I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Lowdown

Hunks of junk at Million Dollar Point - Luganville, Vanuatu

Don't worry, today I am not going to ramble about the primitive beauty of Vanuatu.  Instead I am going to winge about paradise lost.  Perhaps it is the rain, perhaps it is the muggy and buggy heat, but Luganville, the second biggest "city" in Vanuatu seems to be a bit of a... letdown.

I should not have had very high expectations, as the South Pacific is not known for its charming cities.  I was misled, however, by the guide book which describes Luganville with a "sprawling main street with breathtaking ocean views at every corner..."  Maybe in its prime Luganville was a nice place.  But the dilapidated buildings, the remnants of WWII warehouses and the Chinese stores selling cheap knock-off goods are a bit of a downer for me.

You might ask, why did we even bother to sail all the way up to Luganville, anyway?  There are a few reasons, the first being that the government only allows us a one month visa for the country and that expires tomorrow.  We have decided, along with encouragement from the weather, that one month in Vanuatu just is not enough, so here we are extending our visas for another few weeks.  This means that we will probably skip New Caledonia which I am a bit bummed about, but sailing to New Cal also means sailing into the wind for three days and personally, I think that sounds miserable.  At this point it looks like we will sail straight from Vanuatu to Australia. 

The second reason why we are staying in Luganville (for a few days anyway) is because there is great diving here.  One of the best wreck dives in the world, the SS Coolidge, is right here in the bay.  We were going to dive it today but it rained torrentially all night, which will make the visibility terrible.  Perhaps we will get to dive it in a day or two.

Yesterday Mark and I went for a dive out at Million Dollar Point, which is a point just outside Luganville where, upon leaving the country at the end of WWII, the Americans dumped all their military gear into the ocean.  The US military did not want to ship all the tanks, cars, bulldozers and everything down to lunch trays back to the States, and the French/British did not want to buy it off the US, so into the ocean it all went.  I think the idea was, "If we can't have it then nobody can." 

It is kind of cool and pretty depressing to see all those materials - car tires, tank shells, boat hulls, airplane wings, etc. - underwater.  Coral has started to grow in spots and there are lots of fish swimming around, but it makes me cringe to think of the pollution it caused.  I guess that is a running motive of war: waste, destruction, greed...

But I digress.  There are lots of other cool things to do on the island of Santo besides dive on WWII wrecks, and hopefully when the rain stops we will be able to venture to check out underground fresh water caves and blue pools up rivers.  We only have a few weeks left before we need to head to Australia; cyclone season (and the Austral summer) officially starts November 1, and I have no desire to be in the tropics for the summer or for cyclones.

I must admit that I am pretty excited to get to Australia.  To be perfectly honest I find it a bit exhausting to always be a spectacle, to have people gawk at me as I walk through a village and to have to work so hard to communicate with people.  I am looking forward to fitting in (so long as I keep my mouth shut) and possibly even having more people my age to hang out with.  In the meantime, I suppose I should start working on my Aussie accent, aaiiiiii maaaiiiiite?

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