06 October 2006

Noon Position 06-Oct-2006

Fiji to Vanuatu
South Pacific Ocean

  • 06-Oct-2006
  • 18°42.2000"S/172°57.6000"E
  • 127nm last 24hrs
  • 252nm from Fiji
  • 202nm to Vanuatu
  • 20-25 knots SW

Much better day today. Good wind and sunshine! We had strong winds all night. We had to motor-sail to keep our course because the winds are from the SW, and that is that way we want to go. At sunrise we were able to turn off the engine. We have averaged 6 to 7 knots all day, right on our course line.

We are out here with about 6 other boats, all heading to Vanuatu. We were the last boat to leave. So we are bringing up the rear. All 6 of us are checking in twice a day with each other on our unofficial "Volcano Net", named by Jim and Emma's son Drake on S/V Blue Sky.

We heard this morning that S/V Sheriaz was going straight to Port Vila. They broke the halyard that holds up their main sail, and they ripped their jib sail. So there are having to motor the rest of the way. Also, S/V Blue Sky is going to Port Vila because they cannot hold this course due to the SW winds. So we will see who actually makes it to Tanna Island!

The only real excitement today is when we got buzzed by a military plane who wanted to check us out. We are not sure what county it was from because it went by so fast that we did not have time to look very close.

Other then that the really cool erupting volcano at Tanna Island, there is something else that I want to check out! There is the "John Frum Cargo Cult" of local islanders that after WWII, converted from Presbyterianism to a Cargo Cult. WWII was fought out here, and many of the locals worked at the American bases on the islands of Vanuatu. They have small red crosses (that look like the red crosses on the American medical tents) painted on their houses, and small American flags on their houses. They are waiting for John Frum to return to their island with cargo planes full of material goods for their village. Should be fun...

More in 24,
Tom and Amy

Notes From Ron:
(1) The "John Frum" cargo cult is one of the last remaining cargo cults that popped up in the South Pacific during WWII. The followers of this cult on Tanna believe that John Frum lives in the active volcano there. Here are two excellent articles about the cult that are worth reading: "The Last Cargo Cult" by Mike Jay (2002), and "In John They Trust" from the Smithsonian Museum (2006). Too bad that Tom and Amy are going to miss the annual "John Frum" day, held on the 15-February.

(2) The Sandpiper is having to pound straight into the wind and waves to get to Tanna from Fiji. That makes for slow progress, a lot of rocking and rolling, and a generally miserable sailing experience. Beating into the wind like this often means having to motor, which just adds to the misery. That is why the Sky Blue gave up and peeled off towards Port Vila.

No comments: