Captain's Log

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Return to Espiritu Santo

We sailed through the night back to the island of Espiritu Santo. The winds were a bit shifty, the threat of rain hung thick in the air and the currents strong. The Captain decided it would be best to anchor on the other side of the bay – in the lee of Aore Island across the way from the town of Luganville. Next to a cruising catamaran we swung safely about on our anchor chain in deep water, about 95 feet – withstanding the occasional smatterings of rain.

With lots to do and lots to see, we had no time to waste here in Santo. Provisioning for the ship was a top priority and once more Donald and Nadja sought out the best prices in town – securing excellent free range meat for the freezers and fresh vegetables and fruit for the lockers. They also ensured that we would not be crackerless or instant-noodle free for the 3 to 4 week passage – a relief for the majority of the crew, who have a fondness for late night snacks. Chris, Paul and WT scoured the hardware stores for bits and pieces and parts. Quite amazingly well stocked they are. Katelinn filled the outboard motor gas containers – while 10 attendants attempted to help. Mate Mike ordered diesel and arranged for the ship to tie up alongside the commercial dock later in the week for the fill up. Yes, it was a busy time, but there was also time for fun.

Shawn found an outfit that specializes in ‘extreme’ sports and Liam booked an afternoon of paintball which pitted the 4-8 watch against the 8-12. It was only due to circumstance that 12-4 could not participate. Someone must watch the ship and 12-4 took one for the team, so to speak. A Captain’s Log dedicated to the match to follow, but needless to say we had a hilarious time of it, chasing one another around a field in suits far too hot for the circumstances and some of us are still discovering the bruises. While we ran around with paint guns, Paulina went horseback riding into the mountains surrounding Luganville. Liam and Siri went diving – exploring the wrecks (planes, tanks, cruise ship a-la-Titanic) that surround the island. Many of the crew visited a spot called Champagne Beach where WWII debris can still be found, scattered over the sand and coral reef. The Captain, Ollie, Nadja, Frankie, Adrienne, Jan, Logan, Mate Mike, Robert H, Niko and Paula took a WWII official tour – visiting old bombers and fighter airfields and equipment buried deep in the jungle. Adrienne, Jan and Taia visited a Kastom village outside of Luganville – although I doubt it was the promise of kava that drew them there. Almost everyone went to see “blue hole” – a beautiful clear swimming hole in hills above Luganville with a depth of 40+ metres. Many, including David B, took the rope swing challenge, climbing up the tree about 15 feet and swinging out into the blue hole, some grabbing a tree mid-swing and back-flipping into the pool. Paula, Davey and Paul took it a step further by climbing the giant tree and jumping from a height of 60 feet – moving so quickly they only show up as light blurs with feet on the camera. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Some chose to stick closer to town during the visits. It’s nice to spend a night away from the ship every now and then. Joani did for the first time since she joined in Lunenburg in May. Lorraine, Tiina, Clark, Josh, Joh, Mike M, Lauren, Sophie, Cheri, Robert M and Tammy (and more) all got away to great hotels and since we can’t seem to stay away from each other for long, we all tended to meet up for an evening meal or a drink on the veranda of a hotel room or a dip in the pool. A French restaurant in town was our favourite for great cuisine – their deserts decadent, their staff friendly and acceptably French. Although Robert H was disappointed to discover that they were not serving flying fox aka fruit bat this time of year – nor did they have bananas to complete his banana split. He decided in the end that settling for the chocolate orange mouse was not such a terrible compromise.

Once we had fueled up, finished our shopping, sent our emails and cleared out – we were ready to go. But not before we had to say goodbye to not one or two, but three of our crew. Dixon left us here to complete his business in Santo. It was a pleasure to have him onboard! Roselyne needed to return to the Netherlands and our later than planned November arrival in Bali would be too late for her. We wish her the best in the future and hope she stays in touch and does not forget her lessons from the sea or forget us! And we said ‘see you later’ to Ollie – our tortured artist deckhand – who is returning to North America to begin filming a new TV series (“The Killing”, starring Billy Campbell, on AMC, the same folks that brought you the super cool “Mad Men”). We will brag more on that soon, very cool show. He also had to go on a secret mission to Cape Town, South Africa before getting to Vancouver for shooting (it’s secret, I can’t tell you!). He will return to us – we hope sooner rather than later. His presence is already missed onboard, but I believe he knows he is loved and we gave him a proper send off. Break a leg, Ollie!

Tankyu Tumas Vanuatu! It has been a pleasure. But to sea we must go. We are ready for the 3 to 4 week passage that awaits us. From the South Pacific into the Coral Sea to the Torres Strait to Bali!

*Thank you to Paula and Adrienne for the permission to use two of your photos in this log.

Adrienne and an old plane wreck
Liam and Bracken entertain
Mate Mike to rope swing
Million Dollar Point and old jeep engine blocks
Our own tortured artist up a tree!
Roselyne prepares lunch

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