Havannah Harbour

After getting our fill of wildlife on our way out of Port Vila, we spent the day sailing north to Havannah Harbor. We had excellent wind, 14 knots from the southeast, and calm, easy seas. Our views of Efate’s western coast were palm studded and brownish-green dry. Conditions held until we were enclosed by Efate’s fringing islands, Lelepa and Moso. Once in Havannah Harbor’s lake-like bay, we anchored in the northeastern bite.

Dominic had stopped off at the patisserie in a final lap of errands before we left town, so chocolate croissants added an extra sweetness to our cruise up the coast.

The land surrounding the anchorage was mostly flat with dark banyan leaves punctuating the palm fronds, cliffs rising toward Efate’s central plateau in the distance. The water looked invitingly clear, but the scant tourist information we had indicated that the dive shops in the area specialized in tiger shark viewings, so we resisted the temptation to go for a swim.

Paddle boarding in the area didn’t disappoint. The water was clear enough to see the large coral formations decorating the shallows of the bay, and I spotted a school of barracuda lingering near the beach. There is a shallow pass between Efate and Moso that provided excellent exploration, long powdered sugar beaches and killer views of Mt. Taputaora, the extinct volcano on nearby Nguna Island.

Havannah Harbour also has a certain about of historical cache; given its excellent natural protection, it was used as an anchorage for a portion of the US’s naval fleet during World War II. We weren’t able to find any of the wrecks from that era rumored to be in the area, but our favorite point of interest was man-made: a wrecked mega-yacht, Blue Gold, slumped on its side on the shores of one of Moso’s villages. Supposedly, the vessel was involved in drug running and impounded by the Vanuatu authorities before being blown ashore during a cyclone.