Blink and time flies by! We cleared into Port Vila, albeit quite late and we had just about resigned ourselves to re-anchoring for the night at the Quarantine anchorage (which is deep with less than great holding), when the guys zipped over. Initial clearance and biosecurity was a breeze. The ni-Vanuatu are invariably friendly and easy to deal with. Their practical approach to biosecurity is a delight (keep everything onboard). They left at 5pm, 15 minutes after arriving - so we lifted the anchor and went in to pick up a mooring.
Friends on Begonia arrived, so we did a bit of touristy stuff with them - and then Geniet Lewe arrived which delayed our leaving a bit longer. However, its easy to stay in Port Vila - the market is awesome and the supermarkets are pretty good with really nice meat too. However, we hatched plans and left heading for an anchorage on the NE side of Efate.
The sailing was a bit harder than planned - the wind, rather than being S or SE, was ENE - right on the nose. We bore away a bit and headed to Emae for the night. Somewhat rolly, so we didn’t stop long - we opted to move again to Lamen bay. Again just one night, and now we’re in the Maskelyne islands anchored in a very well protected spot whilst some weather goes through. A perfect time to convert the pile of chillis into sweet chilli sauce!
Its also giving us (well, me) time to think about my future plans. The plan of record for next season, which we’ve been telling everyone this year, was to go to Indonesia. However, I’m really loving Fiji and I’m sorely tempted to go back again. I think Ania thinks I’m mad, due to the upwind sail - but the rewards are definitely worth it in my opinion. I’m not bothered about New Caledonia other than being a place to stop on the way - but another option is to head south along the Australian coast and then make the jump to Lord Howe island, and from there direct to Fiji. It gives a 10degree better angle, and though we know we could make the angle before, the extra 10 degrees makes things faster and an easier sail. Possibly more bouncy, but we can always slow down.
I’ve not yet convinced myself - and I know I have a few things to fix such as the odd leaking hatch we found on the last upwind leg! I guess we won’t really have to decide until May, but the visa for Australia is easier if I know I’m going back to Fiji (as I just need a 3 month multiple entry one).
Crew could also be a problem - though in truth I’ve found that to be less of an issue than I expected. Lessons have been learnt - Ania points out that with 3 it’s easier and I’d have to concur. Its a pain to have both cabins in use, but we can manage. I’m also firmly of the opinion that now I will do what I want, and the crew can join me or not. We’ll see how that works.
So, Fiji or Indonesia - anyone got an opinion?