We ended up spending two days longer than we had intended to in Port Vila because we had to wait for our laundry. Had we known we'd have this delay, we could have just done the washing on board. Nevertheless, we took advantage of the extra time to complete our provisioning for the remainder of our stay in Vanuatu.
Roy was up early yesterday morning to head to "Traverso's" butchery for our meat supply. Then it was time for our breakfast of freshly baked French pastries before heading to the fresh produce market, where amongst other products we purchased the sweetest raspberries we've ever tasted, known as "tropical raspberries". Since we are prohibited from taking any animal or vegetable products, fresh or frozen, into New Caledonia, it meant some rather precise shopping so as not to be wasting food at a later date or worse, running out of supplies.
Once that was completed, we had a few hours to spare, so we went in search of one of our favourite French supermarkets, Leader Price, which we had discovered on one of the maps. Unfortunately, when we found it, it was all boarded up. Obviously outdated information and rather disappointing.By then it was time to collect our laundry, which we combined with settling our bill at Yachting World and enjoyed a sundowner at the "Waterfront Bar and Grill".
This morning, after breakfast ashore, we set sail for Havannah Harbour, particularly, to explore, one of UNESCO's World Heritage sites, Chief Roi Mata's Domain on the northwest side of Efate Island, listed since 2008. It comprises three sites connected to his life and death - His home at Mangaas, the location of his death on Lelepa Island and his place of his external rest on Artok Island (aka Eretoka or Hat Island).
According to the oral traditions of the central islands, passed down through the generations, Roi Mata arrived in Vanuatu in a canoe around 1600, following which he set out to conquer Efate and the neighbouring islands. He then introduced a matrilinear lineage system based on totemic lines of descendants between whom no war could be waged. This system is still in force more than 400 years later.
The French archaeologist, José Garanger, excavated the various sites in 1972 and discovered Chief Roi Mata's tomb together with skeletal remains of 47 other people on Artok Island and was able to confirm the local oral legend. We're spending the night just on the outskirts of this site, in the picturesque, Matapu Bay. This afternoon, however, we were invited to join the other yachts in the anchorage aboard Verakai (Amanda and Nigel) to either participate in the dinghy racing or join the race committee (aka stay on board to enjoy the company, drinks and snacks, but cheer on the racers). We opted for the latter and had a very enjoyable afternoon meeting all the folks on the various yachts which we've seen all season, but never had the opportunity to meet their occupants until now.