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Beautiful Vanuatu

Vanuatu was definitely one of the most beautiful group of Islands I have seen during our 3 year trip in the Pacific. We spent a bit more than a month there and we still feel we missed out on a lot. We could have easily spent 3 months without getting bored but we had to be in Cairns by september and still had Solomon and the Louisiades on our list.

It was great to have Emma and Sebastien with us for 3 weeks! Time flies when you are having fun. The snorkeling was great, the people were friendly and the villages still very authentic. The weather was not at its best but nevertheless we enjoyed every minute of it.

On the island of Tanna we visited the Yasur vulcano and witnessed nature’s force.

After visiting Tanna we decided to sail directly to Port Villa, the capital of Vanuatu, because the weather was not going to be good the next couple days. We sailed through some rough weather with a lot of thunder and lightning but nothing Sanuk and the captain could not handle.

During our trip to Port Villa we caught a huge Wahoo, 14Kg. It was not easy to get him on board but the boys managed! Food for a couple days.
Another beautiful sunset in Port Villa, the capital of Vanuatu

After foodshopping for the next weeks and washing off the salt from Sanuk at the dock in Port Villa we were ready to sail to Pentecost Island to see the landdivers. We anchored at several islands and every time we were amazed at how many children there were and all soo happy.

life is fun

We did some snorkeling at every stop we made and were never disappointed although we did not see the dugongs. The coral was beautiful…

My favourite little fish, the anemone fish.

We made a stop at Ambrym Island where only a couple months before the volcano became active, no lava but a lot of ash was released and many left the island to go to Santos. We met some people who stayed…

Land diving is a ritual performed by the men of the southern part of Pentecost Island from April till the end of June. Men jump off wooden towers, 20-30 meters high, with two tree vines wrapped around their ankles. It is done without safety equipment! The ritual is connected with the yam harvest season as one good dive would ensure a good yam season. It has become a tourist attraction over the years but still very exciting to see the courage of these men.

Villagers believe land diving can enhance the health and strength of the divers. Land diving is considered an expression of masculinity.
The pre-cursor of bungee jumping…

After the ceremony we were invited to have some real, freshly made kava! Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific.

“Kava produces a state of calmness, relaxation and well-being without diminishing cognitive performance.” Yep, life is good !!!

Returning back to Sanuk we felt grateful we were part of this special ceremony of landdiving. We had time enough to sail to “waterfall bay” where we stayed for the night.

always accompanied by local kids who are eager to show you the way

Next we sailed to Santos, the final stop for Emma and Sebastien. We visited the gorgeous blue holes and did some more snorkeling.

On our way with Flipper to the blue hole.
Anemone fish defending its territory

But all good things come to an end…

We continued sailing north, checked out in Sola and sailed to the Bank islands, still part of Vanuatu. The more north we went, the more the islands were remote. We did not have internet and we exchanged goods for food.

A typical house on the island of Ureparapara
Another happy bunch of kids, happy to be in the picture. 36% of the population is between 0-14years old, 4% is older than 65 !
Sanuk with a beautiful sunset in the bay at Gaua
 A spotted eagle ray, snorkeling at the Banks islands
A family of anemone fish
The last sunset in Vanuatu, tomorrow we start our sail to Solomon

Cruising along the East Coast of Grande Terre, New Caledonia

Flash back to April 2018 when we arrived back on the boat after visiting Australia, Vietnam and Myanmar. It felt good coming home to Sanuk.

French bread, croissants, good coffee and real butter, a perfect breakfast

It took us about 2 weeks to get Sanuk ready to go back in the water and off we were for our last cruising season in the Pacific. We checked out of Noumea, got tax free diesel and sailed towards the Isle of Pines.

Beautiful Gadji Bay where we snorkeled and saw some colourful coral
The clarity of the water was not top but still good enough to enjoy the red coral
A feather star, they can actually swim by flapping their feathery arms.
Blue Damsels everywhere.
And it looks even better in real life

From Gadji Bay we decided to continue sailing along the East Coast from Grande Terre until it was time to cross to Vanuatu. We took almost 3 weeks to sail up and come back and we hardly saw another boat. The weather was not perfect, rainy days but warm but the nature was beautiful and we managed to do some nice hikes.

A happy captain
Dramatic scenery seen from the back of Sanuk
On a sunny day the colours of the reef are so much nicer.
Enjoying our walk along Guara Bay
One of the spectaular sunsets in New Caledonia
A gorgeous walk in Yate
with plenty of flowers
in all shapes and colors
One of the many authentic churches in a small village. Religion is still very important for the Kanak people.
In a way unfortunate that the ground of Grande Terre is filled with “nickel”. Nature has to give way for the exploitation of this ore.
Nickel mining on the left, the boat is waiting to be filled. Nickel mining is a major sector in the economy of New Caledonia. The island contains about 7 Mio Tonnes of nickel which is about 10% of the world’s nickel reserves.
Canala canal our way into the town of Canala with Flipper.
“La poule de Hienghėne” or the brooding hen. It is a limestone rock formation and a symbol of generosity for the Kanak people.
The Lindéralique cliffs, made of black limestone and featured at one time on the 500 XPF bank notes.
Anchored near the dock at Guara Bay
The captain ready to move on to Vanuatu
We made a stop at Maré Island and went to see “the warrior’s leap”. Standing almost 30 meters above sea level, legend has it that the warrior, cornered by many enemies, leapt across the abyss which in fact measures almost 7 meters in width! As for the enemies, they broke their necks and ended up at the bottom of the ocean.
Sailing to Vanuatu proved to be a rocking fast sail. We got to Anatom in 22 hours
Sunset in Anatom. We are ready to discover Vanuatu.