Cruising the South Pacific with Tackless II
Tackless II, along with her two captains, Don and Gwen, cruise from Fiji to Australia
Thursday, September 18, 2008
6-10 September 2008 – Port Vila
We had a nice week or so in Port Vila before the hoopla for the ICA Rally to Ouvea got underway. With so many friends in the mooring field, life was rather social. We'd do lunches at Jill's American Café, were you can get a mighty fine cheeseburger, ice cream from Le Peche Mignon (also a fine bakery), happy hour at the Waterfront or at the Iriki Resort's fancy lounge, and gourmet dinners at a range of restaurants from Chinese to French. One lovely evening we spent with Tom and Bette Lee of Quantum Leap at the Waterfront Restaurant enjoying truly fine jazz by a local trio while rain drizzled off the thatch roof! It's no wonder cruisers spend so much time in Port Vila.

And that's not even talking about the shopping. Port Vila has four large supermarkets, the best of which is the Au Bonne Marche up the hill from the waterfront. Embedded in the store is a truly fine butcher selling Vanuatu's famous beef, descended from stock imported by finicky French colonizers. Not only is the selection of cuts quite varied, but the price is past reasonable to downright cheap. The market also has aisles of gourmet foodstuffs as well as products more appealing to Western tastes than we saw in Fiji: like a whole section of Old El Paso Mexican items, two or three sections of various sauce and flavoring packets, plus pasta, rice and couscous products, not to mention the canned and pickled choices. Plus, in the frozen section there are all sorts of goodies, including frozen vegetables that are not the ubiquitous peas and carrot mix that is ALL that is sold from Tonga to Fiji.

There is also quite a selection of duty free shopping. Not quite in the league of St. Thomas, but a few women found jewelry, men found cameras, and pretty much everyone stocked up on liquor.

We did have some boat work to attend to: the fuel issues mentioned in the previous update, theplugged galley water faucet, a new furling line for the genoa, some sewing repairs. Plus Don had a watermaker project on another boat, while, with decent internet, I was able to upload some photos to the website.

But mostly Port Vila was a consumptive interlude, which after the remoteness of the out islands and the narrow range of options in Fiji (Indian) was welcome to all.


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