Posted by: catamarantwooceans | June 6, 2011

Efate – Vanuatu

2.6.11 – Thursday – Having attained all our aims in Port Vila we decided to go out and take it easy in Havanna bay on the west coast of Efate. This bay is protected on the west by two islands Lelep and Moso. We went out of Mele bay, past Devil point and the uninhabited Eretika island, through the Hilliard channel into Havanna bay. As the forecast was for an unusual NNW wind, we chose the anchorage at the extreme north corner  of the bay, Sunae, which was safe for winds from that direction. All the other anchorages are good for the normal SE tradewinds. We anchored is shallow waters, with a few coral heads around and I took a swim to see that there no danger in our swinging area. All around us were mangroves near shore and jungle behind them. The only noises were those of invisible birds.

in Sunae

3.6.11 – Friday – It was a windless, quiet night that turned into a peaceful morning. A lone villager on a canoe passed by, carrying some plant. After breakfast Volkmar noticed some big fins breaking the surface close astern. Sharks? No! A manta-ray!  I plunged in with my snorkeling gear and had close encounter with this magnificent creature, which had about two meters wing-span, and two big remora fish attached themselves, not unlike fighter-plane’s detachable fuel tanks, below the “wings”.

Volkmar went in too, with his camera in an underwater housing. Here is what he took.

Manta!

We passed the rest of the day just relaxing, reading and Volkmar, as always, working on his web-site.

4.6.11 – Saturday – The wind stayed light from the SW. We tried going to another anchorage called Sena, but found out that the wind was a bit stronger there, making the anchorage unpleasant, also the bottom was too deep too close to shore. We turned back to our previous place where it was peace and quiet once more.

5.6.11 – Sunday – Planning to come back to Port Vila on Monday morning we chose to spend the night in the Mele island resort anchorage, which is in the same big bay with the former. We motored out in the light wind, checked the pass between Lelep and Moso island and found that close to Moso there was coral at 5 meters, closer to Lelep probably deeper. Circled Lelep, hoping to catch fish ( nil…) and then came to Ai creek in which snorkeling was supposed to be good. We anchored at the exact spot that was recommended by the Tusker guide and found it to be full of mostly dead coral and bottom coming up rapidly close to shore. Tried a place a bit to the north, where we saw some boats on moorings, yet again – no good. Frankly, by what I’ve seen up to now, I think the guide is overly enthusiastic about the anchorages it describes. It does, however, have very good aerial photos with chart overlay, good G.P.S waypoints and other helpful information.

Disappointed, we continued to Mele, this time under full sail as the wind picked up from the SE. Passing Devil’s Head a big fish was caught, I saw it somersault out once and then the line went slack. Fish gone and taken with him the lure and wire leader. I need a stronger line – right now I’m using 40 lbs. test – not enough!

We anchored in the lee of the causeway connecting Mele island to shore. At 1730 the noise subsided and it seems we’ll have a quiet night here.

Mele island resort

6.6.11 – Monday – Back in Port Vila. Clean the boat! Gili is coming in two days!

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