Nav Notes

Return to 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.

RETURN TO FIJI IN 2013

June 21, 2013 – Cousteau Resort

Anchor waypoints:  16-48.870S, 179-16.874E

Wind/wave protection:  protected from the SE, E, NE, N

Depth:  38ft

Obstacles:  none

Bugs:  none

June 22, 2013 – Namena

Anchor waypoints:  17-06.672S, 179-05.628E

Wind/wave protection:  good trade wind protection exposed to everything else

Depth:  66ft

Anchorage:  large (6 boats maybe) with 1 mooring ball

Bottom condition:  coral rubble

Obstacles:  1 obvious reef from shore

Entry/exit:  easy wide passage

Shore access:  small beach but it’s a private island with big no entry sign posted

Bugs:  none

Weather:  blue sky no wind

Water visibility:  not great, 20 ft maybe.  snorkeling was great, lots of reef fish, great for standup paddling too.

Where we anchored we had less rolling and we heard the nesting birds all day long.  When we moved to the buoy we couldn’t hear the birds and when the wind changed to NE it was unpleasantly rolly.  Called Moody’s Resort on ch. 14 to advise we were anchored and a guy came out to collect $30F per person – it’s a Fiji reserve – no sevusevu.

June 27, 2013 – Makogai

Anchor waypoints:  17-26.521S, 178-57.188E

Wind/wave protection:  good for everything except NW

Depth:  35 ft

Anchorage:  huge, can fit lots of boats

Bottom condition:  coral sand

Obstacles:  1 bommie marked with white buoy

Entry/exit:  easy – 36ft deep in the pass

Shore access:  easy, at low tide a visible path through the coral to shore

Bugs:  mosquitoes on land not on the boat

Weather:  great

Water visibility:  okay.  great snorkeling especially around giant clam beds

The research center is funded by the govt for repopulating turtles and giant clams throughout Fiji.  Did sevusevu with Chief Kameli.  Watched the children taken to school by boat each day to the other side of the island.  Giant clam beds are marked with buoys.  Incredible sunsets from the west-facing anchorage.  Good for standup paddling.  Interesting remains from the leper colony from 1911 to 1969. There were over 4,500 patients here including many from other Pacific Island groups. In 1948, an effective treatment for leprosy was introduced and then the colony was phased out over the next 20 years.   No wifi.

June 30, 2013 – Naingai

Anchor waypoints:  17-34.283S, 178-40.638E

Wind/wave protection:  great E to S

Depth:  36 ft

Bottom condition:  sand with some low lying coral easy to spot, closer to shore slippery rocks

Obstacles:  none, come straight in stay away from the edges – 2 bommies close to our anchor spot about 30ft down

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  slippery rocks before small sand beach

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:  to 35ft

Snorkeling was average along shore and eastern point – hard and soft coral not in good shape, lots of reef fish but cloudy water at the point.  Water was cold.  No village in this anchor spot so didn’t do sevusevu.  No wifi.

July 1, 2013 – Navuniivi-Village-Ra in Viti Levu Bay, Viti Levu

Anchor waypoints:  17-27.379S, 178-15.339E

Wind/wave protection:  good if you anchor on SE side deep in the bay

Depth:  ~73ft at entrance slowly goes to 24 ft

Anchorage:  huge anchorage with a couple villages scattered around

Bottom condition:  black mud – great holding – but hard to clean off

Obstacles:  Viti Levu Bay is wide open and easy, but to get to the entrance of this bay you really need Curly’s waypoints

Entry/exit:  charted pinnacle in middle of the bay, details unknown

Shore access:  easy but beware of low tide which can leave your dinghy in mud 100 yds from water

Bugs:  mosquitos in the village not on the boat

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:  poor

We did sevusevu with the Chief up the cement walk.  No wifi.

July 2, 2013 – bay between Melake & Viti Levu

Anchor waypoints:  17-19.450S, 178-10.576E

Wind/wave protection:  good for E (SE-N) but excessive winds 2 of the 3 days we were here

Depth:  31ft

Anchorage:  huge

Bottom condition:  mud, great holding

Obstacles:  stay to the middle of the bay coming in, charted hazard around edges

Entry/exit:  easy where charted.

Shore access:  20 min. dinghy ride to Malake Pt. at decaying wharf and cement ramp

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy but day 3 finally calmed down

Water visibility:  poor

This is a huge anchorage after you pass Volivoli Point midway between Malake Island and Viti Levu.  ~68ft at entrance to anchor area, then shallows to 1ft near cement ramp.  This is a good place to access Rakiraki for provisions.  Bring dinghy gas can and valuables up the ramp to the house on the right for safe keeping (we gave them $5F) then get cab for $8F into town or wait for the bus.

July 5, 2013 – Tuinereke

Anchor waypoints:  17-22.702S, 178-00.643E

Wind/wave protection:  good but open to the W

Depth:  56ft – low tide at 9:30pm anchored in 13ft

Bottom condition:  mud and coral rubble, not flat but high and low areas – marginal holding

Obstacles:  fringing reefs

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  none

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy

Water visibility:  15-20ft

This is a large wide open anchorage good for day hopping to or from Denarau.

July 6, 2013 – Saweni Bay

Anchor waypoints:  17-38.566S, 177-23.617E

Wind/wave protection:  great protection but open to the North

Depth:  25 ft

Bottom condition:  great holding in mud

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  didn’t go

Bugs:  none

Weather:  blue skies, no wind, calm

Water visibility:  poor – close to shore

July 7, 2013 – Denarau

Anchor waypoints:  17-45.422S, 177-23.306E

Wind/wave protection:  good protection from SE to NE, open to the West

Depth:  17 ft

Bottom condition:  great holding in mud

Obstacles:  just mudflats

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  ~15 minute dinghy ride into the marina to the dinghy dock

Bugs:  none

Weather:  variable

Water visibility:  poor

This is a good place to wait for a mooring ball at Denarau Marina.  It’s close to the channel going into the marina and can get rolly from big boat traffic.

July 13, 2013 – Nalauwaki, Waya Island

Anchor waypoints:  17-16.396S, 177-07.025E

Wind/wave protection:  great for Easterlies through S, SW, SE but still windy coming over the mountain ~15k

Depth:  30ft

Anchorage:    big

Bottom condition:  sand and grass with great holding, cleaned our muddy chain and sand dribbled off – good for an anchor that penetrates grass

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy but thread your way through the reef  – kids helped guide us

Bugs:  none

Weather:  too windy to get in the water, wind made the boat rock some

Water visibility:  ~20ft

Dolphins swam at the bow of the boat before we got to the anchorage.  We did sevusevu with the chief – he said there are about 300 people living there from 100 families.  We left the boat to go to a small beach but found nothing of interest, mostly too windy to do anything.

July 16, 2013 – Vunayawa Bay and Somosomo, Naviti

Anchor waypoints:  17-04.950S, 177-16.615E

Wind/wave protection:  almost none but great SE swell protection – wind blows over low land of palm trees

Depth:  109ft into the bay, then went to 90, then 70, anchored in 35ft

Anchorage can hold 6-8 boats

Bottom condition:  sand, great holding

Obstacles:  fringing reef easy to see

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy through the reef beds

Bugs:  none

Weather:  windy – by 2pm winds picked up to 25-28k all night, wind calmed about 5-6am then picked up to 33k and we all moved closer to Somosomo

Water visibility:  ~20ft

We walked on the jungle path to the other side (Manuka) to snorkel the Spitfire plane in 10ft water in cloudy visibility and choppy water.  A very friendly elderly couple live here, Clara and her husband, aged 76 and 82.  They had a fabulous bure built for them.  Not much to see snorkeling around Vunayawa Bay.

We moved the boat around the corner to Somosomo near the village and behind a big hill.

Anchor waypoints:  17-05.959S 177-15.820E

Wind/wave protection:  good wind/wave protection for trade winds

Depth:  30ft

Bottom condition:  sand

Anchorage:  6-8 boats

Obstacles:  scattered reefs well marked with sticks

Weather:  wind gusts to 28k, rain in the evening, some rolling, then wind shifted from SE to E, eventually to the N NE as a front and trough passed through.  No wifi.

July 21, 2013 – Blue Lagoon, Nanuya-sewa Island

Anchor waypoints:  16-56.567S, 177-22.021E

Wind/wave protection:  not good in S, maybe okay SE to E

Depth:  57ft at anchorage but 28ft at the pass coming in

Bottom condition:  muddy sand, good holding

Obstacles:  solid reefs on both sides of Kubo Pass.  Use Google Earth for lat/long to enter the pass.  We didn’t have GE and missed the pass and almost got stuck in the reef.  Fortunately we could back out and follow another boat in.  Once through the pass it’s well marked coming in between the islands.

Anchorage:  there were 11 boats here when we arrived plus the cruise ship

Entry/exit:  straight forward if you use Google Earth, see above

Shore access:  easy but it’s a resort with limited access

Bugs:  none

Weather:  wind blew from S the whole time

Water visibility:  ~20ft

Great wifi.  It felt like Disneyland with the big cruise ship, pangas zipping back and forth and the cattle boats taking tourists to various destinations.  Too busy for us.  When we left we noted this WP for entering Kubo Pass: 16-59.560S, 177-22.280E.

July 23, 2013 – Sawa-i-Lau Island

Anchor waypoints:  16-50.821S, 177-28.020E

Wind/wave protection:  SE to NW, open to S/SW

Depth:  49ft and we put out 150ft chain

Bottom condition:  sand – anchor dragged before it caught

Obstacles:  careful through the pass – Google Earth was off.  Instead we used 16-51.881S, 177-28.189E and 16-51.761S, 177-27.977E.  Inside we dropped the anchor near the reef connecting the village to the island.

Anchorage:  large if you can anchor in over 50ft – cruise ship came in on Wednesday

Entry/exit:  eyeball it – had 2k current coming out when we left

Shore access:  easy – anchor the dinghy according to the tide.  The bottom is broken coral so wear shoes

Bugs:  none

Weather:  too windy to paddleboard

Water visibility:  ~20ft

Good wifi.  Did a quick sevusevu at the cave entrance – basically handed over the kava and got a hand clap.  Ladies sell crafts.  Cave is open 9-11:30 and best to go at 9 before the pangas bring the tourists from nearby resorts.  We went at 10 and had to wait to go in, then had to wait inside the cave in water about 40 minutes before entering the next cave.  Wear a wetsuit and fins.  $10F/pp plus $5F for the guides.  This was our favorite anchorage with interesting rock formations, lovely float through the narrow pass between Sawa-i-Lau and Nanuva Island – great for kayaking and paddling.

July 26, 2013 – Yalobi Bay, Waya

Anchor waypoints:  17-18.635S, 177-07.465E

Wind/wave protection:  good protection for SE, E, NE, N

Depth:  50ft with 150ft chain

Anchorage:  10+ boats could fit

Bottom condition:  sand

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy

Bugs:  none

Weather:  almost no wind, calm

Water visibility:  not much

This was just an overnight stop for us.  Wifi intermittent.  Rugby game on shore with lots of music and they have crafts for sale in the early morning.

We are happy to share our nav notes with whomever can use them, but keep in mind these are WPs off our chart plotter so use your eyes when navigating around these islands.

As for charts, we bought charts F105 (sheets 1-7), 2691 and F5 in Savusavu.  We referred to them at several times.  We also found it helpful to download Google Earth images to our iPads.  We also relied on Curly’s WPs as we traveled across northern Viti Levu.  If you would like to use his WPs, his chartlets, or get information from him, please contact him directly.  Here’s the info he gave us:

“a)  3DN6593@sailmail.com….. used every day

b)  curlycarswell@gmail.com….used only to receive or send Attachments and when in Internet Contact.

c)  Fiji Cell (679)868 0878
d)  generally listen to Rag of the Air on 8173 Alternative 8007 SSB USB at 0700 UTC/GMT.
e)  In the past I have taken Sat-phone calls and provided Waypoints or advise while Yachts had been cruising,in trouble, changed destinations due to weather etc. or have arranged special SSB schedules. I can not guarantee I will be available, however, if I am available I will help is I can.”

Vanuatu nav notes Sept. & Oct. 2012

We used two guides to help us navigate through Vanuatu:

The yellow guide, “Vanuatu, a cruising yachtman’s notes and drawings” by Bob Tiews and Thalia Hearne, South Pacific Cruising Series, Pub. by the Capt Teach Pressboat Books Ltd., 23B Westhaven Dr., Westhaven Marina, Auckland, NZ.  It’s hard to find, but the information is still accurate even though the 2nd edition was 1995.

The Tusker Cruising Guide was given to us as an electronic file and I can’t seem to find it online but do have a copy on my computer.  It offers a lot of information about many of the islands, along with charts and aerial views of the anchorages.

We also use Ray Marine Chart Plotter using Navionics.

 Sept. 4, 2012, Anelcauhat Bay, Anatom, Vanuatu

It took us 3 days to go from Denarau, Fiji to Anatom.  The last day we sailed 8-9kt on a beam reach in 20kt with 2 reefs in the main and the small jib.  Seas were less than 2m with 100% cloud cover.  It was cold and misting with periodic waves into the cockpit and lots of water over the bow.  Unfortunately we had 2.5kt current against us. We arrived at Anelcauhat Bay at 2pm and Richard, the Customs official, saw us and came aboard.  He has no radio but watches for arriving boats.  We were checked in by 4pm.  He did not take our rubbish but said we had to keep it contained in plastic until we reached Port Vila.

This is a large calm anchorage.  Mistery Island is adjacent to the bay, where cruise ships frequently deposit the tourists as they are not permitted to go into Anatom.  The “market” is overly commercial with foreign imports bought in Port Vila and transported down.  Three cruise ships stopped during the 4 days we were there.  Snorkeling off Mistery Island was disappointing with nothing to see.  Richard took us on a hike into the hills to look for the Immigration agent so we could check in and he also introduced us to some of the local women who make the beautiful ubiquitous baskets we see everyone using.  We were able to exchange NZ dollars for Vatu at the small bank.  There was no market and no provisions to be had.

Anchor waypoints:  20-14.195S, 169-46.583E

Wind/wave protection:  open to SW wind but protected from swells by a reef, very calm here

Depth:

Bottom condition:  sand bottom with good holding

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy wide entrance

Shore access:  easy by dinghy

Bugs:  none

Weather:  rain off and on, chilly and windy, sometimes strong gusty winds 20-25kt

 Sept. 9, 2012, Port Resolution, Tanna

We left Anatom on Sept. 8 at 11pm and arrived in Port Resolution at 7:30am the next morning.  As we rounded the NE point at dawn, we could see the red glow of Yasur volcano.  There are several villages scattered around the bay but the predominant one is where Jocelyn and Sam live.  He’s the chief but she clearly runs things.  They have extensive gardens and are most generous in giving fruit and veggies.  I spent a day learning how to weave a basket while friends of ours, Secret Agent Man, dedicated almost a week of hard labor helping them make cement bricks and clear space for a new garden.  Snorkeling was not possible off the beach by the point because of the waves.  The trip to Yasur volcano was well worth the expense.  At the Yacht Club you wait for the truck to drive to the volcano park ($1500V pp, $3350V park entrance fee pp).  It was very chilly and windy when we went and a long hike up the cement stairs and a further hike up the sand hill.  Be sure to bring a good flashlight.  Back at Port Resolution Sarah and her husband have a small café, Avoca, selling Tanna coffee.  For $300V they serve French press coffee and cookies in a traditional hut and it’s a delightful opportunity to relax and get to know more about their culture.

Anchor waypoints:  19-31.532S, 169-29.702E

Wind/wave protection:  very rolly as swells wrap around the corner so we put out a stern anchor, bay is open to the NE

Depth:

Bottom condition:  Black sand bottom, easy anchoring, good holding

Obstacles:  reef and bommies as you approach shore, but didn’t see anything in the middle of the anchorage

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy sand beach by dinghy

Bugs:  no bugs except occasionally some flies

Weather:  sunny then a day of rain

There were about 6 boats anchored when we arrived and there’s room for 10+ boats

Sept. 13, 2012, Dillon Bay, Erromango Island

We pulled the anchor at 8am and shortly thereafter a squall came through bringing wind 20-35kt with 2-3m choppy seas.   We put in a 2nd reef and noticed our top batten started to come out.  We made it into Dillon Bay at 4:30pm.  It was calm inside and we could hear the birds singing.  We were approached by David who wanted cigarettes and dvds.  We had neither.

Anchor waypoints:  18-49.271S, 169-00.696E – anchor north of the river off the big beach

Wind/wave protection:  N to S, exposed to the W

Depth:  10m

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy, roadstead

Shore access:  didn’t go ashore

Bugs:  none

Weather:  wind funnels through V of the land.  Very calm but windy

Sept. 16, 2012, Port Vila, Efate

We sat two days in Dillon waiting for the wind to die down.  After checking and rechecking the weather we decided to leave at 4pm and upped the anchor and sailed out into the sunset at 5:30pm.  We had a beautiful sail in 15-20kt wind and 1m seas.  Coming into Port Vila dolphins were swimming off the bow.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  We grabbed a mooring ball on the inside and checked in with Yachting World.

Anchor waypoints:  17-44.808S, 168-18.686E on a mooring ball inside

Wind/wave protection:  great

Depth:

Bottom condition:

Obstacles:  well-marked narrow channel into anchorage with mooring buoys.  Also a power line you cross under to get into that area, our mast is 67ft and we were okay

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy with dock at Yachting World

Bugs:  none

Weather:  not much wind inside

Sept 23, 2012, Esoma Bay in Havanna Harbor, Efate Island

We motored out Port Vila Harbor at 8am as church bells were chiming in a light mist.  About 2pm we anchored next to our pals on Yolo.  We decided to day hop from here up to Santo so we could see as many islands as possible.

Anchor waypoints:  17-33.493S, 168-16.457E

Wind/wave protection:  good

Depth:  30ft with slope to 16ft

Bottom condition:  coral crust with fine gravel, anchor came up clean

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy but not much to see

Bugs:  a few mosquitoes on land

Weather:  misting, rain then clear

lots of jelly fish in the water

Sept. 24, 2012, Na Ora Matoua, Ngouna Island

Leaving Esoma Bay wind was up when we rounded the corner then dropped to nothing.  We flew the big jib with a reef in the main and as we approached the next point wind went up to 17-18kt beam reach.

Anchor waypoints:  17-25.548S, 168-19.389E

Wind/wave protection:  need to be close to shore to get protection from E

Depth:  anchored in 40ft but swung back to 50ft

Bottom condition:  rocky with sand patches

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy – roadstead

Shore access:  didn’t go in but it looked easy where there’s a small village

Bugs:  none

Weather:  clear skies

Sept. 25, 2012, Sulua Bay, Emae Island

Anchor up in Ngunga Island at 6:55am, anchored at 11am.

Anchor waypoints:  17-03.178S, 168-21.983E

Wind/wave protection:  tradewind protection

Depth:  40-21ft

Bottom condition:  low coral with sand patches, we anchored in blue sand patch at 21ft at the low part of the island in a valley causing a wind tunnel

Obstacles:  fringing reef either side – just okay for snorkeling

Entry/exit:  easy – roadstead

Shore access:  easy by dinghy, go past the building, ½ hour walk on road into small village

Bugs:  a few mosquitoes on shore none on the boat

Weather:  blue sky, windy and chilly in the am

Sept. 26, 2012, Revolieu Bay, Epi Island

Anchor up in Sulua at 7:45am and we zig-zagged with the wind 140-160 apparent, going 4-5kt.  Anchored here at 1:30pm near two other boats.  Snorkeled the reef but didn’t see much, then kayaked to shore.  Water is getting warmer but not so clear.  Met Chief Baron who gave us bananas, coconut and grapefruit, the best tasting grapefruit since forever.  He asked us to sign his cruiser book.

Anchor waypoints:  16-43.700S, 168-08.718E

Wind/wave protection:  good but some rolling in tradewind conditions

Depth:  20-40ft

Bottom condition:  flat and shallow, silt and black sand, can’t see the bottom

Obstacles:  fringing reef easy to see

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy, village a 5 min. walk in

Bugs:  none on the boat but lots of flying bugs in the village

Weather:  sunny during the day, cool in the evening

Sept. 27, 2012, Lamen Bay, Epi

Left Revolieu Bay at 8:30am with overcast skies.  Anchored here at 11:20am.  Great snorkeling with big turtles who swim around the boat.  Reefs nearby not in good shape and only a few fish.  Didn’t see the dugong.  Met Bennington who introduced herself to us and sold us great fruit and veggies.  She has a pizza oven and bakes bread and things to sell and is a wonderful woman to meet.  She understands what cruisers want on their boat.  She’ll even come to your boat and give you cooking lessons with local food.  She’s one of the friendliest people we’ve met.

Anchor waypoints:  16-35.804S, 168-09.900E

Wind/wave protection:  calm first day, 2nd day swells from around the corner, good wind protection from the E

Depth:  35ft to 14ft near shore

Bottom condition:  all sand

Obstacles:  fringing reef easy to see

Entry/exit:  easy but watch for the reef on the side

Shore access:  easy by dinghy, villages are scattered around the bay, friendly, Sat. market and a tiny store

Bugs:  a few mosquitoes on shore & flies but not too bad

Weather:  overcast, chilly

Sept. 28, 2012, Baouma Point, Ambrym

Anchor up in Lamen at 8:30am and wind 12-15kt ESE, after leaving wind 21kt+.  Sailed up Ambrym’s west  coast in haze and smoke, motoring with wind at 6kt.   Anchored Baouma 3:30pm.  Black sand beach, fine sand to coarse gravel, with river mouth and hot sulfur-smelling water.   Karen (from Yolo) and I met Emma who walked from one of the villages.  She showed us a cave where they sleep, how to dig for crabs and showed us things they eat from the tidepools.

Anchor waypoints:  16-11.602S, 168-02.001E

Wind/wave protection:  good for wind from E

Depth:  around 30ft

Bottom condition:  black sand, can’t see the bottom

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy roadstead

Shore access:  easy by dinghy

Bugs:  too many flies on land and on the boat

Weather:  overcast with poor air quality, very smoky

Sept. 30, 2012, Ronan, Ambrym

Left Baouma at 11:30am and dropped the anchor at 1pm here in front of the village in 25-30ft.  Arranged for a guide to take us to a Rom dance ($4500 for 3 people + $500 for the guide).  It’s a 45-60 minute walk one way on a road and narrow dirt path up the hill to the top where the village is located.  Great walk with bird and cricket sounds and lots of villagers using the path.  Rom dance well worth seeing, loved the costumes but women can’t touch any of the costumes.

Anchor waypoints:  16-08.393S, 168-07.031E

Wind/wave protection:  great for tradewinds

Depth:  47ft to 25ft near shore

Bottom condition:  black sand and about 50ft visibility

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy.  Small village on the beach with many villages spread around off the road

Bugs:  some flies on the boat, some mosquitoes on land

Weather:  clear sky, no smoke or haze

Oct. 1, 2012, Homo Bay, Pentecost

Left Ronan at 8am.  Once past the point, winds were 20-25kt and we sailed beam reach to Pentecost.  Anchored at 10:15am in 33 ft.  Wind 15-20kt at times with rain and drizzle most of the day.  We walked through the village to the tower previously used for land diving (now it’s in Wali Bay).  Snorkeled around Mushroom Rock but not much to see.

Anchor waypoints:  15-57.182S, 168-11.505E

Wind/wave protection:  good for SE tradewinds & calm but windy, not rolly

Depth:  starts at 300ft, then 80ft gradually shoaling up

Bottom condition:  sand bottom, good holding

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy at the wharf.  Gravel and small rock shoreline, great dirt road

Bugs:  a few flies on shore, hardly any on the boat with the wind

Weather:  overcast, rain/mist and consistent wind about 10kt

Oct. 3, 2012, Waterfall Bay then on to Melsisi Bay, Pentecost

Left Homo Bay at 8:15am and had an easy sail up the coast.  Dropped anchor at 11:30am in Waterfall Bay.  The yellow Vanuatu cruiser book conflicted with what we saw.  Went to shore and asked permission to walk up to the waterfall.  We were told we had to pay $800V per person to see the waterfall so we declined.   The anchorage got rolly so we decided to head up around the corner in Melsisi Bay.  Dropped anchor at 2:30pm in 38ft.

For Waterfall Bay:

Anchor waypoints:  15-47.227S, 168-09.716E

Wind/wave protection:  not great protection from trades, swells coming through

Depth:  35-40ft

Bottom condition:  sand

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy

Bugs:  none

Weather:  overcast

Melsisi:

Anchor waypoints:  15-44.893S, 168-08.535E

Wind/wave protection:  not great protection from tradewinds , smaller swells than Waterfall Bay

Depth:  from 400ft to 80ft, then 60ft for a long way, then 35-40ft

Bottom condition:  sand

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy shore access but didn’t go ashore

Bugs:  none

Weather:  overcast

Oct. 4, 20012, Loltong, Pentecost

Left Melsisi at 8:30am with a 2nd reef in the main and the chart plotter in the cockpit dead.  Wind is up to 25kt on its way up to 28kt coming into Loltong.  Dropped the anchor at 12n.  Several groups of kids came by in their canoes to offer food and ask to come aboard.  The “yacht club” is a restaurant owned by Matthew and Mary who offer a lunch or dinner cooked the local way using all local foods they grow or are grown in the village.  Matthew is from Loltong but went to cooking school in Paris before coming back.  We had a memorable lunch.  They even accommodated my vegetarian preferences.  We highly recommend eating here and supporting this very friendly couple.  There’s also a “B&B” with flush toilet! and a couple other eating places very local style.

Anchor waypoints:  15-32.705S, 168-08.797E

Wind/wave protection:  good for trades, calm inside

Depth:  300-400ft then drops to 60ft, then 30ft quickly

Bottom condition:  mostly sand, some coral patches

Obstacles:  coral patches easy to spot

Entry/exit:  easy if you line up with the land marker

Shore access:  easy by dinghy in front of the “yacht club”

Bugs:  on shore mosquitoes & possibly flies

Weather:  rain and wind

Oct. 7, 2012, Asanvari, Maewo

We left Loltong at 9am and re-anchored in Asanvari at 11:30am.  We had difficulty finding a good anchor spot because it’s mostly coral.   Karen (Yolo) and I snorkeled most of the reef and found nothing of interest.  We snorkeled over to the waterfall in brown water with no visibility plus it shoaled up to big slimy rocks making for an awkward shore entrance.  The waterfall, though, is a must.  No charge to enter the cold pool they’ve made from the waterfall.  Very refreshing.  It would be a very long walk up over the hills and back to the village so we had to swim/snorkel back to our boats in the muddy water.  Before we left in the morning we had a visit from Columbus, the bread man.  He came out in his canoe selling hot out-of-the-oven rolls for $40V each and they were yummy.

Anchor waypoints:  1st attempt at 15-22.622S, 168-07.906E, too close to something (maybe Yolo or a bouy, can’t remember) so reanchored at 15-22.568S, 168-07.962E.  Yolo was in all sand 1 boat length to port, lucky them.

Wind/wave protection:  good for NE and SE

Depth:  200ft+ shoals quickly to 50ft, we anchored in 40ft

Bottom condition:  sand patches with low lying rocks, shore is lined with shallow reefs

Obstacles:  a couple of bommies

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  to the waterfall, dinghy over a shallow reef by the cement ramp with care, or snorkel in brown water but it’s worth seeing the waterfall.  Dinghy path to the village by the black bouy

Bugs:  flies

Weather:  overcast, hard to see for anchoring, showers at night, clouds hug the island top

Note about anchoring:  yellow and white buoys over a rock are good to anchor next to, but out a little because we wrapped around one of the buoys several times during the night, doing 360 from wind shifts

Oct. 8, 2012, Vanihe Bay, Ambae

Left Asanvari at 9:30am after unwrapping the anchor (and eating hot rolls).  No wind/waves and we anchored at 12n in Vanihe Bay instead of Lolowai Bay because it was too shallow for us.  Later we took the dinghy around the corner into Lolowai which had scattered villages and 2 tiny stores selling eggs and not much else.  A local advised us not to go into the water because sharks often come into the calm waters to feed.

Anchor waypoints:  15-16.598S, 167-58.455E in 8m of black sand

Wind/wave protection:  good for the trades but we had a wind change to NNW so became very rolly

Depth:  200ft to 60ft quickly then gradual slope to 40ft

Bottom condition:  black sand, good holding, anchor came up clean

Obstacles:  stuff at the edges of the small bay

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  in Vanihi it would be hard, steep sand beach with crashing waves, but in Lolowai easy with the dinghy

Bugs:  none

Weather:  hot, sunny, blue sky

Oct. 9, 2012, Ambore-Loone, Ambae

Left Vinihe at 8:25am and dropped the anchor here at 12n.  This was our only option unless we wanted to sail overnight (which we didn’t).  It’s a roadstead and looked impossible to land a dinghy on shore because of the strong waves against a rocky shore.

Approach waypoint:  15-21.292S, 167-45.928E with a reef .5nm NE

Anchor waypoints:  15-21.614S, 167-45.610E

Wind/wave protection:  not much, heavy waves so very rolly and bouncing a lot ie horrible

Depth:  around 40ft

Bottom condition:  probably sandy, anchor came up clean

Obstacles:  none except watch for the reef .5nm NE from approach WP

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  looks impossible

Bugs:  none

Weather:  scattered clouds, very warm, no breeze

Oct. 10, 2012, Peterson Bay, Santo

Couldn’t wait to leave Ambore-Loone because it was so rolly.  Pulled the anchor up at first light, 5:30am.  No wind, flat seas and we motored all the way in NO wind.  Dropped the anchor at 12:20pm in the most gorgeous setting.  Great snorkeling in the reefs.  We jumped off the boat to get there and also took the dinghy.  Lots of fish, shells and old airplane/military parts to look at.  Two amazing blue holes of fresh water a dinghy ride away, each down a separate river.  Great for bathing and washing clothes.  Water warm enough to not need a wetsuit.  This was our most favorite spot.

Anchor waypoints:  15-22.824S, 167-11.695E in 55ft

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

Bugs:  none, just a couple flies

Weather:  hot, little wind, then cloudy and a bit of rain

Oct. 13, 2012, Surundu Bay, Santo

Reluctantly left Peterson Bay at 10:40am and out the pass at 11am in hot weather with very little wind.  Anchored here at 12:25pm in a large bay with easy-to-spot reefs near shore.  Our best snorkel spot along with Peterson Bay.  Warm water, plenty of snorkeling options around reefs with fish and shells an easy swim from the boat.

Anchor waypoints:  15-27.399S, 167-13.535E in 25ft

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

Bugs:  none

Weather:  hot and sunny, water 89°, easy to sunburn w/o a wetsuit.  Refreshing evening breeze.

Oct. 15, 2012, Luganville, Santo

Left Surundu at low tide at 11am.  It was cloudy and hot with 9-10kt wind.  We tried to get a mooring ball (water’s too deep for us to anchor) in front of Aore Resort in the Segond Channel but the only available mooring ball was under water from the strong current and it was already 3:30pm.  We crossed the channel and after several failed attempts from the strong current and late-day visibility we anchored in front of Beach Front Resort.  After Peterson and Surundu this was a letdown.  More provisioning options and restaurants, etc. in Port Vila.

Anchor waypoints:  15-31.353S, 167-09.816E in 16ft of mud

Wind/wave protection:  reasonable for all directions but fetch issues with a current of about 1kt so rolly

Depth:  12-20ft – we anchored in 16ft but at one point we were in 12ft

Bottom condition:  thick sandy mud with good holding

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy, it’s in a wide channel

Shore access:  good but dinghy wheels help bring it a long way up to avoid tide changes

Bugs:  a few flies

Weather:  overcast, rain, a couple of brief squalls

Oct. 18, 2012, Southwest Bay/Metenovor, Malakula

It rained hard off and on all night in Luganville so very rolly.  Anchor up at 6am to take advantage of the 2.5kt+ of current with us.  Big tideline going into cloudy brown river water.  Made it to Georges Philippar Pass at 7am with 78ft at the bar and calm.  1ft standing breaking waves and 4kt+ current near the end of the pass.  Crossed several prominent tide lines with water color changing from green to mud brown then back to dark green.  15 minutes later only 1kt+ current and dropping.  Winds to 23kt over the deck and waves 1-1.5m.  We motor sailed hard and dead up wind tacking often.  Dropped the anchor at 6:10pm.  Overcast, misting, losing daylight and hard to see coming in but anchorage was flat 60ft going to about 20ft.

Anchor waypoints:  16-28.705S, 167-26.506E in 29ft

Wind/wave protection:  great, no rolling

Depth:  60ft, then 50ft to 20ft in gradual long slope

Bottom condition:  black sand with good holding

Obstacles:  none, at the edges a reef so give a wide berth

Entry/exit:  easy, we came in at dusk

Shore access:  unknown

Bugs:  none

Weather:  wind and rain but much nicer inside the bay than outside

Note:  Tuskers guide said to anchor at Lorlow Point bluff off 8m tall red sandstone but we had a hard time finding it.

Oct. 19, 2012, Awei Island, off Malekula Island

Anchor up at 8am in Southwest Bay.  Approaching and rounding the Westward point of Southwest Bay at 8:45am we had 1-2m choppy and confused seas over the bow with 25kt wind.  The wind stayed a steady 25kt all day but once we were around the SW point of Malekula the seas calmed a little but the swells increased.  The chart warned of big seas and it’s right.  Once inside the Maskelynes group of islands the seas and swells were gone.  We dropped the anchor at 3:45pm in 34ft we hoped was sand.  Reefs were all around.

Anchor waypoints:  16-32.049S, 167-46.222E

Wind/wave protection:  good protection but the wind funnels through, not rolly, very calm

Depth:  once in the small bay it went from 80ft to 20ft

Bottom condition:  black sand and a little mud

Obstacles:  lots of fringe reefs but easy to see

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  looks good, to a small beach but didn’t go in

Bugs:  none if the wind blows, a few flies

Weather:  rain

Oct. 21, 2012, Revolieu Bay, Epi – again

Before we left Awei, Savron came out in his canoe to say hello and explain he and his family live on the island.  Anchor up at 7:30am.  The first half of the day we tacked 6 times in 2kt current against us with 1-2m seas.  Once in the lee of an island and out of big wind and seas it was an easy trip in winds 22-23kt.  Anchor was down at 1:30pm here in 26ft.

Anchor waypoints:  16-43.720S, 168-08.712E

Wind/wave protection:  calm, good wind protection from the E

Depth:  35ft to 14ft near shore

Bottom condition:  all sand

Obstacles:  fringing reef

Entry/exit:  easy but watch for the reef on the side

Shore access:  easy, villages are scattered around the bay, friendly, Sat. market and a tiny store – this time we didn’t go in

Bugs:  a few mosquitoes on shore & flies but not too bad

Weather:  rain off and on, mild wind

Oct. 21, 2012, Esoma Bay in Havanna Harbor, Efate Island – again

We left Revolieu Bay at 5:30am in misty overcast weather and no wind.  We did one tack in bumpy lumpy seas, 21-27kt wind with waves over the deck and into the cockpit.  We sailed with the small jib and 2 reefs in the main.  Eventually got into Havanna Harbor and anchored at 3:30pm in 37ft about 100 yards S of the river.

Anchor waypoints:  17-33.464S, 168-16.477E

Wind/wave protection:  good

Depth:  30ft with slope to 16ft

Bottom condition:  coral crust with fine gravel, anchor came up clean

Obstacles:  none

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy but not much to see – didn’t go in this time

Bugs:  none

Weather:  blue skies, no rain, very calm

Oct. 22, 2012, Port Vila, Efate

We found ourselves in 14ft of water at low tide in Port Havana.  No rain during the night but a brief bit at 5:30am and still calm inside.  Pulled the anchor at 7am and saw lots of jellyfish and a few turtles in the water.  No wind, then 15 minutes later 15kt.  We sailed in 20kt wind in the channel with blue skies.  We saw it was overcast on Efate and once out of the channel going South wind picked up to 25kt and we could see Efate in mist.  We made it back to mooring ball #20 at 12:15pm.

Anchor waypoints:  17-44.864S, 168-18.652E on a mooring ball inside

Wind/wave protection:  great

Depth:

Bottom condition:

Obstacles:  well-marked narrow channel into anchorage with mooring buoys.  Also a power line you cross under to get into that area, our mast is 67ft and we were okay

Entry/exit:  easy

Shore access:  easy by dinghy with dock at Yachting World

Bugs:  none

Weather:  not much wind inside

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