|Most visiting yachts arriving from the south or east make landfall in Port Vila on Efate Island. Port Vila is a small but modern city by island standards. It is the capital of Vanuatu and the only place with connecting international flights making it the primary place for crew changes and visitor rendezvous.|
Vanuatu was expensive by our standards after many months in New Zealand and Fiji. Beer and spirits are particularly expensive and it makes sense to stock up duty free from your departure port. Fuel is also steep but we know several boats that bought duty free as they were leaving Port Vila even though they weren't checking out of the country.
Food and local goods are very reasonable and services are inexpensive. There is not a lot of yacht services at present. There are good restaurants with reasonable prices. Aundreas of Impetus selects his Coconut crab for dinner. Hard to tell who will eat who.
On the north side of Efate is Havana Harbor. It is a large bay enclosed by islands offering reasonable protection. On the shore of one of the anchroages is a plane wreck. The plane was landed on the nearby road after experiencing difficulties. Damage prevented salvage so tit was dragged toward the water to create a dive site. It made it as far as the beach. Rune of Storm Foglen practices wing walking.
We sailed next to Epi island landing in Revolieu Bay. This attractive bay offered good holding and protection except from the west. A reef extends form the south and there is a coral head on the inside near the reef. We heard from the locals that a Dugong with a calf was around but we searched in vane. A Dugong is like a Florida Manatee but with a tail like a whale rather than the beaver-like tail of the Manatee. We later landed in Laman Bay on the northern side of Epi to see the "friendly" Dugong. Two days of swimming with my camera yielded nothing. At this point I became convinced that the Dugong was related to Big Foot.
The locals of the village were friendly but shy. Their main source of income is cattle. Vanuatu beef is excellent. There is no disease effecting cattle in Vanuatu so they grow big and fast with no drugs or chemicals and it is their biggest export, primarily to Asia. It is cheap and delicious but only found for sale in towns with electricity and refrigeration.
As you visit each village you must call on the chief and ask for permission to anchor and swim or fish. You will find out if any activities are Tabu. Tabu places may be from religious or "Kustom" beliefs but more often it is for practical reasons. The intent is to prevent over-fishing or to protect endangered wildlife. It is very important to determine if there are Tabu activities before anyone onboard even goes swimming as ignoring these restrictions could be extremely offensive to the village.
We met Babe vacationing on Epi. He was taking a breather from his hectic movie career to relax in this vacation paradise. He said it was the best rooting he had found in the South Pacific. We couldn't argue with that.