Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Espiritu Santo

Monday 13th July Espiritu Santo

This proved to be a very quiet day to make the crossing to Espiritu Santo Island with the motor running for most of the trip. As usual we had the fishing lines out but nothing…again. This is becoming very frustrating but fairly typical at present with no fresh fish available to buy in the supermarkets and only a few parrot fish in eskies at the local markets which we avoid as they looked fairly old.

Good beef however is plentiful and about half the price we pay in Australia, and the veges are excellent and very cheap. Santo was spared by the cyclone so bananas are back on the menu! I overindulged a bit on the first lot and paid the price during the night!

Luganville is the capital of Santo and it’s basically one long street with little shops, lots of little taxis and plenty of dust and heat and not much more. The main anchorage is polluted and rolly with nothing going for it.

We chose to pay for a mooring on the other side of the mile wide channel at Aore resort on Aore Island and loved every minute of our time here. The resort is run by an Aussie lady (Anne) and has good food, friendly staff,  a free pool and a regular ferry service to Luganville.

As a result we decided to base ourselves here while we explored the sights of Santo.

Tuesday 14th July

Today we spent some time enjoying the resort and planning a full day touring Santo. One of John Poynters friends brings diving groups here every year and stays at this resort. He is well known and liked and the staff couldn’t do enough for us.

Wednesday 15th July

The “must do” points of interest include the Million Dollar Point dive, Champagne Beach and Blue Hole swim, so we had booked a driver (Stephen) and his mini bus for the day to take us around the sights. I also wanted to check out a small anchorage at Oyster Bay before we took the boat up the East Coast. Million Dollar Point is an underwater graveyard of equipment which the Americans dumped at the end of WW11 and consists of trucks, bulldozers, field guns, truckloads of Coca Cola, you name it and you can see it laying in 10 metres of water. A very interesting snorkelling spot.

The rest of the day went quickly as we played the tourist for a day. We finished this very pleasant day with a farewell dinner at the resort for our visiting crew.

Thursday 16th July

A leisurely morning including a walk to find some WW11 bunkers then a beach walk to check out the beach houses built by Aussie and NZ expats who spend their winters in Vanuatu. After lunch we saw our visitors off then did some shopping.

The resort put on a great night this evening with people from the Banks Group of islands providing the entertainment with a Bamboo band and women making “water music” by slapping the seawater in unison. A pity the crew missed this.

Friday 17th July

Chores day- spent most of the day making water and a few other boat maintenance jobs.

Saturday 18th July
A change of scene was in order so we motored 8 miles to the Southern side of Aore Is and picked up another mooring off Ratua Island resort. We had heard of a “blue hole” on the adjoining island of Malo so we took the dinghy across the channel and up the little river which eventually led us to this very secluded spot. The river became a fast flowing creek in spots and was just wider than the dinghy in places which made for a lot of fun on the return journey as we sped downstream with the current trying not to get snagged by the overhanging branches. After a late lunch we wandered around this old style Indonesian resort where most of the 200 year old bungalows had been transported from Bali!

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