After leaving Sweden over a year ago my travels has taken me to Australia and the trip with s/y Nekton sailing from Canada to Australia is over for this time , iam at the moment in Brisbane. We are anchored right in downtown, by the botanical gardens. After spending 7.5 months on the sea and pacific islands we are a bit shocked by the speed and size of the city..
As usual updates on this blog is slow, I wrote one blog entry for Nektons blog some time ago, im just copying that entry to this blog and adding a few pictures from various pacific islands. Now i have to work a bit here in Australia, make a little bit of money to continue the trip..
Fiji -> Vanuatu
As usual a lot of adventures have taken place since you last heard from us, Starting in Fiji, in Vuda point, a marina in the middle of nowhere with a daily burning hot desert sun and nightly mosquitos (maybe malarial) with no mercy. To this lovely place a few guests arrived to the boat Srogi, Daniel, Gosha and Pablo. They were going with Lukasz to Yasawa group, islands west of Viti Levu. Karol, Tobias and me (yes this is Henrik writing blog today, hello) were going traveling on our own on Viti Levu. Me and Karol head out together going south to Nadi, spend some days on the countryside with an Indian family we happened to meet. We head south to Kulukulu village south of Sigatoka and spend the night there planning to camp among the sand dunes but the weather got rough and we were invited to stay for free at an homestay.
Karol was leaving the next morning but I stayed to surf(Fiji's only beach break). Planning to stay for just a few days, but the small amount of money I brought is one day missing and I end up staying over a week working in the garden for food and shelter.
Returning to Vuda point to meet the boat a week later I'm happy to be back and hear about how the others spent their 10 days. Lukasz, and the guests had good times in the Yasawas and Mamanuca island groups. Karol and Tobias spent a nice time hitching around separately, staying in villages with people around Suva and the interior, but those stories are for them to tell and not me. We head for Lautoka to check out and say goodbye to Gosha and Pablo who were flying back to Canada. After a few sips of Bounty rum(Locally brewed, very very dangerous) Me, Karol and Pablo head out in the evening to see what a friday night in Lautoka(la vida loca) has to offer. We visit a few more or less fancy places until we decide it's time to go home, all was good and fun except it seemed like Pablo's hat had gone mysteriously missing.
Bye bye in the morning and we head out to open ocean where the waves were more uncomfortable than usual. Nekton is rocking back and forth for
3.5 days until we finally, 27th of october, arrive to Vanuatu, a beautiful island called Tanna (flaming lava and spitting kava).
We spend a couple of days in Port Resolution (named after captain Cooks ship which anchored there back in the days). It's a nice place, yes quite
amazing and people are friendly, we were given a lot of gifts, fruits and vegetables (plenty of cassava, a root cooked somewhat like a potato and tastes yummy)
One day we head for the Volcano, it's a bumpy 1.5 hour drive on the back of a pickup, the parking lot is just some 100 m from the top and stairs leading up to the smoking crater. There we stood at the crater watching Mt Yasur burp flaming hot lava up in the air and occasionally giving a thunder that would scare any action hero. Stayed until dusk to get most out of the natural firework and then finding the dark path back to the parking lot. Another 1.5 bumpy ride back on a road that probably has more holes than flat surfaces. One night we get the pleasure to try the local Kava with a village chief, in Vanuatu, especially in Tanna they prepare it a bit differently than Fiji. One or two persons chews the dry roots of the plant (Piper Methysticum) until it's completely mashed, then he spits the mash into a cloth, water is added, the cloth is squeezed carefully, ready to drink! As we were sitting around a hardly burning fire in the darkness listening to the strange throat and spitting sounds that our kava preparers were making we did feel a bit uneasy but when we were served we drank happily, the taste was nice(quite nice at least) and for sure kava in Vanuatu is about 10x stronger than in Fiji. In Fiji we could drink up to 30 cups in one night and only feel slight effects, here 3 were enough to give quite a spin.
Left for an overnight sail to Erromango, next island north. Spent some days there, rainy relaxed days and nights. Some fishing, some snorkeling. Visited a cave with human bones, spooky skulls, descendants from the time when people enjoyed eating human meat once in a while. Next stop was Port villa, the pumping heart of vanuatu (not too pumping thought) plenty of taxfree stores and resorts around the island, a lot of tourists. The market was nice but limited and surprisingly more expensive than the one in Fiji. Just a short stop there and we headed north west. Anchored in a quiet bay close to Port villa and next day managed to get a mooring for free outside a resort, the lines looked like spaghetti of sewing thread but it held for the night. Dressed ironically up with our fanciest clothes and had one beer at the resort together with all honeymooners(740 USD for one night on this resort wtf).
Moved on north to the small island of Nguna, where we went on a steep hike up an extinct volcano with a man named Shem and his kids. Once on the top the SE wind was blowing hard through the high grass and we enjoyed the view of Efate and Epi. The way down were almost steeper and we were all terrified of the wild cow! Shem and his kids prepared for a possible wild-(and certainly)-mad-cow attack with stones and sharp sticks but luckily we only saw tracks of the beast..
It was time to head back for Port villa cause Srogi and Daniel had to catch the plane back to Canada so we sailed back and prepared ourself for a big goodbye party. The following ingredients is a good recipe for a successful goodbyeparty-in-port-vila-soup:
3 Bags of taxfree booze, carefully sealed not to be opened before departure(successfully opened)
6 guys dancing on the boom of Nekton (Safety "danceline" attached)
2 bars(Voodobar, Elektrorock)
1 barefoot Daniel
1 rumour about a streetfight
X amount of Australian and PNG girls
1 lost flipflop
Bring to boil, add a few more beers, stir, ready to serve!
Our Crewmember since Niue, Tobias '2beers' was forced to leave us in Port villa due to visa problems for Australia(1 year holiday visa). When we left him on the dock in Port villa he had already found a cargo boat to sleep in for free and had started dating a market girl who was selling bananas and coconuts, we are sure he will be fine. So on the 14th of November we left Port villa early in the morning with Australia as next stop. We are now 6 days into the trip and have about 400 miles to go. Yesterday we caught a big Mahi mahi, measured 1.5 m. He was fighting, even after a shot with the speargun(to lift him onboard) in the head he was jumping like a furious rabbit overdosed on caffeine, first after 5 hits with the back of the machete his magnificent colors faded to white. And there was silence.
Now we'll have Mahi mahi for breakfast lunch and dinner for 4 days.
At the moment the wind is light.. we're moving about 3 knots.. But the Captain, the clouds, the stars and the weather forecast are promising wind this evening, so it will come for sure. Please, wish us wind without waves.
Sincerly Henrik 'Batman' Gard
By the way, the reason I'm writing this instead of Lukasz as usual, is because all the fish we've been eating since caught that Mahi mahi has turned Lukasz half into a fish! Believe it or not but his fingers are at the moment fins and gills are starting to appear. He has some problems typing on the keyboard. The reason I'm still remaining human might be because I'm from Scandinavia were we eat a lot of fish. Hopefully entering Australia will work out fine even with a merman as a captain.
Karol with Dorada