The island of Epi, our next stop, was a full days sail from Efata. They day promised good winds but once we had left the bay, where the winds were gusting 25 knots, we lost the wind completely and despite our best efforts motored for first two hours. Eventually we left the island’s wind shadow and in the blink of an eye we were hustling to get reefed down.
This was very like sailing from Guadeloupe to Antigua in the Caribbean. No wind, no wind, no wind, and suddenly gusting 25 knots as you cleared the island. The jump in speed makes any lure you are trailing much more alluring and all at once you have a fish in the line with the boat heeled over on her ear. Larus likes to heel and sails well in lots of wind but it does make reeling in, landing and filleting challenging. We learned not to fish heading north from Guadeloupe.
We anchored in Lameh, Bay. Rachel had warned us we’d probably need a stern anchor to keep our stern into the swell. When we arrived there wasn’t any swell and the bay seemed reasonably protected. The wind was blowing offshore and keeping us in a good position to meet any swell that bent around the headland. It was good until the wind dropped in the middle of the night, we were turned broad side to the swell and then the rolling was terrible. We left as soon as we could the next morning for Malekula.
We had a fast sail with crazy currents and strong wind combination. This does makes for an exhilarating sail. It’s the sort of passage where you wish you’d made the sandwiches for lunch before you left. Luckily, we had tuna salad made up already and I just had to slap it between two slices of bread.
Our destination was the anchorage tucked in behind Awei Island, part of the Maskelyne Islands.