SY Dog Star

A family sailing the Pacific

Month: August 2018

Having fun in Vanuatu!

Hello everybody!

We are in Vanuatu!

We arrived around a week ago in Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu and we put up a yellow flag which means that we want to check in to the country (Vanuatu). 

A boat that we are now sailing with, called Gonyonda, arrived the day before us and had explored the village.

In Port Resolution, the place where we checked in, the people live off the land and don’t use very many artificial household appliances. Most of the houses have no running water and the only electricity comes from solar panels, the size of a square foot. Their houses are made of straw, flax and wood including bamboo and the roots of the banyan tree.

The banyan tree has lots of roots and villagers take roots and tie them to the ground so they grow straight and into poles so they can make their houses.

When we went for a tour of their village, Willie, Sheila, Sarah and Jack (some very nice villagers from Port Resolution)  took us up the hill and we ate sugarcane, coconuts and corn and bananas, which were roasted over a fire that Jack made by rubbing a stick into a log and making smoke and embers. One of the things I really admire about Vanuatu, is that they have banned plastic bags, which is pretty cool!

We went up a volcano which some of the locals believe houses a god called John Frum and they think that one day he will come out and give the people washing machines, dishwashers, clothes and furniture among many other things. 

We got up there in the back of a truck, which was very bumpy, especially considering we driving up dirt roads.

The volcano was magnificent. We were up there for a few hours and all through that time, I was freaking out and relaxed at the same time. Every five to fifteen minutes, it would erupt and we would be coated with volcanic dust. When it got dark, the eruptions were even more thrilling. Blobs of lava double the size of Dad would fly up and we would all step back and cover our heads.

A few days later we went to a party with some Vanuatuan locals invited us to there restaurant (a house with a thatched roof, concrete floor, no walls on one half and a kitchen) and we had taro, fried rice, chilli stew, coconut rice and some chocolate cake that a kid called Freya from Gonyonda and I made. At the end, Freya and I were gifted choco each, which is a very nice fruit (or vegetable?) that they grow.

Yesterday, we left Tanna and sailed to an island called Erromango. On the way, our main sail ripped and we had to motor. We are probably going to fix it when we get to Port Villa.

Well, that’s what’s been going on on Dog Star! Please leave a comment about how it is at home! 

Thanks for reading!

Iris 🙂

The baby in this picture is called Sabai and she lives in the village with her family. She’s so cute!

Mum and I at the market in Lenakel. We went their on the back of a ute and it was very exciting, whizzing along the dirt roads, right next to an active volcano.



Working on the boat with Dad!

I put a through hull in the boat with Dad yesterday! Is was pretty awesome! But before I tell you how I did it, I’ll explain what a through hull is.

A through hull is a hole in the boat that lets water go in and out of the boat. Don’t worry, most of them only let water go out, we’re not going to sink.

We also use them to let the toilet waste go out and let salt water in to use as flushing water.

First, we went to the boat-yard shop and bought something called a ball valve and a through hull or skin fitting.Image result for ball valve

A ball valve is a valve that has ball with a hole inside of it. The handle turns the the ball inside. So, for instance, if I turned the handle 45 degrees the valve would be half open, so it lets some water through but not much. If I turned it another 45 degrees (which adds up to 90 degrees), then it would be fully open. If I turned it back 90 degrees, the valve would be closed and nothing could go in or out. The ball valve can only let water go in and out, not just one way, which sometimes isn’t the best to use for some through hulls.

Image result for through hull trudesign

A through hull or skin fitting is a fairly simple piece of technology. At the top there is a flat piece of metal or plastic that makes sure that it doesn’t fall off. The same is used for the nut on the other side. The only thing different from screws and through hulls, is that through hulls have a hole on both sides.

First, we drilled a hole with a 35 mm diameter with a special type of drill part called a hole saw. We had to drill the hole from one side to about half way then drill from the other side until it met the first drill hole. If we had done it from one side only, it would have exploded the paint work in that area when it reached the other side.

Then Dad got something called an angle grinder to sand the paint off where we had drilled the hole, so we could stick the through hull in with epoxy. We did that because it wouldn’t stick to paint.

Soon, Dad and I were wearing gloves and masks and mixing slow hardener (because we are in a warm climate),  epoxy resin and colloidal silica (to thicken it) to make epoxy.

We mixed the epoxy, then used it to stick the through hull in the hole that we had drilled earlier. The next day, we screwed the ball valve in and now we have a perfect working through hull with a strong, reliable valve for our bilge pump!

Thanks for reading,

Iris 🙂


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