We first motored a bit northwest to get out of the ash path more quickly. Then we raised sail and were soon making a nice 7-8 knots north. I got out our hose and hooked up to our salt water deck pump. It took an hour or so to rinse most of the ash off. Based on our experience with Monserratt 10 years ago, we knew that it will take several rinses to get all the ash off the boat.
We had some brief exciting moments of fishing on our way north. First we hooked a big bill fish – I first heard the reel clicking, then it stopped. But, I looked and saw a big fin heading straight for our boat. Then he veered off and started pulling the line out quickly. Suddenly The line snapped! A moment later, I looked up to see a huge bill fish jump several times along the wave tops. He wasn’t happy with the lure stuck in his mouth I guess. A few minutes later, while I was putting away the hose. Another fish was reeling off the line again. Before I could get to the reel the end of the line jerked off the reel. Two lures in one afternoon was enough for me.
We chose to go east of the island Erramango – located between Tanna and Efate. The winds were stronger than forecasted and we wanted to time our arrival for after dawn the next morning. So, by going in the lee of the island we might slow down. This worked out well as we slowed to 6-7 knots. Once we got to the NE corner, I was hoping the winds would clock to the SW so we could make Port Vila in a single tack. For once, the winds did exactly as forecasted and actually clocked within moments of our needing to turn. We had a perfect run with lighter winds and calm seas the rest of the night. And, we had a full moon to help light the way. It doesn’t get much better than that folks!
Port Vila is the most populated port in Vanuatu. They have a major town with actual paved roads and walk ways. There’s a market, two big grocery stores, lots of restaurants and gift stores, duty-free shops, and a variety of marine services available. We were particularly interested in the latter. We need to have the problem with our starboard engine starter repaired. We also are getting laundry done, using the Internet, shopping for more provisions, and planning the rest of our trip. And, we’re hanging out with some other cruisers who are also hanging out in the mooring field here.