September 19

Today went fairly well. In the morning we inflated the dinghy and mounted the outboard and by 9am we were at the Customs office, only to find out the Quarantine officer has to accompany us back to the boat for Quarantine inspection. We took him out to the boat in the dinghy and filled out some forms. He went through a list of prohibited items not allowed in the country and we surrendered our onions and garlic (we kept about half of it in the fridge so only gave him half). What a waste. Then we went back to Customs and filled out more forms, then on to Immigration and more forms, passport stamps and a lucky break – the immigration guy agreed to give us a 6 week visa instead of the normal 4 week.  

The normal procedure is for boats to stop every 4 weeks at one of the official ports of entry to extend their immigration visas. A system obviously designed to keep visiting yachts on a short leash. Since we were only planning a 6 week stay here in Vanuatu and planned to leave from Port Vila, a 4 week visa would mean getting to Vila 2 weeks early, then having to either stay there 2 more weeks, leave 2 weeks early, or, go out to another anchorage or island then come back to Vila, not my first choice. Anyway, all I did was frown and say how it would be so great if we could get six weeks, then we wouldn’t have to rush to Vila . He said ok, and then when I got the passports back I noticed he had in fact given us 2 whole months instead!  

Anyway, after that we walked almost the length of the town stopping in different stores, checking out the scene. We stopped at a really cute restaurant recommended by “Noason” (who we met at Maewo) called Natangara, a name for a local type of Palm tree. The woman, Leslie, who runs it is an American-expat from Seattle . We also stopped briefly at the produce market and at a playground (with brand new looking swings, etc. with no kids on it) and Jonah played a while.  

In the afternoon Jonah and I took a dinghy ride across the bay (channel in fact) to the anchorage at Aore Island Resort on Aore island which is just opposite Luganville. It was about a mile across and we got up on a plane and zipped right there. Not so on the way back when the wind had kicked up and it was quite rough. The resort has very deep water in front and maintains about 10 moorings, all of which were in use, several by boats we know including “Horai” from Boston with Ed and Rachel aboard. At least one boat says they are leaving tomorrow so we hope to move over there and take that mooring. The grounds look lovely with a nice clean but small pool and a really nice restaurant and bar in front of the beach. Jonah and I had a quick swim also before returning.