Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Monday, July 25, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - July 26, 2011 from Vanuatu

Latitude: S 16 32.046
Longitude: E 167 46.167

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - Goodbye Port Vila

We left Port Vila early afternoon for an overnight sail to Revelieu Bay on the Island of Epi. We had a chance to connect via Skype with Garyn, Ted and Marian, and Mom and Dad during the morning before we left, letting everyone know that we would not have Internet for a couple of weeks.

Our trip to Epi was uneventful (just the way we like it!). The seas and the wind were so calm, we ended up motoring most of the way. The mainsail was up but it really didn't do much good. The moon was late coming up around 10 p.m. and on the wane. Nevertheless the moon is such a great friend on the dark sea at night even when she is only a quarter.

Thursday, July 21, 2012 - Hello Epi

When I woke up around 6:00 a.m., we were just lolling off the entrance to Revelieu. As soon as the sun came up a little more and my eyes were focused, we headed into the Bay which is protected to some extent from swells because of a horseshoe reef just under the surface of the water.

Our friends on Skylight, Brian and Claudia, had stopped at this bay and had given us the name of a lady with whom that had become friendly. They asked if we would say hello to her from them. Armed with her name and a bag of school supplies, we headed into shore around 10:00 a.m.

We met some children on the beach and asked why they were not in school. They told us that the teachers were in a workshop and they had no school today. We asked if they could direct us to the lady named Lucy. One of the boys said that Lucy was his mother, and he ran off to get her.

Within a few minutes, Lucy came down from the village. We introduced ourselves and she asked us to follow her. We spent the morning at her house meeting her children and some of the neighbors. Her eldest daughter Alex about 10 years old was peeling and washing a stack of manioke (casava root), with a huge bush knife.
Her brother Ben had a sling shot and was trying to find fruit bats to kill.

Once the roots were peeled and washed, Lucy got out a huge grater and grated the white roots into a gooey mound. This mound is actually what we think of as tapioca and can be used to make puddings, thicken soup or stews. Her plans for the manioke was to mix it with chicken meat and stuff cabbage leaves. Then it is baked, loplop, in the ground with hot stones. The chicken already had its neck wrung. It would be thrown into a boiling pot of water to loosen the feathers from its body, before being butchered for the loplop. Growing and preparing food is an endless cycle for the women in the village.

Lucy told us that the school was an hour's walk from their village. Her children got up at dawn each morning and walked to school so they could be there for the 8:00 start. I was a bit reluctant to hand over the school supplies to her as the children were clamoring all over me for the contents when I pulled out the backpack that had Nemo the fish on the front. I explained to them that this was not for them, but for the school. Lucy promised to give the bag of supplies to the head teacher, but I'm pretty sure the school would receive the supplies in a plastic sack or basket and one of her five children would get the backpack. No worries, the supplies are for the children so however it worked out, it would be okay.

While we were visiting, Russ fit two of the older ladies in village with reading glasses, and we blew up our globe to show the children and neighbors where they were and what our route was from California their little village. We gave out a few balloons and lollies (hard candy) to the children and the adults. They seemed to enjoy our visit as they continued their work preparing loplop.

One of the visiting neighbor ladies had two children that both had some deformities. Perhaps their genetic pool was too closely related. Her one son of three or four years of age had six fingers, one poking out of his thumb like a chicken claw. Her youngest son, between ages one and two, had huge testicles (the size of grapefruits) and another appendage that looked like a second penis. We only got of glimpse of him when he took of his shorts to go to the toilet. The mother kept him covered while the older son was not wearing any pants at all.

Before we left, we were given limes, pamplemoose, and, kasava root. We took two of the children out to the boat for a visit, Ben and a bright little girl named Namba. They were incredibly tactile on the boat touching the fabrics, running their hands over the wood, picking up and examining objects. They noticed some children's books I had in the v-berth. They picked out one that neither of them could read and could have easily been read by children of the same age in America, so I read it to them and gave them a little reading lesson as we went. Neither of the children had honed prediction skills, even though the picture book was written in a way that begged the question, "what do you think will happen next?" Namba was better at reasoning than the boy. Critically thinking is not something that is either taught nor practiced. We enjoyed our visit with the children and took them back ashore and said our goodbyes as we would be leaving early the next morning and heading to the Maskaline islands at the bottom of Malacula Island, where we were looking forward to meeting up with our friends, Brian and Claudia on Skylight.

Friday, July 22, 2011 - Goodbye Epi, Hello Manacula

We pulled up the anchor around 9:30 on Friday morning and once again found ourselves motoring north towards Manacula. We were going to an anchorage off of one of the Meskaline islands at the bottom end of the larger island of Manacula. Our weather files indicated some strong winds were coming that would be shifting from all directions so we wanted to find an all weather anchorage well protected from wind and waves. It turned out that our friends were in just such an anchorage.

We arrived in the anchorage between Awai and Avok Island around 1:30. We had our anchor down less than two minutes, when Brian and Claudia jumped in their dinghy and came on over with big smiles and huge hugs. Oh how wonderful to seem them! We last saw them in Fiji before we left for New Zealand last November.

As the wind kicked up we settled in for a great afternoon of visiting and sharing dinner together. I made a shrimp and papaya curry. Claudia brought the rice, some pan fried fish she had caught earlier in the morning. It was a feast!

Brian has become known as the generator fixer here in the area and has gotten four of the twelve broken generators working. These people have so little money but they save up to by generators so that they have some electricity. The generators they are buying are from China and while the generators are still basically "new" they break. The metal in the generators from what I understand hasn't been tempered correctly and the fittings are blowing apart. Perhaps these are seconds from China, but it is terrible that these folks are throwing their money away on these junk generators.

To make matters worse, the Ni-vans here in these remote islands are clueless about how things work and have few tools even if they did know how to make things work.

The main technological tools the people in these villages have are the big bush knife, some pots and pans, a few fishing hooks, rakes, and some plastic bottles. We saw one man with a plane smoothing a dugout canoe and another man with a screwdriver.

The people here in Vanuatu, at least in these remote little villages, are by western standards, are well fed but incredibly poor and lacking in basic maintenance and repair skills for some of the newer gadgets that have come to them….cell phones, generators, solar powered lights. Anticipation skills, much like we learned in Tonga and Fiji to a lesser extent, are not a part of their daily lives. They live from hand to mouth. The people in the remote villages don't even have a money economy although they are forced to do something to collect vatu because they must pay school fees for their children.

The average Ni-vans in Port Vila, we were told, made about $100 a month US. Those who have a skill or degreed may earn $1,000 a month. Just within the last two years, school for children through class six is free. Families with children going to high school and some of the private schools, pay about $300 a quarter per child. For people in the remote villages, even $100 US a month would be considered a fortune as they basically do not sell handcrafts or other items that would generate any income.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 - Preparing for Children's Day

We spent Saturday morning cleaning up the boat and relaxing. Several families in dugout canoes stopped by the boat to trade. They were looking for children's item to give to their children the following day which is Children's Day in Vauatu. While the families went to their gardens to bring back produce to trade, Claudia and I dug through the v-berth on Worrall Wind for kid things.

Our one v-berth locker was filled with school supplies and other stuff we brought from home, paper weights, stuffed animals, ceramic knickknacks, frisbees, mardi-gras beads, wooden ball and paddle, rubber duck, costume jewelry, hair bands and combs, little mirrors, hotel soaps, lotions, and shampoos, small packages of nose tissue. I also had some plastic tumblers and plastic containers with lids, dish towels, balloons, candy, pencils, erasers, stickers, etc. Claudia had some stuff on her boat and another boat Emily Grace came in that also had balloons, whistles, and bubbles.

When the family from Awai island returned, we gave them gifts for each of their five children and received some pamplemoose and bananas. Only two families live on Awai island. Another boat from Avok Island had stopped by and asked for children's items as well which we traded. Avok Island is a larger Island with 400 people and where the children of Awai go to school during the week. It is about a ½ hour dinghy ride from the anchorage.

I have been carrying around from my teaching days, a Bingo game with about 80 bingo cards, waiting for an opportunity to be played. With the huge assortment of "stuff" we had, I decided it would be fun to play Bingo and make the stuff prizes. We asked if we could come to the village the following day which was Children's Day to play the game. It was recommended to us that we come on the Monday after Children's Day, as it would be a holiday and all of the villagers would be available including the children. We were a little disappointed not to come on Children's Day, but apparently this is family day and is celebrated with church activities.

We got together later in the evening with Brian and Claudia for left overs from the night before and I also stir fried up some chicken strips, cabbage, and grated manioke. Both of us had baked brownies too! Another feast. Then we spent the evening teaching Brian and Claudia how to play Baja Rummy! We had a good time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 - Yipes what is that big thing?

We decided to take advantage of the sunshine to go for a snorkel late Sunday morning. on the reef in the middle of the channel that we had skirted around when we came in the day before. Along with Claudia and Brian on Skylight, and Tom, Kim, and Emily on Emily Grace, we dinghied over to the reef and dropped our anchors. The skin infection that Russ had on his shin was finally clearing up and this would be the first time we had gotten in the water for a snorkel since leaving Fiji. The water was only about 81 degrees and on the cool side so we were all wearing our dive suits. Quite a bit of the reef on top was dead, but where it dropped off down along the sides into deeper water we did see some nice coral and a lot of fish.

At one point I was in fairly shallow water when something huge and grey started to swim by me. I turned my head quickly thinking it was a shark and my adrenalin spiked as this creature swam past me about 10 feet away. It was a dugong! This sea cow was probably 12 feet long and 3-4 feet wide. S/he was swimming quickly and by the time I lifted my head to shout to the others and stick my head back in the water, I could just see her dropping off the shallow shelf down deep and out of sight. Wow! We knew they were about, but it was still a surprise to see one.

After our snorkel, lunch, and a short nap, we visited the little island of Awai with the two families. The families came to the beach to meet and greet us. All were dressed up in their Sunday clothes. We were given a tour of their village which was very orderly and neat, quite a contrast from the one we had visited in Revelieu Bay.

As we were about to leave the village, one of the men showed us fishing buoy that had washed ashore. It looked like a plastic mushroom, little space ship. Fisherman set these out on nets that float about. The units are pretty sophisticated and are costly. When the fishing boats come to retrieve a buoy and get within proximity of where they think it will be, they locate the gps signal it sends off and if they are in range, remotely switch on the diode lights inside the mushroom. There is a solar panel that charges a battery which in turn lights ups the buoy so the fisherman can find the nets.

The guys examined the unit and were asked if it could be converted to a light that would work in a house? Russ, Brian, and Tom said they would work on it and carried the unit back to the boat. Claudia, Kim, Emily, and I meandered back picking up little shells and seeds to use as markers for the Bingo game the following day. We picked up quite a few not knowing how many we would actually need.

Claudia came over late in the day and we made corn tortillas for tacos. We had yet another feast, and played a grudge match of Baja Rummy. Claudia and I lost again!

Monday, July 25, 2011 - Bingo or Bust

We were all in our dinghies at 8:30 and motoring across to Avok Island. We were loaded with prizes and a Bingo game. As we got close to the Avok there was circling reef and the tide was low. It didn't look passable. We waited to see if anyone would spot us and lead us in. Sure enough, a man in a dugout poled his way across the reef towards us.

It was too shallow for us to use our outboard motors without risking damage, so we lifted the motors, stood up and hand paddled and poled the dinks across the reef. We were met on shore by about half a dozen people.

Word spread fast that we had arrived. The men who greeted us took us to a large green area beyond the beach that had a cement stage. The floor was clean and accommodated about 50 children and several adults. Emily from Emily Grace started of the fun, but demonstrating how to make origami "fortune tellers". She had enough origami paper for about a dozen children to fold and participate with her. We used to call them cootie catchers when I was kid.

The kids loved it. When she had finished with her activity, it was time for Bingo, but we had to do some teaching first. First I taught them the song BINGO, only to find out that they already knew a similar version of it and caught on very fast. They wanted to keep singing the song over and over. I quickly lost my voice.

Then we passed out the bingo cards. First I had to teach them the quiet sign and raised my had and explained that I was losing my voice and could not talk over all of their talking. By this time we had 70-80 people on and around the stage. Most of the smaller children were sitting cross legged on the stage with just enough room to put a bingo card in front of them. It was obvious that we did not have enough markers for this huge crowd, so Emily and several of the local men quickly gathered pebbles for the crowd. Some of the older boys chose to play Frisbee with Brian and Russ. Tom was busy taking photos of the whole event.

With some practice we were all playing Bingo! What a sight! Everyone was so engaged and having fun. Even the adults were playing. Some of the men were trying to stand off to the side acting like this may have been a sissy game. There arms were crossed and the bingo cards were on the ground by their feet. The first person to get a Bingo was one of the men, and he was so excited! Russ had brought some D-celled batteries and we had two West Marine over-the-shoulder insulated beer can carriers we had gotten during the Baja Ha Ha. The beer carriers turned out to be perfect sheaths for their bush knives!

We just kept playing the same cards until all of the numbers were finally called and everyone somewhere along the line got a bingo. Claudia and Emily called the numbers and Kim and I checked the Bingos and helped the kids. It took over two hours! After the first Bingo, Russ set up the prize shop. The excitement was incredible. When someone got a Bingo, they took their markers and bingo card to Russ who let them select a prize.

The ladies wanted to play another game and we had to beg off as we had run through almost all of the prizes and it was after lunch and all of us were getting hungry and ready to return to the boat. As we left the village, there were kids playing Frisbee, blowing whistles, playing with balloons, blowing bubbles, girls with hair bands, ladies with earrings and necklaces, men with plastic containers, bush knife sheaths, and D cell batteries. What a lot of fun we all had.

Russ and I returned to our boats, had lunch, and got on our dive gear. Both Brian and Claudia are dive masters and were excited that we had gotten certified. They wanted to get us back in the water and diving. We went back to the reef we had snorkeled on the day before and took a lovely, leisurely dive. The sun was out and the sky was blue. The colors of the coral were vivid and the water clarity was about 100 feet. Quite nice. We saw a giant yellow nudibranch, a school of something that looked like barracuda, a sea turtle, and two giant clams that were wedged open. The clams were probably 2 feet wide. Each of the clams had different colors of lip from yellow, green and brown to aqua, blue, and black.

By the time we finished our dive, we were exhausted, but decided to dine together again and convert the left over taco fixings into a taco salad. Claudia made sone fresh cornbread. By 7:30 we were all ready to hit the sack. It had been a busy day and we were exhausted. No cards tonight.

Brian had been recruited to do a fixit workshop on a neighboring island the following morning and the boat would be picking Claudia and him up at 8:00 the following morning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - Potluck tonight

The day isn't over as I finish this log, but it's time to get it posted. Brian and Claudia left early for their workshop. I've organized a potluck on Worrall Wind tonight with the four boats in our anchorage, WW, Skylight, Emily Grace, and Karina with Philip and Leslie. Russ is over at Emily Grace doing chart talk with Tom, and I need to get busy making spaghetti sauce and a dessert.

The weather forecast looks pretty dismal for the next couple of days with strong winds and some significant rain starting tomorrow. So we will just hunker down here a few more days before we head north and take leave of our friends. It's been fun!

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leaving Port Vila and Internet Land

Looks like we've worn out our welcome.  Little did we know when we were invited for lunch that we would be the lunch!  Just Kidding.

Just a note to let everyone know we are leaving Port Vila this afternoon and heading for the island of Epi.  We will have no Internet service for the next couple of weeks, so please send important correspondence to our sail mail address.

We went on an all day Island tour on Monday and had a great time.  The Ni-vans we have had contacts with are lovely people.  Once we got out of Port Vila, the potholed roads - known locally as corruption roads, turned into a beautiful 2 lane highway all around the island.  Our guide made sure to credit the countries and primarily America for building the road and paying for its maintenance.  We were glad that America's 65 million is actually being used appropriately, but question our foreign aid when we have to borrow China to pay our bills. China on its own is quite an investor in Vanuatu along with Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

As we leave Port Vila, we will be taking bags of school supplies north that have been donated by a local person.
We'll send periodic updates via the radio.  Follow our track on Find Me Spot.

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on the Sailing Vessel Worrall Wind

Friday, July 15, 2011

Port Vila - The City

Port Vila is a bustling little capital city here in Melanesia.  Tour boats from Australia routinely stop here, disgorging more passengers than there are local residents.  The Lonely Planet tour book is kinder on Port Vila's appearance than we have observed.  It's not a pretty-well kept city, but a duty free pitstop for large cruising boats.   The mural above is of days past or might possibly still be seen in villages in remote islands.  

Today, the men wear western dress and the women are clad in loose fitting, missionary coverups with some island flare, mostly in the way of fluttering scallops reminiscent of grass skirts.  The seamstress business seems to be thriving.  

The city in general is not well maintained (roads, sidewalks, garbage pickup, litter) and pollution from burning and vehicles is thick.  We have heard the same excuse for litter here as we heard in American Samoa.  "The people are used to throwing peels, skins, etc on the ground after eating because traditional foods are biodegradable." thus it's reasonable for them to continue throwing trash on the ground.  Education and incentive is lacking.

What we noticed is that there are few public receptacles for trash and garbage which would be a real encouragement to locals to properly dispose of their trash.   We tuck our garbage in our backpack and often have to walk miles before we can find a legitimate place to drop it.  The locals just toss it on the ground.   Too bad.  Vanuatu is trying to be very accommodating to tourists, but the lack of good trash maintenance is very distracting.
This is the first city that we have been in since French Polynesia where driving occurs on the right side of the road as we are used to it in America.  After driving so much in New Zealand with the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car and driving on the left, the cars and traffic actually looked a little odd to us.  The roads are potholed and in very poor repair.  We read in the local paper here that America has given Vanuatu over 65 million dollars for road maintenance.  The USA built the first road around the island during World War II.  We're curious where the road maintenance dollars are going now, and think our congressional leaders ought to be as well.  Seems odd that America pays for road maintenance here.

The people we have met are generally friendly. We took the walking tour around town and enjoyed the open market and museum the best.  Yams are definitely a staple of the islands.  Food in the grocery stores and restaurants is pretty pricey.  We've eaten out twice for a modest dinner and it has cost us over $50.00 each time.  Two bags of groceries, mostly perishables from the grocery store was $116.00.  So yams look pretty good, especially if you are on a tight budget.  There is a lot of filling nutrients in a yam for the vatu.
Yams in a Basket, 600 Vatu, about $7.00
We loved seeing the cafeteria style lunches being served in the market.  Cooked food was laid out on banana leaf covered tables then wrapped in banana leaves to go.  Ladies with pandanus and bamboo-like switches swished constantly over the food to keep flies from landing.

Chicken on a bed of taro leaves and yams

Meals wrapped in biodegradable packaging

Vanuatu Kava is reportedly more potent here than in any other island country.  We have seen little root, but a lot of powder for sale, probably for tourist consumption more than anything.

 One of the most interesting items for sale were the fruit bats.  Guess they are good to grill and are inexpensive enough for the locals to buy.  The traditional way of preparing them is to stuff them into fat bamboo shoots and grill over an open fire.  Not even sure they are skinned first.

We preferred the French pasteries.  These could definitely be the end to our waistline!
Breakfast - Better than Bats, but appx. $30.00 (6 bats)

While we eat, we enjoy watching the people and reading the local newspaper which is a mixture of English, French, and Bislama languages.  Sometimes you can almost think you understand it.
Our trip to the museum was very informative.  We enjoyed the music, sand art,

Finger is never removed from sand..one continuous line over line.

 artifacts (masks, drums, statues, pottery, baskets, etc.)
and the hour long video of the land diving (original bungie jumpers) in Pentecost.  Unfortunately, we won't get to see that activity in person as the season for this ritual activity has past.  It looks brutal.  Men and boys dive off of high towers with vines around their legs.  The vines are measured to just stop before the men break their necks.

We applied for our Australian Visa's yesterday at the Australian High Commission.  These should be ready for us early next week.  When we have these in hand, we will be leaving Port Vila for northern islands.  A local donor dropped off a lot of school supplies in bags at Yacht World's offices.  We are taking several bags with us to the northern islands when we leave.

Tomorrow, we are taking a tour via a van around the island to see some cultural activities and do some snorkeling.  Hope the weather gets better.  It's been overcast with clouds and smoke since we have been here.  It rained last night.  Hopefully, the sun will come out tomorrow!

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on S/V Worrall Wind

Monday, July 11, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Arrived in Port Vila

July 11, 2011, UTC 0800/1900

Latitude: S 17 44.854
Longitude: E 168 18.263

We arrived safely today in the Capital City of the Vanuatu Islands, Port Vila on Efate. Had a lovely, uneventful sail, and arrived before the big waves that are pushing up from the south. Hope to connect to the Internet tomorrow. We will probably be here for at least 4-5 days, maybe longer. It's a bit of a cultural shock after being in rural islands the past few weeks.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - On the Way to Port Vila

July 10, 2011, UTC 0630/1730
Latitude: S 18 42.049
Longitude: E 168 50.263

Left Tanna early this morning,  Enjoyed a beautiful dawn as we sailed away from Mt. Yasura.  We have decided to bypass Erromango and head straight for Port Vila. The weather, wind, waves are lovely and just want to take advantage of the good sailing under a waxing moon. We should arrive tomorrow morning.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on SV Worrall Wind

Vanuatu - Tanna - Mt. Yasura Volcano

Worrall Wind Update from Tanna, Vanuatu
Tanna - Mt. Yasura , Volcano

From our anchorage at Port Resolution on the Island of Tanna, we can see and sometimes hear the eruptions form Mt. Yasura. Plumes of white and black smoke tower above the ridge, and there are occasionally and distant wumpf! On our first morning here, Tuesday, July 5, I got up around 4:00 a.m., having crashed the night before at 7:30 p.m. after our sail from Anatom.

I looked out the pilothouse in the pre-dawn hour, and there was a glowing cloud of apricot orange looming above the ridge. It changed colors with varying degrees of reds and yellows periodically as the volcano rested and erupted, rested and erupted. It was fascinating to watch. We planned to visit the volcano while staying in this anchorage. Mt. Yasura is the primary attraction. We were both nervous and excited about the prospect, as we knew we would be able to get fairly close, closer than we would be allowed anywhere in the states to an active volcano.

We made arrangements to visit the volcano on Thursday, July 7, arriving at the rim before dark but close to sunset so that we could view the volcano from both day and night. The one hour 4x4 truck ride to the volcano was an experience in itself. I felt like a rag doll being tossed around inside the truck as we negotiated the most awful road you can imagine. There were huge ruts, drop aways, and steep inclines. I was glad to be sandwiched in the cab between the driver and Russ so that at least I was not hitting any metal surfaces as we bumped along.

I can hardly wait to post some of the pictures we took while we were visiting the volcano. The experience was spectacular, mesmerizing, and terrifying. We climbed up a steep trail to the outer rim of the crater, where there is a flattened area where visitors congregate. There is an activity number given to the volcano from 1-4. Anything over a 2 is too active and volacano viewing is shut down until the volcano, Mt Yasur, quiets down. The week before our arrival, Yasur had been closed.

While we visited it was considered a strong 2, almost a 3. Even during a 1 or 2, an unexpected blast or increase of activity cannot be ruled out and it is a very risky business. The blasts from the volcano were less than a minute apart. Molten lava in the form of strings, plops, and boulders were being thrown high above the crater's rim. Within the first five minutes that we were there, there was a particularly large explosion that shot up hundreds of meters above our heads and the volcanic debris was coming our way. Everyone started to panic not sure which way to turn. When you are looking up and seeing these big boulders flying overhead, it is hard to determine to how to get out of their way.

Our guide told us not to run, but to keep looking up and carefully step out of the way! Right! One glowing rock the size of a double oven made a huge thwump behind us, halfway down and on the side of the trail that we had just hiked up. Boy that got everyone's attention and notched up our anxiety. Some locals decided to start a bonfire with it.

I was duly terrified. Some of the tourists were having their pictures taken with the volcano erupting behind them. There wasn't anyway, we were going to turn our backs on this monster if we had to be watching for flying debris. One of the eruptions just before sunset was like a nuclear explosion and the grey black smoke rose like a mushroom cloud. 

When we looked up, we saw the most amazing sight! The sun shining through the smoke illuminated a halo like a smoke ring. We don't know what the scientific explanation is for this phenomenon. I took a picture of the ring and have showed it to local people who all believe that it is some sort of sign from the god Yasura.

Our driver/guide said that the last time he saw this ring several years ago, an old man in his village died. He was sure it was a bad omen and that someone else might die. I looked at him, and asked, "David, are you saying that no old men or other people in your village have died since then?" He looked at me quizzically. "No, other people have died since then," he admitted, but he was still sure it was a bad sign. Another man we showed the photo to thought it was a good sign for good weather, and he pointed to the blue skies we were having on the day we showed him the photo as proof of the sign.
When the sun dropped below the horizon, the eruptions became more brilliant against the inky blackness of the night and the crater. There are two higher trails on either side of the flat perimeter for better viewing of the inside of the crater.

 Originally, our guide was going to have us walk up the left hand trail, but as most of the debris seemed to be aimed at that side, he took us up the right hand side to look down. There were probably 30 tourists on the rim.  One explosion was so huge and terrifying I was frozen and couldn't take photos as I was scanning overhead for flying debris. We could smell the blast and feel the tremendous heat against our skin. Our guide encouraged us hurry up and to take our photos so that we could move away from this side as it was not safe either.

We took some video footage and photos and hiked back down to the flat part of the outer rim and then down towards the truck. Wow Wow Wow! That was definitely worth the price of admission.

Exploring the Villages
During the days between Tuesday and Thursday evening, we explored
neighboring villages around the bay where we are anchored. The Melanesian people here resemble the indigenous people of Fiji, although it appears that many of them have lighter hair. Most, however, have very dark skin and would most likely be identified by the casual observer as African. The Ni-Vans (the indigenous people of Vanuatu), speak English which they have learned in their schools; some speak better French than English; and all speak a pidgin English called Bislama. Every island also has multiple internal languages and without Bislama or English, the people would not be able to speak with one another.

Port Resolution has one four wheel, rutted road leading out of it to the main island town in Lenakel on the opposite side of the island. Getting to Lenakel takes three hours one way of torturous bumping along in truck. We were delighted to check in at Anatom as cruisers who check in here at Port Resolution usually must take this round trip, 6 hour ride to Lenakel to present their papers for check in.

When we checked in at Anatom, we cleared quarantine and paid our fee. Customs could clear us, but not collect the Vatu $. We were told we would have to pay that in Lenakel, but they would send someone over to Port Resolution, and we would not have to make the ride over. Immigration came to Anatom the day before we left and stamped our passports, but the agent could not take our Vatu because he had forgotten his receipt book. To keep corruption down, each agency collects their own fee and must deliver a receipt with a registration number on it. The people are very nice but not very organized.

The Customs man in Anatom said he would make arrangements for customs and immigration to come to Port Resolution for us. We thanked him, but had little confidence that this would actually happen, and decided that if they did not come across the mountain from Lenekal we would just pay our Vatu when we got to the capital city of Port Villa on the Island of Efate.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - Checking into Tanna
Tuesday morning about 10:00 a.m. we took our dinghy to the island and hiked up to the Port Resolution "Yacht Club". It is an open air building that has a very casual restaurant (you let them know a day in advance that you are coming and what meal you would like to eat and they will fix it for you). Otherwise, they serve cold beer and that's about it. They have a couple of bungalows (burres) to rent. 

There was an NZed family and asingle man at the little resort. There are only a couple of other boats in the bay, so the tourist population here is quite sparse. The father of the little family that was at the resort had crewed on a yacht from NZ and his wife and children had come over to visit with him before all of them returned to NZ.

 We brought over our customs and immigration paperwork and asked when the customs man would be coming.  Both the yacht club manager and the former crew member laughed and said they rarely come to Port Resolution and that we would have to go Lenekal. The Yacht Club manager said that the officials were supposed to come on Thursdays, but he had yet to see them this season.

Well, Okay! We kind of figured this would happen. We were ready for plan B which was to pay up in Port Villa. Within ten minutes of our arrival and before the laughter and discussion of the disorganization had died down, the Yacht Club manager swung his head through the window and exclaimed, "I can't believe it; customs and immigration are here!"

Well, Okay! Back to plan A. By 10:30 a.m. in the morning we had paid our fees and were completely checked in and paid up. Turns out that there was a super yacht with paying passengers that arrived during the night and they had called in requesting a visitation. We were "lucky" due to the other ship and readilly took advantage of it.

For other yachts coming this way, luck can go either way. Although to be fair, quarantine, customs, and immigration, returned on Thursday when they were scheduled...but guess what? There was another super yacht in the harbor. We would like to give some sage advice here, but there isn't any. Just be prepared to be flexible if you sail here, but save yourself a lot of grief by bringing Vatu with you.
There is no place to get Vatu here and you cannot pay with credit cards or any other currency. When we left Fiji, we had about 18,000 Vatu ($200) which has been just about right for clearing in quarantine, customs, immigration, buying some vegetables, and paying for a trip to the Volcano. Another yacht came in Thursday night and went to Lenakel to check in on Friday and were exchanging another $100 for us.

They left at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and didn't return until 7:30 p.m. that night. (Ordinarily, the truck returns about 2:00 p.m in the afternoon). Friday is payday and the truck bed was packed with people including the cruisers and the NZed Family going home. People were dropped at the airport, picked up checks, went to the bank, customs, immigration, shopped, etc. On the way back, the truck was still full of people, but the truck bed also had cargo. Apparently at one point, everyone had to get out of the truck and push the truck when it got stuck. It was a long and tiring day for everyone. So maybe some good adivce for cruisers is don't try to check in at Tanna on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Originally, our cruising friends from Island Sonata, Ruth and Kelvin, were planning on returning early in the afternoon and then we were all going to the John Frum religious service in Sulphur Bay. Jon Frum "from America" is a man who came "emerged" from the sea to the islands many years ago prior to World War II. The people believed he was a reincarnation of an ancient diety, and would one day return to their island with an abundance of wealth for them. They await the "second coming of Jon Frum.
World War II brought to the island, Americans, many of whom were black like they are", in possession of apparent wealth fueling the fire of this "cargo cult" that Jon Frum would indeed return. From the WWII ambulances and medical center, they liked the red flag with the white cross and adopted that as their official symbol. We thought it was a Swiss flag.

The people who subscribe to this religion believe that Jon Frum told them to throw away their money, kill their pigs, and leave their gardens uncared for (sounds like another man-made-god religion that justifies being lazy and waiting for something). There is evidence on the island of those who subscribe to this creed and evidence of those who do not. The Jon Frummers are also the group of people that express themselves with less inhibitions with song, dance, and music. Their religious "services" are on Friday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning with continuous song, dance, and music. Sounds like a party! The Frummers welcome visitors and we were looking forward to attending.
However, the truck that was supposed to take us on Friday evening did not return from Tanna until very late as previously explained. The driver was too exhausted to take us anywhere, so we had to miss the party. We were disappointed, but this is Vanuatu and such is the fabric of cruising. Don't worry, be happy, go with the flow.

A Day at School
Yesterday, Friday, July 8, we visited the Port Resolution School and visited the middle school where we gave a geography and science lesson to the students. Science is definitely lacking in the school curriculum here. We talked about planets, and informed the teacher and children that there are only 8 planets. Scientists have decided that Pluto is no longer considered a planet.

So instead of saying, My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles, which is a way to remember the names of the planets in order from the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We created a new way for them to memorize, My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Nuapue (coconuts). We told them about tectonic plates, volcanoes and the Pacific Ring of Fire. The students were raptly attentive. I think I like being a drop in, drop out teacher. Fun to teach when students are attentive, and then we say emam, which means goodbye in their local language.

We have met some very lovely people here. They have been very generous trading with us. They have given us bread, fruit, vegetables, and baskets in exchange for Vatu, D cell batteries, gasoline, air tight containers, t-shirts, shoes, eyeglasses. We took school supplies to the school. These people have very little. Electricity is scant and run by a few sputtering generators. Clothing is a wonderful trade or gift item, especially children's clothing. Solar powered lights are also very much appreciated. Sometimes the people will ask you for things that you have that you do not want to give them, like your "Ipod" or "DVD" player. "I'm sorry, but I do not wish to part with this. It is mine." For the most part, the people are very shy and respectful, but there are some who may think we are from the land of Jon Frum bringing them the wealth they have been foretold.

Leaving Tomorrow for Eeromango and Port Villa on Efate
Today is our last day in Tanna. We are finishing up little projects, printing off photos for people, and we are going to hide a geocache here at Port Resolution. There was a geocache (earth cache) at the Volcano that we will log, but we wanted one that was a place that travel bugs could be left and retrieved. We are leaving Cruising 1 travel bug here and hope another cruiser will pick him up and carry him on.
It's a 55 mile trip from here to Eeromango, and then another 80 miles to Efate. We currently intend to spend a night at Eeromango before pushing on to Efate and Port Villa.

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on S/V Worrall Wind.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Happy 4th of July

Volcano Cloud in the Background
Date: July 4, 2011
UTC/Local Times: 0500/1700

Latitude: S 19 31.522
Longitude: E 169 29.760

It is late afternoon, and we have just arrived in beautiful bay called Port Resolution on Tanna Island in the Vanuatu Islands. We spent over a week at Anatom Island and were able to go ashore due to weather (wind and rain) only 3 times, twice to the main island and once to an outer island called Mystery Island that we had all to ourselves, long white beaches, coconut palms, blue lagoons, and sea turtles.
Mystery Island - Across lagoon from Anatom

We made some new yachtie friends, Derek and Bella from Australia on the sailing vessel Pandana. They are veteran cruisers having been to Vanuatu, Papa New Guinea, Solomons, and other ports of call in Melanesia. We spent a couple of evenings with them including my birthday. They brought over beer they had brewed and some flowers from the island. It was very lovely. Last night we bid them good-bye and hope to catch up with them at another anchorage. They were generous in sharing waypoints, tracks, guidance, and charts with us.

It was difficult to get out of bed by 4:30 this morning, but we got ourselves ready and pulled up the anchor around 5:30 a.m. just so that we had enough light to follow our tracks and get a visual on the reefs on either side. Our ride over was pretty nice today. For most of the day we had blue sky with some clouds, 10-15 knots of wind, 1 -2 meter following seas and a nice broad to full run doing about 4.5-6.0 knots. It took us a little over 9 hours to make the 50 mile run. In the distance as we approached the island, we could see the volcano periodically sending up dark plumes of smoke. This will be the closest thing we get to Fourth of July Fireworks this year. The way points that we had brought us safely right into the bay. We are anchored in about 15 feet of water with a sand and mud bottom, sharing the anchorage with 3 other boats, two sail boats and one power boat.

We are glad to be here and look forward to doing some exploring and visiting the volcano. Hope all of our American family and friends have a great Fourth of July.

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on S/V Worrall Wind.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Birthday in Vanuatu

Hello from Vanuatu. We have been anchored off Anatom Island for one week, having gone into shore only twice as the weather has been windy and rainy. One of our two Dell's suffered a disk error the other day and we could not fix it. So we had to pull out our backup computer (brand new loaded Dell) and are now working off of that until we can get the other Dell fixed. Hopefully, between now and the fix, nothing happens to this computer. There is a bit of terror associated with each keystroke less we do something that would knock this computer out too and we would be without our navigation system, radar and chart plotter.

It is quite lonely here with no access to the Internet. We feel very unplugged and have no idea what's going on in the world beyond this little island. Please drop us a short note to our sailmail address (not our gmail address) and let us know what's happening and how you are so we don't have to worry about you. It may be weeks before we have any Internet accessibility. We are talking very REMOTE and primitive. The last act of cannibalism on these islands was in 1969, the year Russ and I got married. Yipes, not that long ago!

Since our computer went down, I have had to reconstruct our address list. I'm not sure I got the one to the blogspot right. Please check worrallwind.blogspot.com to see if this entry got posted and let me know. Thank you.

Today is my birthday and there aren't enough candles on board for my cake.
Here's a little birthday poem I wrote today while it rained.

Happy Birthday to me! I am now a young 63!
I may no longer be the youngster I was at 62
But still young enough to enjoy Vanuatu.

It's been another busy year since my last birthday
Right out the chute, it was Abby and Neal's Wedding Day.
After three weeks of celebration, family, and home
We headed back to the Pacific to continue our roam.

We sailed from Tahiti to an atoll called Suwarrow
We stayed in paradise with no rainy tomorrow.
Alas to Samoa and Tonga we finally did sail
Where we snorkeled coral gardens and swam with a whale.

As the days grew longer, we blew to the west
And in Fiji, trenched Worrall Wind for a seasonal rest.
We flew to New Zealand and lived on the land
Traveling every direction in a little camper van.

We saw fjords, sounds, penguins and 92
of 101 things Kiwis Must Do.
As the cyclone and wet season came to an end
We returned to Fiji to awaken Worrall Wind, our faithful old friend.

Between raising her sails and cleaning the mold that seemed to thrive,
We took some time to learn to dive.
Now we can descend below the waves
To explore brilliant sea life and to peak into caves.

We sailed away from Fiji, each with heavy heart.
The friendly people were hard for us to part.
We love wherever our anchor is set,
But these were the loveliest people we have ever met.
Vinaka Vakalevu Fiji.

So we blew to Vanuatu
while I was still 62.
On Anatom Island our anchor has set.
Some of the nicest people we have ever met!

More palm trees, blue water and friendly faces.
Come explore me, call these exotic new places.
Beside me is my love and soul mate Russ.
In tempest tossed waters, he has courage for both of us.

Happy Birthday to Me.
I am a young 63.
How will this year unfold for me?

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind