Photo Gallery - September 2003
Pictures can be clicked to see a large version of the image.
The Sailing Vessel "Toucan" from Seattle with Tom and Joan aboard. Shown here anchored at Awei Island in the Maskalynes. Tom and Joan used to live about a mile from where we lived in Redmond, Washington. They have been cruising for 10 years in the Pacific Ocean and have no plans to leave any time soon.
Also at Awei we met "Wind Runner" from San Francisco with Martin and Christie aboard. Martin is English and Christie is from California which is where they bought and outfitted Wind Runner. We've spent several weeks in company with them and will be seeing a lot more of them as they are also headed for Micronesia.
The island of Ambrym which we passed to our South on our way to Pentecost from the Maskalynes. Ambrym is home to 2 active volcanoes and many cruisers hike to the rim to view it. Since it is a 4 hour hike in each direction we choose to give it a miss (just try making Jonah walk 8 hours).
The view from the coast of Pentecost as we approached Homo Bay showing the Eastern tip of Ambrym on the right side of the photo. At night we were able to sit in the cockpit and watch the volcanoes erupt. The distance is about 10 miles. Our first night anchored here the captain called to the crew to come on deck. When asked what for he said "To see the volcano on Ambrym" the response was "yeah sure". When they came on deck they were all ooohs and ahhhs. Unfortunately photos taken did not come out well.
The view of the Northern end of the anchorage showing the offlying "Cook Rock" presumably named by the intrepid explorer himself. Though the island is basically a narrow strip, indentations form semi-open roadsteads which are essentially huge open bays. Cook Rock is at the Northern point of Homo Bay.
A large pig in a cage on the beach was one of Jonah's favorite things to see at Loltong. This pig, who is kept in a cage to prevent him from damaging his valuable tusks which grow into a circular pattern, was a gift to the local chief from a neighboring island.
If you look carefully at the larger version of this photo you can just make out his tusks. The tusks are coerced to grow in a circular pattern by removing the pigs upper molars which the tusks normally oppose. Pig with tusks that grow to two full circles are the most valued.
This is an image of the road which runs down along the beach in Loltong. Though mostly for walking there are vehicles (pickup trucks) which provide transport to other parts of Pentecost that come through here.
Another shot of the front of the Nakamel. The Nakamel is seen in every village in Vanuatu and is the focal point for community life. Traditionally only men are admitted to the Nakamel, in modern times most villages have done away with that regulation. The Nakamel is also used for local events like plays and singing events which are very popular in Vanuatu. Note also the large log which blocks the door to the building. This is to prevent pigs from entering.
The inside of this particular Nakamel is not very attractive. It is, however, always cool even in the heat of the day. The large pit with the pile of rocks behind it is the fireplace. Many Nakamels have rows of benches and other forms of modern seating, though this one does not. Presumably mats are laid out for seating during meetings and events.
These women are working to prepare kava root for export. Many villages on Pentecost are involved in the commercial production of kava (as well as production for personal use). Kava is exported from Pentecost to a variety of places, most notably Fiji where the demand is incredible. For export the kava roots are first cleaned and sliced into small pieces then dried in the sun. The local kava drink is produced from fresh roots not dried as in Fiji and is much more potent. Kava is the root of the pepper plant Piper Mythesticum.
After Loltong we sailed to Asanvari, clearly our favorite spot in Maewo. When we left Pentecost we were asked (via radio from Maewo) to transport Cody (in foreground) to Asanvari (he was coming in on the plane from Santo - thee is no airport on Maewo). When we got to Leone (the airport) we found 10 other people who had all been to a wedding two weeks earlier and were waiting for someone to give them a ride to Maewo. We took 11 people in all (including Cody who is Chief Nelson's son) with their baggage. It was a gentle passage and all aboard had fun.
The Asanvari "Yacht Club". Though really more a restaurant and entertainment center, this building is used to host native dancing exhibitions and dinner for visiting cruisers who pay about $15 each. The food is prepared by Chief Nelson's son Nixon who was trained in Santo and does a fine job. Strong kava is also served. The building was designed and built by visiting Alaskan cruisers Gene and Robbie on "Noason". Gene was adopted by the village and gained a social "rank" by performing several ritual pig killings and hosting the attendant feasts.
This view of one of the boats anchored at Asanvari shows the island of Ambae (aka Aoba) in the background. Ambae was the inspiration for Robert Michener's "Bali Hai" which he saw only from a distance while stationed on the island of Espirito Santo (about 20 miles on the other side of Ambae).
The approach to Lolowai on Ambae island on a windless, blue sunny day. The water outside the anchorage was beautifully clear though the inner bay was so well cut off the water was stagnant and greenish.
These two girls where in a canoe and were having a water fight with some kids in another canoe when they tipped over into the water. Kate took them aboard the dinghy while they righted their craft and emptied the water from it.
This picture shows one trip to town's worth of provisions. While at Luganville in Santo we re-stocked the boat from local grocery stores. Santo is the last place we can buy provisions until we reach Tarawa in Kiribati, and that place is not known for the shopping. Majuro in the Marshall Islands (which we will reach a month after Tarawa) will be the first place where serious provisions can be purchased.
A wreck we passed at Uren Pt. on the way to Petersen Bay on the East coast of Espirito Santo. Just after this photo was taken the fishing rod screamed and we had a hookup. Unfortunately, due to "operator error" the fish managed to escape.
The low coastal plain of Eastern Espirito Santo. One look and you can see why Santo is the "beef basket" of the South Pacific. Vanuatu produces huge amounts of beef much of which is shipped to Japan for export. We found the most inexpensive meat we have ever seen in Santo. For example, we bought about 10lbs of Filet Mignon for about $3/lb. Our freezer was well stocked with beef when we left Santo.
The anchorage at Petersen Bay was flat calm and beautiful. We spent a lovely week there. Highlights were the "blue holes" where clear, blue fresh water swimming holes are just a dinghy ride away up a short river! See next month's photos for more on this fantastic place.