It is about 450 miles from Musket Cove Fiji to the island of Tanna, Vanuatu. We had a good trip, unusually the wind was on the beam or often forward of the beam rather than behind us. It was also quite strong at times and we made good time. Vanuatu used to be called the New Hebrides, there are a total of 83 islands and Captain Cook was here in 1774. Uniquely the islands were once jointly administered by the French and the British. Apparently there are 110 local languages, but people mostly speak English or French and a sort of pidgin called Bislama. We arrived at Port Resolution (named after Cooks ship), a pretty Bay with black sand and hot springs on one side. At times you can see the glow of the Volcano Mount Yasur from the anchorage. The area was devastated by cyclone Pam in 2015 and World ARC has been working with the village by Port Resolution. We were given a list of what the village needed – this included 4 wheelbarrows, 3 guitars, Machetes , Various tools, fishing gear etc. We had a tour round the village and the surrounding area, they have beautiful gardens, flowers, then a trip to see the Volcano at sunset which was awesome. First you feel the pressure wave then you hear the thump and then see the shower of red lumps of lava shooting up in the air. Next day there was the official exchange of gifts with much ceremony and singing and dancing. We presented the various tools and things that had been requested, in return we received decorated bags and huge palm baskets of fruit and veg.
Next we sailed north to the island of Erromango where we stopped at a lovely anchorage called Dillons bay. We had meant to have a Potluck on the beach, but this turned into a meal in the village hall with most of the villagers, though we were allowed to provide some of the food. We were guided to the Cave of Skulls by David, who is building his “Yacht club” (a shack with lots of flags hung up and a Visitors book to sign), also a tour of the village. Then it was time to sail on North to the island of Efate, where we berthed stern to on the sea wall at Port Vila. Port Vila is a cosmopolitan busy town and the cruise ships go there. The Americans had a base at Efate during WW2 and the influence can still be seen. We went for a tour of the island, outside the town the many villages are largely traditional but they do mostly have electricity. We went to one Custom village where we saw displays of traditional crafts and law and even some firewalking.