekula

Left Port Sandwich at 8:15am and made a quick trip around the corner to Gaspard.

Anchor waypoints:  16-28.053S, 167-48.806E

Wind/wave protection:   good wind protection except from E, then it funnels through, small swells, calm despite the wind

Depth:  24ft

Anchorage:  small, 3-4 boats max

Bottom condition:  mud, good holding

Obstacles:  fringing reef inside and entering the bay, watch charts, navionics is accurate

Entry/exit:  easy if you follow the charts and keep an eye out

Shore access:  nonexistent because of fringing reef and mangroves

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:  poor, 5ft only

Wifi: none

No village but can see where people come to tend the gardens.  Dugongs and turtles inside the bay.  Had many sightings of dugongs poking their noses above water or their tail coming down after diving.  Very quiet and peaceful in the bay.

August 28, 2013 – Port Sandwich, Malekula

Left Uri at 7:15am and made it into Port Sandwich at 3:45pm.  9 tacks to get here.  Beautiful anchorage off small village and could hear the birds onshore.

Anchor waypoints:  16-26.370S, 167-47.052E

Wind/wave protection:  good protection from all directions

Depth: 45ft

Anchorage:  big, room for lots of boats

Bottom condition:  sand and mud

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  didn’t go

Bugs:  none

Weather:  okay

Water visibility:   didn’t go in – sharks feed in the area so too dangerous

Wifi:  good

August 27, 2013 – Uri Island, Port Stanley, off Malekula

Left Wala at 9:15am and dropped the anchor at 1pm.

Anchor waypoints:  16-05.907S, 167-27.649E in 33ft

Wind/wave protection:  low lying mangrove island so minimal protection from wind but good wave protection from SE tradewinds – no swells when whitecaps were outside

Depth:  50+ ft but we anchored in 33ft

Anchorage:  good size if anchoring in 50ft

Bottom condition:  sand mud mix with good holding

Obstacles:  coral bommie on shoal, easy to see in good light at low tide

Entry/exit:  easy – charts are okay

Shore access:  didn’t go ashore

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:  couldn’t tell

Wifi: okay for sailmail only

Evelyn came out in her canoe from Uri and wanted to trade fruit, then her grandkids came out and wanted to trade more fruit – very friendly

August 24, 2013 – Wala Island off Malekula

Left Surundu at 7:15am and out the pass at 8am.  Dropped the anchor at 2:50pm.

Anchor waypoints:  15-58.641S, 167-22.462E in 20.7 ft

Wind/wave protection:  good from the East, elsewhere not so good, big current and swells

Depth:  20 ft

Anchorage:  small, need to be close to shore in 20 ft

Bottom condition:  sand

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy next to big new jetty –  across to Malekula go through reef and drag dinghy onto beach

Bugs:  none on the boat – on land mosquitos

Weather:  nice and cool

Water visibility:  great but too windy with big swells so didn’t snorkel

Wifi:  slow but got sailmail

Two men act as tour guides, Charlie and George, who seem competitive.  Charlie approached us first in his canoe and gave us a tour of Wala, picked some pomplemousse (fabulous) and took us next day to see small namba dance on Malekula.  Paid $4,500 p/pp to the chief for the dance.  $500 to Charlie for the Wala tour and traded some line for food.  Next day went with George back to Malekula to see big namba dance.  Hitched ride to Lakatoro to go to the bank, the farmers market (very small) then got truck to drive us to the dance.  Only 4 adults and many children performed but still interesting.  $7,000 p/p for dance, $5,000 transport, $750 ride to Lakatoro, plus $200 to bring truck to us and $2,000 to George.   George invited us to dinner at his home – we should have brought a torch with us.  Very warm and friendly family.

August 23, 2013 – Surunda, Santo

Anchor waypoints:  15-27.380S, 167-13.516E in 28ft

Wind/wave protection:  wind protection good for E, S, W – wave protection good for E, S, NW

Depth:  into the pass at low tide 16-18ft w/bow watch, anchor area is big and flat less than 30ft

Anchorage:  large

Bottom condition:  white sand

Obstacles:  reefs within a swim distance, very few coral heads all easy to spot

Entry/exit:  easy even in low tide with bow watch

Shore access:  good

Bugs:  none

Water visibility:  terrible, barely 5ft – last year it was great

Wifi:  none

August 19, 2013 – Champagne Beach, Hog Harbour

4 hours to go from Peterson Bay to Champagne Beach.  Gorgeous colors, all shades of blue water, white sand with sulus flapping in the breeze.

Anchor waypoints:   15-08.392S, 167-07.291E

Wind/wave protection:  good protection for Easterly wind, open to the North

Depth:  65ft where we anchored

Anchorage:  large, many boats can fit here – got a little rolly with swells wrapping the NE corner and Northerly swells

Bottom condition:  sand and coral heads

Obstacles:  obvious reef visible at low tide

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  to William’s home is through a reef, pull dinghy onto beach and wheels make it easier – to access the beach use the cement dock which is easy

Bugs:  none

Water visibility:  very clear about 50ft and warm water

Wifi:   good with Digicel

William and 2 of his kids went with us to drift snorkel the small island.  Lots to see.  Next day we met William at his home and his family took us on a hike up a steep hill to a large bat cave then we drank fresh coconut water.  $500 p/p and well worth it.  Later he went with us out to the nearby reef for more snorkeling also lots to see.  He and his family are super friendly, love having their pictures taken and William will take your camera and take lots of pictures of you.

August 17, 2013 – Peterson Bay, Santo

Anchor waypoints:   15-22.788S, 167-11.683E

Wind/wave protection:  good, open to tradewinds behind a reef

Depth:  at the pass 16ft, anchored in 55ft

Bottom condition:  white sand

Obstacles:  2 poles for guides around the reefs

Entry/exit:  easy using the markers

Shore access:  good in all the islands and the dry spots are walkable – island in front of us is private property

Bugs:  none, just a couple flies

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:   good but not much to see immediately around the boat

Wifi:  intermittent even at Oyster Resort

the 2 blue holes are a must.  this year the one close to Oyster charged $300 p/p, we didn’t have enough but they let us go up anyway.  the other blue hole charged $500 p/p.  both are great for fresh water bathing and doing laundry.  I paddled into the one on the left and could hear all the birds with the quiet.

Million Dollar Point was a fun snorkeling adventure.  left the dinghies by the dock across from Oyster and they gave us a free ride 30-40 minutes into Luganville.  We hired a taxi to drive us to Million Dollar Point then come back 2 hours later and drive us back to our dinghies.  Taxi cost for 4 people was $4,000 plus $500 p/p entrance fee to MDP.  Fresh water shower outside, brought a picnic lunch and 2 hours was plenty of time to snorkel, shower and eat.  Interesting debris to look at in clear water.

2 thoughts on “nav notes for Vanuatu 2013

  1. no, thankfully it’s not US$. 1 US$ = $96V so just take off the last 2 digits and that’s roughly what it cost.

  2. I am loving catching up on your posts. William’s family is beautiful! Will write more later but one question now …. When you say “Paid $4,500 p/pp to the chief for the dance” you aren’t talking US dollars, right? what does that equate to in their local money?

    Nancy Munroe
    Secretary to Jeanna C. Steele,
    Rebecca Stuart, Jennifer Cone
    and Candida Malferrari
    Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
    650 Page Mill Road
    Palo Alto, California 94304-1050
    Main: 650-493-9300
    Direct: 650-845-5944
    Fax: 650-565-5100
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