Location: Port Vila, Vanuatu

Today we woke up early and headed into town to watch the Independence Day festivities. Vanuatu (previously known as the New Hebrides) is a series of 85 islands that became independent from France and England (who co-ruled it) in 1980, and their independence day is, of course, a big deal in the country, particularly in the capital city of Port Vila where we are currently docked. We had heard there was going to be a parade in the main park, so we got down there early for a good seat. It was more of a ceremony than a parade, but it was very cool to get to see the Prime Minister of Vanuatu addressing the people (I am fairly certain everyone on the island of Efate was in this park today) and everyone out with their families to celebrate. The traditional dress is very colorful, and it was so fun to see families in matching floral shirts and dresses. We watched the ceremony for a while and wandered around the area, where there had to be 100 tents set up with local families and groups selling homemade cakes and fresh grilled, barbecued chicken. We then headed into town, where everyone went out on their own for lunch, trying out some of the local cuisines. Usually, when we say we go to a new country and get a cheeseburger, we have to admit to being very “American,” but beef is actually one of Vanuatu’s main exports, and they are known for their good local beef, so here a burger is actually a great local choice! Port Vila is actually a fairly international town, with a lot of influence from both Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand, and so Pad Thai was also a good option 🙂
– The end of the morning section of the blog post was written by Carolyn since Steve was hard at work in the engine room with Bryant doing oil changes on our generators and engine, taking care of Argo so she can take care of us. Thanks, guys!

All, right guys, it’s time for the afternoon section by yours truly Steve G. Once I was released from a busy morning servicing the engine and generators with Bryant, we took a few minutes to enjoy a wonderful pizza before returning to clean up last-minute issues and spilled oil, of course, disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. The afternoon was spent in Seamanship class where everyone continued to hone in their navigation skills, today learning how to do estimated positions, which was followed by Oceanography; after this, many of the shipmates stayed on Argo to study and rest as needed with a few returning to land. Before long, it was one of the most important times of the day, you guessed it, dinner, which was a wonderful meal of eggplant Parmesan.