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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.

 

 

 

Approaching the anchorage at Pentecost. The island is long narrow strip of land oriented roughly North/South. The entire lee coast (West side) is flat calm water with anchorages every 10 miles.

 

 

 

 

A view from the anchorage at Homo Bay. You can see a few structures ashore where the village sits and a canoe which had just stopped by to offer us some fruit for sale.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Another view of the shore from Homo Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

One final shot of the shore taken from the Queen Jane at anchor in Homo Bay.

 

 

 

 

Kate relaxes in the cockpit as we motor North along the placid, windless coast of Pentecost.

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching the anchorage at Loltong at the Northern end of Pentecost Island. The bay was exceptionally beautiful with coral reefs guarding the entrance to the anchorage.

 

 

 

 

A view of the anchorage at Loltong taken from the Queen Jane.

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Jane's inflatable tender at rest hanging off the stern in the crystal clear waters of Loltong Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

View of the beach and part of the village at Loltong.

 

 

 

 

 

This was the view from the Queen Jane looking out of the bay at Loltong. Note the small breaking waves crashing on the barrier reef which protects the anchorage. 

 

 

 

 

Jonah poses with the of the local kids at Loltong. He spent a lot of time at Loltong playing with the kids on the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

The anchorage at Loltong viewed from ashore. Loltong was one of the most beautiful places we stayed during our visit to Vanuatu. Plus we were the only boat there until our fourth day.

 

 

 

 

This photo of a house at Loltong was taken just across the road from the beach. Of the villages we visited in Vanuatu, Loltong had some of the most well maintained and manicured homes.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Nakamel (meeting house) of Loltong. Notice the style of the roof which  comes down almost completely to the ground on both sides. This is to provide shade keeping the walls and interior cool. 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

The cemetery  at Loltong. We do not recall seeing a formal cemetery in any other village we visited. 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of the bay at Loltong taken from the property of Philip who runs a small "restaurant" in Loltong. Reservations must be made a day in advance, usually for a group of people.

 

 

 

 

Kate chatting with a local woman (holder her granddaughter) in Loltong. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah looking cute on deck.

 

 

 

 

 

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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 anchorage at Asanvari as seen from the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

The anchorage as seen from the top of a hill. This photo courtesy of Christie on "Wind Runner".

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The Lobster float at the beach with Jonah aboard.

 

 

 

 

 

The local kids really liked playing with the giant inflatable lobster. Needless to say Jonah was very popular here.

 

 

 

 

 

A mother and her baby at Asanvari. 

 

 

 

 

 

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 beach at Asanvari. This photo shows the little bay at its most attractive. Blue skies, crystal clear water and green hills. Paradise on earth.

 

 

 

 

Some kids who just couldn't get enough of the lobster float paddled out to check it out as it trailed behind the Queen Jane at anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

Jonah taking a ride in the canoe while the other boy floats on the lobster.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Kate stands on the mast steps to get a better view of the shallow coral at the entrance to the inner harbor at Lolowai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the cockpit at anchor in Lolowai.

 

 

 

 

 

Another shot showing some of the interesting rock formations guarding the anchorage at Lolowai.

 

 

 

 

 

The village of  Lolowai as seen from the anchorage. 

 

 

 

 

 

A final shot of the bay showing one of the other boats at anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Jonah reads peacefully in the saloon. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

 

 

 

Kate talking on the radio with friends on another boat. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Marissa, from the Kiwi yacht "Tevakanui" comes to visit Jonah in her kayak.

 

 

 

 

 

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.