It is Sunday and we are still here at Anatom. We have officially checked in. We arrived Friday night and were planning on trying to check in on Saturday. We discovered that the policeman who usually checks people in is sick and because there were two super size cruise ships coming on Sunday and Monday they had flown 3 port officials in to process people. We all went into the village in hopes that they would check us in on Saturday so that we could go and play and snorkel on Mystery Island before the cruise ships came in with their 2,000 people. As is turns out the guys were really nice and we brought them back to our boat and they checked us in without overtime fees. So now all we need to do when we are in Port Villa is turn in our paperwork and pay some entry fees.
We spent yesterday snorkeling Mystery Island and looking for turtles. We didn't see any turtles but we did see a beautiful lion fish and a I found my first sea horse. The water is really warm 81 degrees and really clear so it was nice to float around out on the reef for an hour or so without getting cold. Mystery Island is a play place for the large cruise ships and also has a small airstrip... when we were walking around the island it really is a very very small airstrip and the landing is a grass field full of bumps... I just couldn't imagine coming in on that thing.
As we were playing in the water, a canoe with about 7 kids maybe between the ages of 8 to 12ish... paddled over from the mainland. I felt like I was watching a tourism commercial for vanuatu, with the background of the surrounding aqua blue waters and the tropical lands behind, the kids were in this home made dug out canoe all talking in their native Baslamic to each other and each chewing on a stalk of sugar cane. They paddled over closer to where we were playing, just watching us, and then from inside the canoe picked up this large rock with a line tied around it and dropped it in the water as their anchor... so cute! They were really shy and tried not to seem like they were watching. We waved a few times and they would look down but by the time we were leaving they finally gave a shy smile and waved us a good-bye.
After a quick rinse off on the boat we then wanted to go and walk the village. Everyone is really polite and nice but not like the fijians were they come up and greet you and welcome you to their village. You mostly get many smiles and waves and hellos but not the introductions and conversations (so far). I hear the people here are friendlier than the Fijians, I guess in their very polite and reserved way. The peole hear speak either French or English and they all speak Baslamic. The Baslamic language they use is a slang/pigeon language. Everything is sounded out and spelled phonetically like a kindergartner and so it is very easy for Alina to read all their signs. For example, A sign outside of the church said, "Plis putum u slipa-shoes outsaet lo corel. Taku.
We met Ben the Principal of the school in the village. He was really nice and told us that he had 140 students in his school and the building looked like it was equal to the size of one of our elementary school rooms. I just can't fathom how he manages all those kids. There were some little kids running around and playing volleyball so the little girls ran down to play with them. After awhile Chris and Tristan and Alexia all joined in and some more of the village kids ran onto the field and they all had some fun playing a some soccer. It was fun to watch the kids all mixing it up.
Ben offered to get us some pampelmoose (spelling), the large sweet grapefruit that we had in the Marquesas, so we are heading back into the village with a few school supplies to offer for a trade for some fruit. Hope we aren't too late. We have been trying to get caught up on school for the most part today since it was too hard to do school on passage, being sick and all.
We will try to go to their bank tomorrow since it is the only bank between here and Port Villa (a week away) and we need some vanuatu dollars for the trip up to the volcano on Tanna. We need to make a run for it out of here as soon as possible to try and get to Tanna before night fall. It is about 50 miles away and should be a downwind/swell with light winds so we may be motoring the whole way. I filled our tanks with our reserve gas that we keep on deck for passages and so we now have 2 full tanks again and still 15 gallons on deck left over. There isn't gas until Port Villa so I am glad that we carry the extra fuel on deck. We can go for another 2 weeks, at least, now without needing to fill up. It really helps and gives me piece of mind. I tease Chris that it is my security blanket for our travels... We usually don't like to arrive into ports at night but with the satellite images we have and the navigational charts being dead accurate for Vanuatu we are confident in these two ports at least that we will be fine. I will try to update the blog with some pictures if we are able to get a sim card from Telsa in the small grocery store here before we go. If not it will have to wait until Port Villa.
Hope all is well with everyone,
Hugs and love,
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