October 31, 2011

Australia Bound-day one

Our 2.5 days in Luganville sped past. Our main goal was to prepare the boat for Oz (giving away our contraband excess food, cleaning, scrubbing the bottom, getting fuel and fresh provisions, catching up on email and checking out of the country but we did manage to squeeze in a fantastic dive on the USS President Coolidge.

We had hoped to get in another dive or two, as well as visit the famed Millenium Cave and maybe try to find the Lysepsep people (folks who are only a metre or so tall and who screen themselves with very long hair). But despite the fact that Santos looks like an island that can keep you busy for weeks--we never got the chance to linger and get bored.

Late last week it looked like we had an excellent weather window kicking in. And by last night it was clear that it was time to go. Considering a less than excellent one is currently pummeling friends on the way to New Zealand with 35 knots, and the promise of more to come, we decided not to risk squandering our window by delaying our departure for even an extra day.
This means we've set sail on Halloween--Maia's deepest fear. It's only a minor consolation to her that four other kid boats (three in Port Vila and one in Noumea) are also starting their passages today. We made up for things a bit--last night we made pull taffy, carved a pumpkin, dressed in costumes then watched a scary movie 'Betelgeuse' and followed it all with a torch light candy hunt.

Our version of Halloween turned out to be a hit--it wasn't quite the same as getting dressed with friends and going door to door--but Maia seemed happy enough with our efforts.

Now we just need to wait for the wind to fill in. We're motoring out the channel and away from the islands in flat calm. Australia is 1000 miles away. Between here and there we hope for smooth seas and just enough wind. If the weather looks like it'll hold (or changes to bad) we plan to stop at Chesterfield Reef and rendevouz with Whatcha Gonna Do (yes, seven months after leaving Mexico on the same day we expect to make landfall in Australia on the same day), Connect Four and Discovery.

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