Captain's Log

Archive for November, 2010

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Asanvari, Maewo

Asanvari Bay truly is an idyllic tropical paradise. It is an absolutely stunning spot. It was late afternoon by the time we motored around the corner, past a small island bluff and into the bay. The sun hovered calmly over the densely vegetated mountains which sloped steeply down to the sandy cresent moon shoreline. A waterfall cascaded down the side of the mountain into the crystal clear water of the lagoon off to port. The coral reef blinked with life just below the surface of the water. The reef was beautiful yes, but its proximity made it a tricky anchorage. Once more the Captain took a group in on the skiff to greet the local leadership and create a ‘program’ which seems the preferred thing. Chief Nelson was away on a health related trip so his son Nixon put together an amazing program for us.

On our second day the crew carried books and supplies donated in Nova Scotia up the winding path, through the forest, past beautifully palm thatched houses, tenderly tended gardens and ripening mango trees to the school where the children waited for us. After introducing ourselves and presenting the supplies we were given a special gift in return. They sang us three songs – their sweet harmonies spun, innocent, in the mango-scented air. Once they had given us a tour of the school buildings and asked all about our families back home, Paula led the kids in a game of ‘football’ which many of the crew happily joined. Any excuse to be a child again! Not only were they amazing singers, but they also turned out to be very talented athletes as well – showing us up on the football field and the volleyball court.

We were given a tour of the village and informed of some fun activities to do and then sent off to explore. Joani, Katelinn, Liam, Rebecca and Sophie among others found a wonderful spot to snorkel on the other side of the village and bay. The coral reef dropped off just a few metres from shore – offering a literal underwater kingdom of colour and marine life. Robert M, Ollie, Taia, Tiina and Clark, to name a few, spent half a day hiking high into the mountains. Lauren and Brad went for a boat ride and a hike to see the huge fruit bats that dwell in the nearby caves. Considered a delicacy in some spots you can order ‘flying fox’ at the fanciest of restaurants in Luganville or Port Vila. We held a trading day and the ship and crew were thrilled with their hand-woven bags and local produce. Vicky and Shawn once more set up a clinic. Almost everybody made it to the waterfall for a bath or a swim or a picnic – and a few took the opportunity to do some laundry. The waterfall hike in itself is a beautiful one as it boasts several pools at differing elevations. It’s hydro-power also supplies the village, indeed Vanuatu harnesses solar power on a wide-spread scale, utilizes its hydro-electric resources well and is beginning to experiment with wind power. Another thing they can be proud of!

Paul had taken 11 crew on an epic expedition in the monomoy (with its newly built mast), rowing and sailing the 17 miles from Pentecost to Maewo and the rest of the crew was chomping at the bit for their chance to take her out on the water. Mate Mike rose to the challenge and arranged another monomoy expedition – taking the crew out for a day sail around the island and for a swim at a secluded waterfall. The next day Paul took another chunk of the crew out for a similar sail. Yes, when tall ship sailors need a break from tall ship sailing, they sail small boats. We had beautiful wind during our stay at Asanvari – however one night, the wind went to nothing allowing us to drift to the reef. We set a stern anchor (which is an interesting piece of seamanship for us) to keep the ship lined up properly in this tranquil anchorage.

And what would a visit to a Vanuatu island be without kastom dancing, string band, kaikai and kava? Well, as far as we were concerned, not much of one. Nixon arranged a special day complete with all of the above. Those who were interested on the on-watch were encouraged to attend and our crew sat down to enjoy and as it happened, participate in, the performance. The men lined up outside of the thatched roofed meeting house they call the ‘yacht club’ for some reason.. They wore nothing but elaborate feather head-dresses and weaved loin cloths and body paint – their traditional attire. After a dramatic entrance they stomped and swung and chanted and shuffled – making their own beat with their feet and voices and the wooden sticks and clubs they carried. Impressive to say the least and once more a window to a culture. Afterwards we participated in a kava drinking ceremony. The Captain warned us that this Kava was the strongest in Vanuatu and he was absolutely correct. The preparation is a little different from Banam Bay. They grind the root down in a hand-turned, mounted grinder (Fred and a few others took over the task for a while) and then soak it in spring water for a long period of time, allowing it to saturate and infuse. Once dark and muddy they strain it through a cheese cloth, squeezing. Then repeat several times. You’ll want to sit down after you have one or two of these. Reports of tingling knees and a mild head-rush were reported among the crew. Though mostly it just created a sense of calm and relaxation. Captain told us not to over-do this stuff, we would regret that.

Dinner was served that night at the meeting hosue and it was delicious. Pig and goat, noodle and rice dishes, taro and vegetables – we were absolutely stuffed when we finished eating, but not so much that we could not dance to the Numbawon string band in Maewo! They had hiked in, carrying all of their instruments, from the next town. Mate Mike’s expedition had seen them walking along the rocky path parallel to the beach – miles away from Asanvari Bay. Asanvari indeed seems to be a base for many of the surrounding villages. People row their children to school in outrigger canoes every morning. Pretty sweet to see, early in the low bright light of morning, a man paddling his dugout canoe with his child aboard taking him or her to school.

The day before we left we arranged for the school children to visit the ship. We had seen where and what they were learning and now it was time to show them what we were learning. When they had finished the tour and their exploring the Captain requested that they sing us another song. They sang us three. They have serious talent, it’s astounding. Must be something in the water here. Saying goodbye to them meant that we were getting close to saying goodbye to Maewo. Had to get back to Santo. As we retrieved the stern anchor and hauled up the starboard anchor we took one last look at Asanvari Bay. What a wonderful spot. “Tapiana Asanvari!” Some of us might be back!

Football in Asanvari
Asanvari school visitors
Captain guides us into Asanvari
Enjoying the waterfall in Asanvari
School children singing in Asanvari
Trying the Asanvari Kava

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Bwatnapne Bay

By Chief Mate Michael Moreland

The village of Bwatnapne, on the island of Pentecost in the Vanuatu Group, rests in a valley on a large swath of lush flatlands with dramatic but gentle tropical cliffs overhanging and a long crescent coral beach that the village overlooks out to sea on the lee side of the island. A small freshwater river empties just on the southern side of the beach, deep enough only to let passageway for the local dugout canoes but clean enough for cooking and bathing. Traditional thatch huts are spread about among the large banyan trees and grass fields with a few modern cement structures that house the church and school in between. Smoke gently easing from the thatch roofs reveals cooking fires and a few people can be seen tending to their garden patches.

It is here that we found ourselves gazing upon from our ship at anchor a few hundred yards from the shore. The ship sat in still, crystal clear water and almost seemed to appear as if she was suspended in air with her anchor chain visibly leading 50 feet down to the anchor quietly doing it’s work on the coral and sand bottom. Swim call was briefly interrupted as the Captain, Donald, Ollie, and I boarded the ship’s cape island skiff and motored to the beach to say hello and make plans and a “program” for the next few days. We were met on the beach by several groups of curious people, small and large alike, and more importantly by Fredrick, the son of the late chief of the village, Chief Allen. He received us warmly and led us down the beach and up to through the small village as the little ones tagged behind and invited us into his home to have our first talk. The program was all neatly organized already and we simply had to agree and show him our appreciation. The appropriate information was sent back to the ship and within 30 minutes all of the off-watch was gathered on the beach ready for the welcoming ceremony. Amazing leis of flowers had suddenly appeared with children standing in line to which the crew made their way down, shaking hands and receiving the beautiful flowers. Beneath the banyan tree and upon a perfectly manicured field of grass we all stood as the children began singing their welcome song. Shortly there after we were all spread out, mixed among the locals, eating the feast they had prepared for us, with each our own banana leaf as a plate. The local string band arrived during dinner and set up next to the stylish kava shack where our crew and locals slowly but surely migrated to. It was to be a great night of dancing and music; with the best string band we were to hear our whole time in Vanuatu. Moderation was the key to this potent batch of kava and the crew did well, showing respect and observing custom while indulging in this highly unusual and stimulating drink from ground-up roots. We danced until we couldn’t dance anymore (maybe the kava had something to do with it) and with the party winding down, we made our way down to the beach where our trusty skiff came stern-to and took the giddy crew back to our ship with the string band music echoing off the water.

The next few days came in with more of the same great spirit and hospitality from our new friends in Bwatnapne. Guided hikes, snorkelling, paddling around in a new friend’s dugout canoe, a wonderfully successful and chaotic trading afternoon, and every night, sure enough the string band would set up and the kava would be poured with more excitement and dancing then the night before. Rightly deserved donations were made to the string band, who have ambitions to record their first album. And on the last night a special request was made for the Picton Castle’s own Gypsy Band to play a set, which we gladly obliged. We played all our hits and received some laughter, applause, confused looks but also dancing and smiles to what was to them pretty foreign music of contemporary American folk, rock, and blues. Another great night and in the morning, like always, we had to sail, but from a wonderful and beautiful place and people. It always seems to be the small places that stick with you down the road, what you remember, what stories come up, and the spirit, that is so large in such a small and remote place, that you maybe try to carry with you the rest of your life.

*Thank you to Lauren and Frankie for sharing a few of their photos to go with this log entry.

Bwatnapne Bay string band performs
Mate Mike relexes with newfound friends
villagers and crew meet in Bwatnapne
Welcome to Bwatnapne Bay

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Banam Bay Nights

If you have never had kava before, it is a flavour experience that is hard to describe. It is earthy. It tastes of root with a hint of spice and pepper. It will numb your mouth and lips instantly. You don’t want to sip the stuff. It is not like a fine Muscadadu from Sardinia. You definitely want to down your cup as quickly as possible. So, it’s a good thing that that is the tradition. You don’t chug bowl after bowl – but have one and then sit and relax with friends. Catch up on the day. Tell stories. Say nothing at all. There’s no pressure with kava. It does not taste good.

Traditionally in Vanuatu society it seems that it is more of a man’s realm. Not to say that women do not partake or that it is ‘tabu’ for them to do so. But in general the men gather – after a days work tending the cash crop gardens, fishing, hunting or talking politics – and drink some kava together. The preparation of kava is also a bonding time – as it is in itself quite a process. As I will come to in subsequent logs this varies from island to island. In Banam Bay they mash the roots in a pipe using a pole. After they have pounded them for a while they drop them in a bowl and add water, mixing and squeezing the root -extracting its juices. This process continues for three or four more times until the water is muddy and opaque and the roots sapped dry of any moisture. Then they take a clean cloth and filter the kava into another bowl. Now it is time to drink. Would you care for a low tide or a high tide? A low tide is a small bowlful, whereas – you guessed it – a high tide is an overflowing bowl. Drink and enjoy the moment with your new-found friends. Tastes ghastly, feels a little relaxing.

While the days were filled with exploration, visits to the inland waterfall, snorkelling and playing with the children – the nights were filled with dancing, kava drinking and listening to the local music. The held a wonderful feast (kai kai) for us on our first evening on the island with noodles and rice and taro and pig. Chief Saitol then invited everybody for a string band dance. Numbawon string band in Malekula! You bet we were there. We had the obligatory kava and the crew danced along with dozens of people from the island that had come out for the festivities. The music was fantastic – the rhythm infectious. A box with a protruding pole and taut string acted as the bass and the band gathered in a circle – their guitars and voices filling the warm tropical nights with fast-paced local favourites. The children danced in circles around us – even the littlest ones tottering around the village square to the beat. This turned into the nightly affair and when our crew returned on the 10pm skiff they were either tuckered out from dancing or revving for more.

On our last day on the island Chief Saitol arranged a very special event. We were invited to watch local Kastom dancing. The men danced first – a highly synchronized dance imbedded with meaning and seeping with tradition. Each dance had a story behind it and in that sense it was similar to the Cook Islands dancing we had observed, but in that way only. These dances are unique from village to village -a lthough many share common themes of life with historical elements. Through these dances the culture is maintained and stories passed down from one generation to the next. Then the women danced for us. The dance was no less synchronized, though much gentler in both music and movement. Another feast was thrown in our honour that night to thank us for the school supplies we brought.

When we left Banam Bay to sail on to Bwatnapne Bay in Pentecost we left not only with huge smiles on our faces (it seemed it was impossible to frown) but with one of their own. A sweet and gentle man named Dixon would be travelling with us as far as Santo – where he had business. He will make a stellar addition to our motley crew. Dixon is also Deputy Governor of the Province. ‘Simpa Lambone!’ Banam Bay.

Banam Bay feast
Banam Bay string band
dixon bonds with chibley
Making Kava in Banam Bay
The Kastum Dance -Banam Bay
Women s Kustom Dance in Banam Bay

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Banam Bay, Malekula Island, Vanuatu

The skiff dropped us off on a sandy beach after expertly manoeuvring through the coral heads near the beach in Banam Bay. Stretching, we looked around. The trunks of palm trees and the branches of mahogany trees bent and sheltered the shore – offering us a canopy as the rain began to pelt down -warm and furious – bringing with it the sweet smells of wet bananas and coconut, flowers and earth. It seemed at first that we were alone on this beach – but then we heard the sound of a pick-up truck barrelling down a dirt road and we remembered. There was a village of people just around the curve and another village of people a kilometre or so down the road.

The Captain had already been ashore that day. He had taken a group of people and a few gifts and spent an hour or two with his good friend Chief Saitol – catching up on the years, making introductions and planning a ‘program’ for the crew. The Chief likes to plan a ‘program’. On the first day the program included exploration, meetings and greetings of our own and, in this particular moment, some shelter. We walked through the sheets of rain until we saw a long, covered building and then we headed for that. It turned out that we had stumbled upon the meeting house – where National assemblies for Vanuatu were held, chiefs met to discuss matters of local interest and communities gathered. We huddled on the benches and attempted to wait out the rain. Several children from the village also had the same idea and as the rain pelted down we played games and when our ideas for entertainment had run dry we risked stepping outside. Life continued as usual. No one carried umbrellas, but instead used banana and pandanus leaves to keep themselves dry as they went about their daily activities. They offered us some, which we gladly and thankfully accepted, and walked off down the long road road lined with coconut palms and banana trees.

Language is incredibly fascinating in Vanuatu. You can walk from one village to the next – and in this instance that meant 15 minutes down the road – and you will encounter a completely different dialect. Not only that, but in general the people from one village do not know the greetings of the next. That is why Vanuatu has a common language called Bislama (Pigeon English); Bislama comes from the French ‘beche-le-mer’ meaning ‘mouth of the sea’ or “Pigeon” English; which is a corruption of the English for “Business English” – one that everybody understands, from village to village and island to island. Smart. It allows them to retain individual and local identity, while being able to interact politically and conduct general business. In Chief Saitol’s village when you say hello you say (phonetically), “bwa la su”, but when you are in Chief Jamie’s village you say “Bwa la lay”. In Chief Saitol’s village you say “Sipa lambone” when you want to say thank you very much, whereas in Chief Jamie’s you say “Siba”. “Mifko” or “Mimco” mean good evening and in both cases the response is “Mo”. Tiina and Ollie turned out to be the language aficionados of the crew – meeting and greeting like they had been there their whole lives. If you did mix the greetings up, the children either looked at you in a politely confused manner, or they laughed and corrected you – thinking you just silly. However, with Bislama folks can effectively communicate throughout Vanuatu, the Solomons and New Guinea in one tounge.

And the children are everywhere. Shy perhaps at first. Timid and giggly – they will approach you and then at the slightest movement run away or hide. This phase does not last long. If you play with them, indulge them or chase them they will shriek with glee, copy your every move and follow you wherever you go. Many of the crew spent the first afternoon skipping down the road from village to village – occassionally stopping to play a game of tag with the children or meet with the adults. Taia thrilled the kids by playing hop-scotch with them and later by performing some Cook Islands dancing. Nadja and Logan were the first (but not the last) to discover that the children loved hair and they came home from the first skiff run with braid after tiny braid that took days to remove. Anybody with a camera was a big hit – as the kids loved posing for the camera and then seeing their pictures. And singing. They loved to get sung to. Inevitably if you are surrounded by a group of children they will ask you to sing. And you had better have some good ones ready. Funny is preferable. Although it seemed like we were hilarious to them no matter what we did.

Dr. Vicky and EMT Shawn set up a clinic and islanders walked or got rides from the other villages to come and see them. The Captain had noticed a marked difference in the quality of health on the islands over the past few years, so they didn’t have to deal with anything too serious luckily. Chris and Paula brought a generator back to the ship on the first day and gained a reputation – and over the next few days many other generators and gizmos were brought to the ship for repair. We also had many visitors during our stay in Banam Bay. People paddled in throughout the day in beautiful outrigger canoes – coming onboard for tours or visits. The on-watch crew was inevitably working on ships projects during the day and our guests willingly jumped in. They helped work on the new mast for the monomoy and rust-busted and primed the hatch along with the rest of the crew. Niko and Paul told me later that every saw every rust busting tool we owned were used in the projects. And when the music booming from our boom-box proved to be too catchy – they broke into impromptu dance with us on the well deck. Kinda fun.

We also helped to organize a trading day ashore and dozens of people showed up with their goods eager to see what we would bring to the table. The ship had bag after bag of second hand clothing and some pots and pans to trade, while the crew had a huge assortment of items – from batteries to soap to pots and pans to clothing to shoes to toys. A fun cultural experience trading is. It is certainly not to be mistaken with bartering. If you want something you offer something. If you both agree that it is a fair exchange, then you make it, and both parties walk away happy. We were certainly happy with our bounty. The ship got a large assortment of fruits and vegetables (squash, pumpkins, onions, green beans, papaya, almonds and bananas) and the crew walked away with homemade mats, jewelery and carvings.

Banam Bay locals work on the new monomoy mast
Banam Bay workers help out
Children greeting
Frankie risks a walk in the rain
Taia plays with the children
Trade in Banam Bay

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Luganville, Espiritu Santo

The town of Luganville in Espiritu Santo was our first stop in Vanuatu and it would also be out last after we made our round to some of the outer islands. Vanuatu is an archipelago comprised of 83 islands, but you can only clear in and clear out of the country at a few of them. It is a bit gritty and real. Vanuatu was colonized by both the French and British and in Santo you can observe both of their influences. You can sit in a French bistro along the main street of Luganville and sip espresso while you nibble on your pain de chocolate and parlez francais with the clientele for instance. There is also a surprising melange of people here. While not exactly cosmopolitan one could not call Santo mono-cultural by any means. Next to the French bistro you will find a Chinese store and next to that the Village Craft Centre (boasting crafts from many Kastom villages) and next to that an inn owned by a couple from New Zealand. Voted the happiest place in the world in 2010 – perhaps the word is getting out?!

Luganville or the town that was there before 1942 was a tiny, sleepy little trading post but WWII and the US Navy chaged all that. From a tiny viilage it grew almost over night to a Navy town of 100,000 or more. Among other things they built large paved roads. Really good roads. Roads that were built for military use. During this war the large basin at Espritu Santo made for a massive Naval anchorage as well as air base for bombers and fighters that were campaigning over the Solomon Islands. When the Second World War ended the base was abandoned along with most, if not all, of the equipment. The departing military dumped the tanks and machinery into the sea just off the coast. Remnants of that time can still be found scattered on the reefs and all over the island and make for great hikes and dives. We’ve got a few history buffs and a few avid divers on the crew – all eager to come back and explore.

The Picton Castle anchored just offshore late in the morning on the 11th of October. The Captain, Rebecca, Ollie and I went in on the first skiff in order to get the ship cleared in with the authorities. The crew were given an opportunity to go ashore for two hours – stock up on minor provisions, perhaps send an e-mail or two, have a cold drink and then we were off. The time to explore Santo would come. Vanuatu is rich in culture and natural splendour and we had more islands to visit. We spent the night motor-sailing to our next destination – Banam Bay on the island of Malekula.

Captain, Mike and Chris guide us to Santo
Downtown Luganville
Paul contacts port authority in Luganville

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Sailing From Vanuatu

As I write this our Picton Castle is under all plain sail to the royals, steering west in a modest easterly tradewind about 300 miles west of the island of Espritu Santo in Vanuatu – we have just sailed through a minor line squall which brought with it a wind shift of about 90 degrees. Crew were jumping about, bracing to the new winds and otherwise doing what crew are supposed to do in shifting wind conditions. Robert at the wheel did fine and Ali on lookout kept her eyes peeled all about for anything to report.

We make it a policy to post a dedicated lookout forward in this ship in the daytime and not just at night – you never know what might worth seeing. We do this because it was reported by the eight survivors of the loss of the schooner Pride of Baltimore in 1986 who spent four days in a life raft drifting about north of Puerto Rico and just east of the Bahamas that in broad daylight a number of cruise ships passed so close to them that they could make out the names of the ships – and no one aboard these ships saw them in their bright orange liferaft. So we keep a dedicated lookout on the foredeck of this ship pretty much all the time, day or night. Yet, on the other hand “lookout” is a condition, not a person. But always, no matter how, keep a good lookout.

We have some catching up to do on our logs here at www.picton-castle.com – many fine accounts of the ship and crew’s doing are getting drafted but in the meantime here we have something of a recap.

After a fine six day passage from Fiji we sailed into and anchored off the old Burns & Phillips wharf at Luganville, Santo, Vanuatu. After clearing in we soon set sail again to see and explore some of this mysterious and friendly island country. Over the last couple weeks cruising around here in Vanuatu we have managed to check in with most of the villages and people we know hereabouts. Most are doing well. Very sadly, not all: Chief Alan Bule of Bwatnapni died last February, one of my personal best friends in these parts. A wonderful man who looked after his village with compassion, we had a lovely connection. Chief Saitol (maybe about age 90) and family at Banam Bay doing quite well. It has been wonderful for the crew to hang with the different villages; meeting folks, visiting schools and having schools visit us, eating and feasting together, hiking along beaches and though jungle, dancing at night, trading, playing guitars with all these nice folks, and drinking that funny stuff, kava, too. And, of course, longboat expeditions, cooking and cleaning and ongoing ship’s work, anchor watch and so on and so forth. And plenty mast-head tropical piloting (with no large scale charts of these islands available) to get our barque safely anchored. Real old fashioned Jack London, South Pacific stuff are these islands.

The crew favourite for sheer beauty may well be being at anchor at Asanvari, Vanuatu, although anchoring right next to a reef but we put a stern anchor out in this tranquil cove to keep us away from it – an amazingly beautiful small cresent moon bay and charmingly idyllic palm thatched village at the southern end of the island of Maewo filled with the sweetest peoples – surrounded by tall steep jungle tangled mountains – old wooden outrigger canoes pulled up on the beach, Picton Castle framed in palm trees in a crystal clear sea maybe two hundred yards from shore in this still lagoon – a cooling water fall nearby tumbling down to the cove, perfect for swimming (and washing clothes which some of us did) – incredibly cute kids running around happy to take your hand and walk you through the forest to their village and then when three or four of them get together, they seem to just burst out in song, and they sing like angels – no road to this village, can only come by boat – everybody barefoot, smiling – prettiest village you ever saw – like Spielberg and Disney got together to make an adorable South Seas native village, gardens, rock lined coral gravel paths, pretty flowers everywhere – but Disney and Spielberg had nothing to do with this – this is just how the villagers want it and how they keep it – we took lots of our Nova Scotian donated encyclopedias, school books, paper and pencils to the school which had so very little – our Doc Vicki went to the clinic to look at folks if they wanted it (I have seen a rise in the standard of health in the years I have been coming here) and we all had a “Kastom Dans” (traditional dancing) followed by kava (Vanuatu has the strongest kava in the South Pacific and Asanvari has the strongest kava in Vanuatu; tastes like kerosene, dishwater, used lube-oil, and mercury mixed) and kai-kai (chow and pretty good) – old fashioned poi or laplap, kumera, yam, coconut crab and pig roast. And Banam Bay at southern Malekula and Bwatnapni Bay at Pentecost were equally delightful and enchanting. Stay tuned for more accounts about our visits to these fascinating South Pacific spots.

Then back to Luganville, Esprito Santo, Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) which was a massive naval base in WWII, almost every USN ship passed through here in that war – they still have plenty of those round topped corrugated steel Quonset huts all over the place. Bomber and fighter strips, now abandoned, broad Seabee built boulevards, wrecked planes and ships about, every small shop sells old crusty bullets, old spoons engraved USN, old Coke bottles stamped “Seatle”, “Oakland” or “San Francisco” 1943 or something – heavy glass, only 6 ounce and just millions of them everywhere. I am sure the broad roadstead anchorage bottom (where vast fleets of huge Navy ships once anchored) is covered with them – any country on a massive war footing that can still devote that much war transport space to that many crates of coloured sugar water must be pretty confident about winning a war. What? Didn’t they need bullets, torpedoes, plane parts (and also planes), rifles, spam and corned beef? WWII Navy Coke bottles everywhere hereabouts – got the crew to go on a WWII tour here, wrecked B-17 bombers recently discovered in the forest, PT Boat bases, Million Dollar Point where they bulldozed a lot more than a million dollars worth of military supplies into the sea instead of leaving on the shore at wars end – makes for great diving though – but also amazing fresh water “Blue Holes”, coral reefs and much else besides… Now, after fuelling, provisioning and all this exploring ashore, we are now sailing for Bali, 3300 miles to the west out of the Coral Sea, South Pacific and into the seas of the Orient.

crashed B-17 bomber engine and wing pieces in the woods of Vanuatu
Ladies Kastom Dans
long boat heading off at Pentecost
Paul works on new masts in the breezeway
PICTON CASTLE anchored at Asanvari with long boat sailing in
Posing for the camera in Banam Bay

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