Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, 2008 - Peterson Bay, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

We've spent the last week anchored in Peterson Bay by the Oyster Island Resort. The resort really caters to yachties. From free (!!!!) high speed wireless to trash disposal and delicious dinners, we've really felt welcomed here. And soon they will be installing buoys to make the entrance to the bay safer.
Propeller from the downed fighter
Fighter One, a big US airforce base during WWII, is just across the bay. Last winter, the resort found the wreckage of a fighter that went down in the water here. It is a shallow wreck, so we could check it out by snorkeling on it. It was kind of haunting to think of the pilot, low on fuel, trying to get his damaged plane back to the base. He almost made it, but crashed at night on the final approach. For 60 years, nobody knew where he had crashed. Then the wreck was found and identified. An organization that keeps track of these things got in touch with the family to let them know where their loved one had died.
Fighter One got its fresh water from a deep spring at the source of the river that empties into the bay. We dinghied up the crystal clear river to check out the spring. Dissolved calcium carbonate in the water gives the whole river a blueish tinge. Even on an overcast day, the spring was a deep marine blue. Sten dove in to check it out.
On Monday, Grant from the resort drove us into town to pick up the package that we had been waiting for. The roads here we built by American troops during WWII. They haven't been touched for 60 years. Now they are just a long string of pot holes strung together by a few scraps of concrete. It was a rough ride into town, but the scenery was amazing. We saw a truck cobbled together from scraps of a wreck. Our ride back was even better. The resort was taking delivery of a bunch of lumber for new bungalows. We got to ride back in a big blue dump truck with a pile of lumber in the back, stopping every few miles to rearrange the load so it didn't fall out.

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