My neighbor Tobias stops over at 530. We are planning to swap bootleg movies. It’s what Pirates do. So much less toxic than shooting cannon balls at each other.
He is a pretty interesting cat. He lives on his sailboat and runs a solar power business. He helps islanders that don’t have access to power get hooked into solar. I should come back here a work with him for a few months. I would love to know more about solar and electrics than I currently do. He’s Dutch if I recall. Married an island woman and now they just had a baby. A Vanuatuan now! Hold on tight Tobias!
Later it’s time to collect Kat at the airport. Her flight comes in at 10pm. I figured I’d dinghy in to shore, hit the restaurant and ask them to call me a taxi. It’s 930. They be closed however. Bummer.
I wander into the parking lot. Jeffery the security guy explains that he is expecting a taxi shortly bringing in new guests. We wait a bit together. But time is short. And my money is on his incoming guests being on Kat’s plane.
I thank Jeffery for his company and head for the road to town. I haven’t tried hitchhiking here. Good spot. Right under a streetlight. Perfect night, perfect temperature. Quiet. Beautiful.
Too quiet. No traffic damn it! I need some wheels. Hitchhiking is so much more fun when you don’t have to be anywhere on a schedule. Sailing is like that too.
The Gods smile upon me and a car comes by and a ride I have. Aso is my driver/benefactor. I tell him I’m going to the airport to pick up a friend and he tells me that he is not sure there’s any planes coming in. The last one comes in at 6 pm.
He offers to take me out there anyway just to see what the circumstances are. We are driving through town and he stopped by a crowd of cab drivers and asks them something. I think some discussion about whether there is a plane coming in at this hour or not.
We proceed with the airport and son of a gun, there is a crowd of people. Something must be going on.
Aso parks his vehicle and I looked in the backseat and I noticed that he actually is a taxi. He had stowed his identifying equipment in the backseat so perhaps he was done for the day but decided to pick me up on the side of the road anyway. Thank you Aso.
He says he will wait for me. I approach the terminal to see if I’m in the right place at the right time. I asked some of the people there are what are they waiting for, and lo… they are waiting for a plane from Port Vila which is exactly what Kat should be arriving on. Oh good.
And she does. A little bit late but so it goes. Bags collected and we begin to exit. There is a bamboo pipe band making it happen at the airport. We really have to pause and enjoy. It’s something I’ve never seen/heard before. They are playing bamboo pipes with something that looks like fly swatters. Percussion I suppose. Vanuatu style.
We find our driver, load up and return to STW. Kat has had a lot to think about while in Australia and has some decisions to make. She is looking at a Captain position on a really cool research sailboat. The problem is she really does not want to return to Germany’s cold winter’s. Which would entail living in a box (apartment) again. This is not boat life. But the rest of the gig is really cool. The owner is in for some serious negotiations. Hold on tight!
Time to get busy with fuel. Since duty free fuel is not an option I’m off for the local station. I dinghy up a river just around the corner from the anchorage. Park under a highway bridge and there is a fuel station right at the end of the bridge. I’ve borrowed a few cans so I can make it all in less trips. Managed to spend what remained of my Vanuatu money on fuel. Perfect!
We host a dinner in the middle of stowing supplies on our last night. I hope this was a good idea. Tobias and also Ian and Wendy from Outsider, another neighbor boat. Today is the day to round up Veggies for the trip as well as for tonight.
Dinner was a good idea. The Outsiders have been cruising for years and they have some valuable info regarding Australia. Thank you! We blew their mind with Chicken on the Egg.
The next morning we pack the dinghy and chase the last details. Say goodbye to the staff of the Beachfront Resort.
The tide in the channel will favor us if we leave about 1pm. We didn’t want to leave Vanuatu. But leave we did. On a course for Chesterfield reef. 550 miles to the SW.