ON MY WAY!! Left around 3pm EAST (Eastern Australia Summer Time) from Luganville (4pm local time) - feeling quite excited about final Pacific sail to Australia.
Having to motor (with 'push' from tide just now) to get away from 'no-wind' zone around Vanuatu, in hope I can get sailing by early Tues -wind looks as though it should be good then, although may go light again on Thurs for a day or so. Just rounded South Cape now, on SW of Espiritu Santo, & am now on course for Cairns (or, strictly speaking, on course to a little 'jiggle' around Barrier Reef islands on way to Cairns!!)
Such heavy, heavy rain overnight Sat and also on & off during Sunday - I was expecting some, but not so much... got drenched! Stopped me getting re-fuelling completed as I'd hoped. But cleared/tidied up in meantime and sorted out paper charts and confirmed route around Gt Barrier Reef area - so not time wasted. Refuelling was very slow because I used little 12V in-line pump to pump fuel out of 20l cans very low down in cockpit locker into 10l ones for pouring into tanks, but both tanks nearly
full now - leaving me feeling much more comfortable! I should have way more than I need, assuming good sailing conditions.
Monday's weather was far nicer - after more heavy rain overnight, clouds cleared away soon after I headed in to town to clear Customs & Immigration at 0700. Just as well I went in early, because I found Immigration open - but he was busy writing a note on the door telling anyone else to come back at 10 o'clock! Then on to Customs - painfully slow filling in sheets of forms... had to pay Port/Light Dues at Harbour Master's office before Clearance Certificate could be issued - I was staggered to find
the cost was 7,000 vatu (~$70 ). I only had 5,000 on me, so had to walk back into town to find bank or ATM to get cash - so much for my hoping to get return ferry back to 'Nereida' at 0830 ready for a quick get-away! (Might have managed it if I'd had the extra cash..) Anyway, had a very nice breakfast at the 'Nataranga' in the main street, since next ferry wasn't until 1130 so no point in rushing. Paid dues & went back to Customs... to find a little queue... eventually obtained my Clearance Certificate
for passage to Cairns and then filled up 2 10l jerry cans with diesel - have actually filled both tanks completely now in expectation of a day or so of motoring away from Vanuatu before Trade winds fill in, as hoped.
So arrived back at Aore to deflate & stow dinghy & generally finish preparing for passage to Cairns - beautiful sunshine....clear water.... blue-tipped stag coral growing by jetty...fish jumping everywhere.... but NO wind...!!
Just had AIS alarm beeping at me - ship 16ml to W of me heading on 155T (I'm heading 265T) - so shouldn't be any problem - can see it on radar also.... Full moon just rising in clear sky... should be a nice night! Especially if I can stop motoring and get sailing... speed/log impeller must have some gunge in it or maybe an animal has made it's home there - it's not working!
Good news - one of the Cairns people has replied to say they can get Evinrude gasket & piston rings so that looks hopeful - I may yet get a working outboard!
Distance to go: approx. 1200 n.ml.