June 23

This morning we woke typically early and got right at it getting the boat ready for departure. We had to lift the dinghy and engine in the constantly rolling swells we have been putting up with for the last few days here, but all went well and nothing was damaged nor injury incurred. We had a bit of gear to stow, etc. and the galley below needed attention but by 8am we were ready. Unfortunately, it is only 133nm to Port Vila (on Efate Island also in Vanuatu) and if we leave at 8am we will end up playing the slow-down game (where you try to keep the boat from going too fast so you don't arrive before sunrise). At 6.5k we will take 20hrs, at 6k 22hrs and at 5.5k we will arrive in 24 hours.

I do this before every passage by the way and we try to pick a departure time which results in an appropriate arrival time. In some cases this means matching our arrival to a certain tidal flow (i.e. a narrow entrance has a tidal flow which changes at high and low tide - you don't want to try to come through an entrance against a strong current) in other cases it means timing arrival for noon to take advantage of the sun high in the sky for spotting reefs. At other times you just want to arrive during daylight and usually this means early morning for us. We could wait and leave at 3 or 4pm and arrive in Vila at noonish, but we prefer earlier departures and arrivals so we are planning on a 10am departure.

At 9:15am we raised the anchor and motored out of the bay into a light breeze from the East of about 10-13k. We raised the mainsail immediately and put out the genoa. We are sailing now at about 5.5 - 6k SOG (Speed Over Ground) on a course of 318M to clear the Northern tip of Tanna. After that we will alter course more to the West to pass South and West of Erromango, the next island North of us. Skies are overcast with about 30% sun breaks but we are hopeful it will clear as we move North away from the occluded front which has been sitting over us for 2 days now.

We had considered stopping at Erromongo (another Island first discovered by Capt. Cook and misnamed - Erro Mango in their language means "This is a Man") but reports are that the anchorage is very exposed and roly and we've had enough of that for a while.

At 1pm we are motorsailing NW on a course of 303M between Tanna and Erromango. We are about 8 miles North of the tip of Tanna. We are making about 6.5k over ground with about 7k of wind from the SE. Our apparent wind is about 3k but we are keeping both sails out as long as they don't slat about too much.

It is now 3:30pm and we are sailing in a light Southeasterly wind of about 8-9k. We must have a favorable current because we are making 5.5k over ground on a heading of 300M. Our boat speed indicator is currently frozen with marine growth so we are not able to determine precisely our current set and drift, but it must be giving us a push as we sail along the West coast of Erromango. We can still see Tanna clearly on the horizon about 20 miles to our South now. Skies remain mostly cloudy though no rain has been evident today. We have about 11 miles to go to reach the Western tip of Erromango, then we can turn (slightly more Northwards) for the final leg to Efate and Port Vila.

We sailed until about 5:30pm when we passed into the lee of Erromongo. The swell ceased and we motor sailed at 6.5k in 5k wind from the East in flat seas. By 8pm we had passed North off Erromango and were back in the influence of the swell and seas, but the wind did not return and we continued motorsailing.

It is now 10pm and we have about 5-7k from the East. Seas are relatively calm with a 3ft swell from the ESE. Skies are mostly clear with some clouds visible as dark patches where no stars can be seen (the moon has not yet risen). We have about 49nm remaining to Efate Island as should arrive at about 8am.