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
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
Water visibility: poor, 5ft only
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
Anchorage: big, room for lots of boats
Bottom condition: sand and mud
Shore access: didn’t go
Water visibility: didn’t go in – sharks feed in the area so too dangerous
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
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
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
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
Water visibility: terrible, barely 5ft – last year it was great
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
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
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
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.