As I start this email to you we are on day three of our crossing from Luganville on the Island of Santo – Vanuatu, to Mackay in Oz. We have only covered a total of 267nm. A very slow trip so far but the winds are so light we are having to motor sail. The charges for arriving in Oz are horrendous. Customs and Immigration have quoted us $400 and it is more if we arrive in the weekend, so we have seen a reef marked on the map we pass quite close by and we may stop here to pass the time if it looks like our arrival time is going to be over a weekend.
We also left behind new friends – Bridget and ken from NZ who have built a Lockwood home on the Island of Aore – just across from Luganville. They were so kind and made our stay so warm and welcoming.
Leaving and clearing Customs and Immigration was fraught with the usual difficulties which we are now getting use to. We decided the weather was right to leave first light on Thursday 2nd July so went to clear out on the Wednesday. Customs took longer than we had expected – and we did allow time – so by the time we arrived at Immigration it was early afternoon and there was a note on the door to say ‘This Office Closed Wednesday Afternoon For Sports’. I tell you one does learn patience!!!! So it was back the next morning, a job that was completed in 10 minutes but as we had to use the tender that took time to stow away and make SHAMAL ready for our ocean crossing. Then there was the last swim we had to have. We used this time to also give SHAMAL’S hulls a good clean to pass the Oz Quarantine clearance. They will have your boat lifted out at your expense if they are not happy with it. So it was not until 11.00am when we finally sailed on out leaving Santo behind. We will return one day when we are back in the Pacific and visit more of this amazing Island Archipelago.
We are trying very hard to eat our way through the freezer and fresh stuff but I can see we are still going to arrive in Oz with it which customs will remove. We still have 4 of coconuts and 4 pawpaw. It is strange but we don’t seem to eat so much when making a passage, but we are not doing as much exercise either.
OK will sign out for this note. Thank you all for your emails and keeping us posted as to your events as well. Great to hear from you all.
Much love from
The Admiral and The Captain