Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Sand Drawing at the National Cultural Centre

Sand Drawing, or sandroing in Bislama, is a traditional form of story telling in Vanuatu.  We had a chance to see it at the National Cultural Center in Port Vila.  As quote in Wikipedia, "it consists of a continuous meandering line on an imagined grid to produce a graceful, often symmetrical, composition of geometric patterns. The artist's implement is a single finger"

The start of the sand drawing

A grid to start

and then ...

a fish.

Tutorial time ...

Success !

Monday, 7 August 2017

Fireshow - and the kids get a turn too

Every Friday, the Beach Bar at Mele has some local performers put on a fireshow.  It was a good show and they were great with the kids.  I think they were a bit surprised that the kids done some fire stick twirling previously...

Benjamin fell asleep in the show so he did not get a turn ...

Okay, maybe not try this one at home

Johnathan's turn.  His instructor pondering if it was a good idea in the background.

Victoria's turn

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Efate - Underwater Photos

We usually do a bit of snorkelling where ever we are anchored but did more in Efate than elsewhere in Vanuatu. These are photos from our pretty anchorage off the north west tip of Lepepa Island and then from Mele Bay near the Hideaway Resort

I must have taken hundreds of clownfish photos.  They are quite territorial so will come up and challenge you if you swim down to see them

Peak-a-boo.  A clownfish watches from its usual habitat - the anemone.  They have an interesting symbiotic relationship with the anemone.

Clownfish checking out the strange snorkelmouthed fish intruding in his neighbourhood.

Lelepa is a little shallower than our normal anchorages.

Lelepa is a little shallower than our normal anchorages.


An interesting field of soft coral (or plant ?) and lots of bright blue fish

Soft coral

and more coral ...

Supper ?  We left him alone but the whiskers belong to a big lobster.

Lots and lots of sea turtles in Vanuatu.  They seem reluctant to pose for photos though,

Crown of Thornes killing coral

Crown of Thornes killing coral

At Mele we saw lots of the Christmas Tree worms.  It is the blue worm behind the fish that is trying to upstage the poor worms.

No lack of fish here at Mele

No lack of fish here at Mele.  A few tourists too. 

Trumpetfish and sea urchin

Giant clam

And lots more fish.

And lots more fish.

Not underwater but an American WWII fighter that was downed returning to Efate during the Solomons campaign by its own side. 

At anchor off Lelepa Island.  Pretty shallow and lots of coral.  Canada Day flag flying from the backstay. We went with the folks with the brand new catamaran in the photo. 

Sunset maintenance at the mast top.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Canada Day at Lelepa Island

As is Fluenta tradition, the big flag that flew on my retirement from the Canadian Forces (photos here from an old blog post) is hoisted for Canada Day.

Preparing for the hoist.  A team effort.

At anchor off Lelepa Island.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Maskelyne Islands - Dugongs, Giant Clams and Soap

After leaving Ambrym and waving good bye to Honey we sailed down to the very secure anchorage of Gaspard Bay near the Maskelyne Islands.  We spent a night there and spent some time watching the dugongs.  They can be elusive but we were fortunate to see one as soon as we had the anchor down.  We thought we may be able to swim with them but they were a bit too shy for that.

Right after we anchored in Gaspard Bay we met these fisherman and traded some gasoline for fresh vegetables.  The boats are made locally in the Maskelynes.

The great rig they have for bottom fishing
Off searching for the dugongs ...

When actually one came to the boat while I was swimming the other way.  We took hundreds of photos and this the closest we got to a dugong photo ...

What they actually look like (Wikipedia photo)
Securely anchored in Gaspard Bay
We then moved Fluenta from Gaspard Bay to outside the island of Lutes.  The trip took us longer than planned and we ended up breaking our rule about arriving into an unknown anchorage too late in the day.  We were delayed in leaving - watching the dugongs - and then due to the short distance we towed the dingy.  The conditions were considerably lumpier than expected so our speed was limited to reduce the loads on the dingy following along behind us.  The entrance to the anchorage near the village has a very narrow and shallow entrance so that was not realistic to try in the late afternoon.  We anchored between the island and the fringing reef but were challenged to get any good holding and were challenged/stressed by the poor light.  At one point we came the closest we have ever come to hitting a coral bommie and we were down to two feet under the keel.  The next morning we went out with the dingy armed with the handheld sounder and GPS to check the entrance to the village followed by an uneventful entrance to the anchorage beside the village.  Once inside the anchorage it is very secure with almost 360 degree protection by reef and mangrove.

We then moved to Lutes where the anchorage is even more secure as it is surrounded by mangrove and reef.   We went ahead with the dingy and the portable depth sounder to recce the route ahead of time.

Part of the fleet at Lutes

The kava bar the morning after.  Note the whale bone in the rafters.  Vanuatu kava is much stronger than Fijian kava.

Liz learning to weave mats

The village that held the memorial church service we attended.

We had lots of canoes come by to trade. These girls are part of the village volleyball team and were pretty happy to get a new volleyball.

Heading out to see the Ringi Te Suh giant clam sanctuary on a local boat.

except it was rather low tide so some pushing was required.

Giant clams !  They are protected in the sanctuary.

The kids checking out the clams with the guide.

And a clown fish

Bislma is so much fun to decipher.

At the Women's Co-op.

and the soap factory.

We anchored outside the mangroves so that we could have an early departure for Epi.  We were a long ways from the shore but when the wind died we became infested with these flies.

and our Vanuatu fishing drought was over as we caught two wahoo within a few minutes.