Part Three


Peterson Bay & The Blue Hole

Santo, Vanuatu







October 18, 2012

Peterson Bay: 15 32'.26S 167 10'.79E


Since Steve had joined us to sail to Australia, it seemed like a good idea to actually go sailing. On October 16 we untangled the lines and freed Tenaya from the mooring, leaving the kayak tied on to reserve our spot. There are only four moorings here now and two are not strong enough for our girl.

Peterson Bay was our destination, down the channel, around the eastern corner of the island and up the coast a short distance. 21 miles in all.



We were moving along nicely under full sail as Jim showed Steve how the chartplotter works and where we were going. Then it was Steve's turn at the helm. He was a natural, kept us on course better than the autopilot! He steered along the pretty coastline under sunny skies, slight seas and 12-15 knot winds. Ideal conditions.



Peterson Bay is a little tricky to get into because there is a reef. Actually there are two. But we were happy staying in the outer anchorage so were only concerned with getting through the first pass. It is marked with sticks and best to be negotiated on a rising tide.

We anchored in front of a tiny island with a pretty sandy beach. It was exposed and the boat bounced in the chop. Had we gone inside, we could have anchored in flat calm water sheltered by Oyster Island. But the second reef can only be crossed at the highest water and the timing was not right to get out the next day and make it back to Aore before dark.



Jim and Steve lowered the dinghy and attached the outboard. We hopped in and took off to look for the river which leads to the Matevulu Blue Hole and have a look inside the other anchorage and at the resort.



The next morning, after snorkeling on the reef, we dinghied up the river. It is gorgeous! Many types of trees crowd the edges of the river and overhang in places. The water is shallow but incredibly clear so it was easy to negotiate.



At one point we passed a man stringing a fishing net across. We asked if it was all right to proceed and he said yes. Further up we saw several good sized fish so we tried to scare them down river to the man's net.



About a mile up the river the water turned from brownish green to brilliant blue. We'd reached the end and found the Matevulu Blue Hole. Not a person was there. Cows, yes, but people, no. Once the cows had their drink they noisily clambered on.



Soon the dinghy was unloaded, snorkeling gear littered the rocks and we'd peeled down to our swimsuits. Jim assumed his favorite position when surrounded by rocks and water. Prone. Looks like he needs to work on his tan.



The crystal clear water beckoned. Aahhh.... swimming in fresh water is such a treat.












Steve took his new Nikon waterproof P&S and snapped some nice shots of three curious fish and some of the underwater plant life.



A rope swing dangles from the banyan tree on the other side. It wasn't long before Steve and Jim were climbing up, swinging out and splashing down.



A couple kayaked up and snorkeled for a little while but left long before we did. Eventually we dinghied back down the river and stopped at the Oyster Island Resort to check out the restaurant. We decided to eat on the boat.

The next morning Steve and I swam over to explore the tiny island. Jim's not big on swimming far from the boat so I was happy that Steve was enthusiastic.



While we were gone Jim prepared the boat to leave so once we'd rinsed ourselves and our gear Tenaya headed out of the pass and back to our mooring at the Aore Resort. Again, Steve took the helm and did a great job.



Back at the Aore we found the kayak floating upside down. Later Michael and Christine from New Horizons, on the next mooring, told us it did a series of pirouettes each time the strong current changed. Every time they went to shore or returned, they stopped and righted the kayak. It survived unscathed and we appreciate their help.

Go to October 2012 Part Four - WWII Relics, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu


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