Vanuatu: A Friendly Welcome, Land Diving and Volcanoes

After spending the South Pacific Cyclone Season in New Zealand, regular Noonsite contributors Maria and Allen Wadsworth headed north to Vanuatu where they experienced warm and friendly welcomes wherever they went.

Published 3 weeks ago, updated 2 weeks ago

Port Resolution, Tanna

The weather was going to turn wild with high winds forecast for the last two days of our journey to Port Vila, Tanna, so we emailed Port Resolution and requested permission to go there instead. It would seem they needed permission from Port Vila – maybe because we had planned to go to Port Vila.

The next day was a holiday in Vanuatu so we heard nothing back. The morning we were due to arrive we received email confirmation that we could go to Port Resolution.

[Editor’s Note: Cruising yachts can clear into Vanuatu at Port Resolution as long as advance arrangements have been made with Customs officials in Port Vila. Officials are actually based in Lenakel, on Tanna’s SW coast, however anchoring in Lenakel is not recommended so officials (if arranged) will drive over to Port Resolution to undertake clearance for a fee. See the Port Resolution page for details.]

We arrived on the 30th May at 10 am. The officials were still there and a friend on another boat said if we were quick we would be able to clear in that day. But we needed to get the dinghy/outboard down so decided to wait. We received an email to tell us to wait until the officials told us to come over and they emailed our official letter giving permission to clear in at Port Resolution on 31st May. We received a call on the VHF radio at about 11:15 asking us to come over to the yacht club with all our paperwork.

The anchorage at Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.

Simple Clearance Process

It was a simple process, fill in the forms for customs, immigration and health. Pay the money –  4000 VUV each (US$33). There was a petrol fee for officials to come to Port Resolution from Lenakel (3000 VUV – US$25) split between us and another boat. We paid in NZD so we could keep our VUV.

Port Resolution is a cute village and lovely people, but no shops.  However, you can get a taxi ride to Lenakal but it’s about a two to three hour ride in a truck and apparently not pleasant. You can also get a ride to the volcano from here.

Vanuatu is one of the few countries where you can get up close and personal with an active volcano. Photo from Vanuatu Tourism.

This bay was the most rolly bay we have been in since we left the UK seven years ago. A stern anchor is required to face you into the swell. We anchored in five metres.

Port Vila, Efate

We arrived in Port Vila (on the island of Efate) and called the Yachting World Marina on the radio after coming into the small harbour. They answered right away and then a man came out in a skiff and helped us tie up to a buoy. None of their moorings are near the overhead cables. The Yachting World Marina dinghy dock is by the restaurant which also belongs to the marina. The marina office is by the fuel dock. If you wait to pay for your fuel until you clear out, then you can get the duty-free certificate before you settle your bill. Laundry (as at June 2024) was 1900 VUV per load. It can take 24 hours or maybe longer when they are busy. The restaurant was very welcoming with good food and service.

Rubbish, provisions and markets:

Rubbish can be disposed of here if you are in the marina or using a buoy. There is no recycling. Customs are around on their RIB regularly going through the moorings and were very friendly. Customs office for checkout is by the boatyard/main dock. Meg and Andy (the owners) of Yachting World Marina, are lovely people. The restaurant had great food and friendly service. Buses are plentiful and cost 150VUV per trip. Just flag one down – look for ones where the number plate has a “B” on it.

The fresh market and a local “hawker” centre is great for vegetables and is within walking distance of the marina. You can buy tomatoes,cCucumber, baby capsicum, aubergine (eggplant), taro chips, lots of vegetable chips, pak choi, limes, lettuce, some carrots, spring onions, bananas, taro, coconut, herbs, pineapple. There is also a small supermarket near to the fresh market. You can walk to the larger supermarket which is about 10 mins out of the marina – turn right. They accept credit cards and there are ATMs outside.

We took the dinghy over to customs/ immigration to clear out and we had to pay 8000 VUV (US$67) for Port fees. It took about 40 minutes to do both of these and all crew have to attend, as they now have a digital scanner.

Pentecost Island (by Air from Port Vila)

We booked a tour to Pentecost Island from Port Vila to see the land diving. It was really worth the money as we didn’t have time to sail over to Pentecost. We were picked up at 7.15am by the marina. We were dropped at the international airport and had to go and pay for the flight. Cash or card is possible but card payment have a fee of about 3% on top. Cost was 122,720 VUV (just over US$1000), which included the credit card fee. We had to pay 200 VUV each for departure tax. We then waited until 9.15 and were then called to the plane.

Pentecost Island Land Diving. Photo from Vanuatu Tourism.

We watched the land diving on Pentencost and then our hosts gave us sandwiches for lunch. Then the truck picked us up and took us to the end of the road . We went to the airstrip and then waited at the beach for the plane to arrive at 3pm. The pilot flew us over the volcanos on Ambrym Island on the way back.

Allen and Maria Wadsworth
SV Jamala

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The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Noonsite.com or World Cruising Club.

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