Well, there weren't any nibbles on the fishing lines yesterday afternoon, so that meant there wasn't any sushi for dinner. We did, however, settle for "boerewors on the braai", given the really light winds, accompanied by bacon, mash potatoes and baked beans. It was definitely a much needed "comfort meal" after Elaine got the biggest fright of her life late yesterday afternoon.
She'd decided to go for a nap, but then couldn't sleep. About ten minutes later she went back up to the saloon, but there was no sign of Roy. After checking below deck, then above deck, including the coach roof and still no sign of him anywhere, she started screaming for him. Still nothing. By then, in floods of tears, she realised the only alternative is that he'd gone overboard. It was her worst nightmare come true. Trying not to panic and think straight, she started both engines to turn Paw Paw around and commence the MOB search pattern. It was then that she heard Roy's voice wanting to know what on earth she was doing. Confused as to where he was, she then noticed his head sticking out of the starboard forepeak cabin - He'd decided to run the watermaker, something we never do on passage, and, with the noise, had not heard Elaine screaming his name. The relief was beyond words. Needless to say, it took a while to calm Elaine down. Lesson learnt - Check the starboard forepeak cabin before panicking!
After a stiff gin and tonic, again something we never do on passage, and the panic over, dinner went down like a treat. We were ready for our last night at sea and by 0530 this morning we were entering Mele Bay, where we bobbed until sunrise, before entering Port Vila and heading for the quarantine area.
It never ceases to amaze us the amount of junk information we read in various cruising guides or hear from other cruisers about a destination we have never visited. For one, we were told that the water is so dirty in Port Vila that we would definitely not be able to run our watermaker. Well, we've never seen clearer water than what we saw this morning. In a depth of 30' we could clearly see our chain and our anchor resting on the seabed while peeking over the bow. Then, we had been informed to contact Port Vila Radio to announce our arrival and await a visit from biosecurity before being allowed to head ashore to complete the officialdom process by visiting the customs and immigration offices in town. Well, the actual procedure was to dinghy to the commercial dock and visit the customs and biosecurity offices there, then head to town to the immigration office.
There was just one small problem when we arrived at the commercial dock - There was no way Elaine, the "official" captain, could actually get out of the dinghy to complete the procedures. When Roy went to the offices to inform them of the dilemma and ask whether he could do the clearing process, he was informed that the captain had to do it. They were kind enough, though, to inform him how to get Elaine ashore - We had to tie the dinghy alongside the pilot boat, climb on the pilot boat, then scramble over the pilot boat to access the concrete steps alongside the dock. With that our adventure of Vanuatu commenced.
We were also previously informed about the fresh produce we weren't allowed to bring into Vanuatu, as well as the alcohol limits enforced and that no foreign garbage could be landed here. Turns out biosecurity wasn't even remotely interested in what fresh produce or alcohol we had. They didn't even ask. They did, however, request that we please dispose of our foreign garbage in the specially allocated bins on shore. Sometimes we really have to wonder where these cruisers and guides get there information from.
Regardless, once we'd completed the necessary procedures, we enjoyed a light lunch at the Jungle Café, stopped in at Digicel to arrange our local data service, then headed back to Paw Paw to then move her to our allocated mooring ball. With a 23m mast, motoring under the 27m high cable running from Efate Island to Iririki Island on a rising tide was a little daunting, but we're safely moored now and enjoying a lazy evening aboard.