Au Revoir Port Vila, Tank Yu Tumas! By Brian

Sometimes you just need a break. A break from what you may ask? Isn’t this whole trip a break? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

You see, this cruising season has been very intense for Delos and her crew. I’d say we really haven’t done much “cruising” since leaving New Zealand over 3 months ago. We’ve done a whole heap of adventure seeking and just happen to be traveling by sailboat. We’ve sailed the hell out of Delos. Trips that would have taken 2 days using the motor in light winds turn into lovely 5 day drifters.

Our motto this year has been do the opposite. When most boats sail west we sail east. When people are talking about sailing downwind we go upwind. 5 knots of breeze? No worries, it will just take longer. No cruising guide? Nothing mentioned in Lonely Planet? We’re there. Natives bearing machetes and malaria? We have smiles and Doxycycline. We’ve had tough beats upwind. Not comfortable. We’ve had surf too big to land the dinghy, so we swim in. We’ve been in anchorages so rocky and rolly I wake up and think we must be sailing, only to find out that we’re not going anywhere. For a few days on Tanna the SE trades disappeared leaving a Westerly that covered Delos in an inch of volcanic ash. It was hot, humid, and muggy but still we couldn’t open the hatches to let in even a peep of fresh breeze. The payoff for this has been in spades however. We’ve seen and experienced some ridiculous things over the past few months and have cherished every second. But it can sometimes be exhausting.

So we took a break. Call it mid-semester, mid-season, halftime, whatever you like. We still have 3 months to go and need to stay fresh for the second half. We parked Delos in the calm, lake-like lagoon that is Port Vila. We ate food that someone else cooked, enjoyed daily trips to Au Bon Marche for French cheese (flown in daily), and ate as much fresh lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower as we could bear from the farmers market. We basked in free internet (on the boat even) and watched countless terrible movies, which by the way are all bootlegged copies for $5. I drank Cafe Mocha’s every afternoon and we all filled our bellies with baguettes. We even tried, and failed, to get caught up on our blog posts.

But this morning after two weeks of idle laziness the Northern islands of Vanuatu beckoned. We started taking our malaria prevention meds, pulled up the hook, and tacked out of the harbor under sunny blue skies and a wonderful 7 knot westerly that’s supposed to stick around for a day or so.

We’re sailing North and haven’t picked a destination yet. We’ll see what island we’re closest too when the sun rises.