Goannas and Storms

The other friend we made on Fraser Island was the goanna, a lizard that can grow up to two meters in length. I spotted this guy as he crossed the dirt  road in front of us as we hiked through Fraser Island. The climbed a nearby tree and posed for photos.

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Cruising Fraser Island

On November 28, we left Bundaberg, stowed the dock lines, and started making way for Fraser Island. Lying just off the coast and over 120 kilometers north to south, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place where one can find rain forest growing on sand.

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Bundaberg

Our time in Bundaberg was largely functional. We were ten days in the marina, working through our list of end of season boat projects: repairing the brightwork and adding fresh coats of varnish, polishing the stainless, cleaning rust stains from the hull, oiling the teak down below.

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Chesterfield Reef

Cruisers in the tropics of the South Pacific have to make a critical decision as cyclone season approaches in November: find an anchorage that qualifies as a hurricane hole for the season? Head south to New Zealand? Follow the sunset west to Australia? 

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Australia!

We were underway for three days between Chesterfield Reef and Bundaberg, a small town on the northeastern coast of Australia. We motored out of the reef's southern pass into light westerly winds that continued into the afternoon, and then 17 knots of wind blew in behind us bringing glorious conditions for our first evening underway.

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Big Water Waterfall

Our last stop on Maewo was Big Water, a waterfall on northwestern edge of the island. We didn't get to stay as long as we'd like as the anchorage is untenable, but just getting to hike through this natural water park was a treat. 

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Boobies and Babes

We had an inkling a hundred miles out of Chesterfield Reef that we would be in for a lot of birds—three red footed boobies roosted overnight on our bow, one slept on our spreaders turning our dodger, deck, and mainsail into a modernist masterpiece of black and white smears.

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Santo

After Maewo, we made a pitstop at Ambae, spending two nights in Lolowai, an anchorage on the island’s northern edge. We were hoping to hike to the volcanic lakes on the island, but were disappointed to find it would require a very expensive ride to the village at the start of the hike and an overnight stay in that village the night before.

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Moon Cave

We spent our last day on Maewo cruising up the western coast and enjoying more watery delights. The first was Moon Cave, a limestone cavern filled with aquamarine waters and a coral-lined entrance. 

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VanuatuCorinne DolciComment
Maewo Underwater

Maewo had the most extensive underwater delights we've found in Vanuatu. The southwestern end of the bay boasts a large bommy and a point that juts out into the pass between Maewo and her western neighbor Ambae. 

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VanuatuCorinne DolciComment
To the Batcave

Directions to Maewo's Batcave:

First, find Barry. This is easiest done by finding Dyson, an eight or nine year old who hangs out at the waterfall, a day in advance and having him relay your plans to Barry. Meet at the waterfall at 7:30 am. Scramble up the rocks to the left of the waterfall...

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Sparkling Water

One of our favorite parts of the anchorage at Maewo was the waterfall that cascades from a natural spring on the ridge and falls into a landscaped swimming hole we could see from Helios. The pool is filled with fish that loved to eat coconut and nibble on swimmers, and there is a hidden cavern in the far corner behind the falling water.

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Maewo

Leaving Loltong, we cruised north across a narrow channel and dropped the hook in Asanvari, a cove on the southwestern tip of Maewo. Known as the ‘Island of Water’ and a cruiser favorite, we were excited to get to Maewo as it marked the most northerly island we are planning to visit in Vanuatu.

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Notes from Mom

If you’ve been reading the blog since the start of the sailing season, you know that last June my parents joined us for a three week cruise around western Fiji. Here, my mom shares her notes about life on the boat, a daughter living at sea, and getting the most out of 40 years of marriage...

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Loltong Bay

We spent a few nights in the calm, protected anchorage of Loltong Bay at the northwestern end of Pentecost. It was a relief to have a calm boat for two nights in a row! There is a small reef at the northern end of the anchorage that made for a good snorkel

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Udu

We first heard of Udu from an anthropologist we met while walking through the village with Mathew. Little did we know, but our stopover in Loltong Bay coincided with the yearly rising of the Pacific coral sea worm, or udu as they’re called in Vanuatu.

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