We left Tanna heading towards Port Vila and points north. We needed to stop in Port Vila to extend our visa for Vanuatu before heading north and also apply for our visa for Australia. We would then purchase whatever we needed to get us through the outer islands as stores are very limited in Vanuatu.
We spent a busy week in Port Vila, filling our propane tank, purchasing duty free liquor and fuel and buying Vanuatu beef and veggies.
We quickly moved on to the anchorages when all the paperwork was completed and our first stop was Havana Harbor. This is where the US parked the battle fleet during the war. It is quite a large harbor and we enjoyed our stay, visiting with the islanders and getting the first look at a dugong (like a manatee in Florida). We also learned a little Bislama - this is the local language that is used between villages and islands. Each island and in some cases villages have their own local language but they all share Bislama.
As you can see it was a challenge to learn Bislama and communicate if the locals did not speak English. Those that spoke English did mix in a bit of Bislama so you still had to listen real hard to understand what they said.
We then moved on from Havana Harbor heading to Epi - Lamen Bay. This was to be a highlight as here they have a dugong that is very friendly and allows you to swim with him and touch him as he comes up for air. For those that do not know what a dugong is, it is a sea mammal that is in many of the islands of the South Pacific. Quite similar to a manatee. The major difference being his tail which looks more like a whale's tail.
Unfortunately I could not get a picture of this dugong as we do not have an underwater camera that is working properly, but Rick enjoyed a visit with this fellow. We were not sure if a visit was going to happen as the dugong does leave the bay when big ships arrive and while we were there several freighters and a cruise ship were in and out.
Luckily as we were about to pull up the anchor another cruiser spotted the dugong and off Rick went to see this creature in person. He was able to swim with him and even pet him as he came up for air. A memory that will last a lifetime.
It was now time for us to leave this wonderful location and move on to another island group to see more of the wonders of Vanuatu. We leave this island watching the locals as they return home from working their gardens on another island.
We are now off to the Maskelyne Islands - an area that is just south of Malakula. Hopefully you can find these locations on the map