For all its apparent remoteness, North Efate is only a 45 minute coach ride from Port Vila. At Havannah Harbour, it’s all aboard the sailing trimaran “Golden Wing“.
Then it’s off to Hat Island, Paul’s Rock, and the stunning Castaway Beach, the location for ‘Survivor Vanuatu’.
Snorkel, hand feed schools of big fish, explore the beaches and caves on the nearby islands, meet the locals and enjoy a tasty smorgasbord lunch, or simply relax and sprawl out on deck under the sails It’s all included in your cruise – we collect your from your Vila hotel and drop you back there at the end of the day. We only take a limited number of people on board, so you’re not just one of the crowd on a large, impersonalised tour.
This side of Efate Island is the lee side of the island. This means it’s protected from the predominant southeasterly Trade Winds. There is no industry, no agriculture and no large settlements in the area. With little runoff or rivers to muddy the clarity of the water, the result is a rare combination of warm protected waters for comfortable sailing with extraordinary underwater clarity generally seen only in open ocean. This, along with incredible marine life, makes for fabulous snorkelling, fish feeding, and diving. We anchor directly on snorkelling reefs, and use an inflatable dinghy to take you ashore to explore Roymata’s grave and Castaway (Survivor Vanuatu) Beach (see Day Cruise & Survivor galleries).
Sailing times between stops vary, but can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as 2 hours (Port Vila to North Efate via Tukutuku). The stable platform of a wide trimaran offers exceptionally comfortable sailing. No leaning over and little chance of seasickness.
Cruises operate between 3 and 7 days each week, depending on demand. Bookings can be made by email. You only need to pay for you day cruise (prices) once you have arrived in Vanuatu*. Payment will confirm your reservation.
The cost of the cruise includes coach transfers from/to Vila based hotels (and Hideaway Island), morning and afternoon teas, entry fees to beaches, caves, and village fees for snorkelling or diving on the reefs, and use of snorkelling equipment. It does not include SCUBA dives, drinks from the (limited stock) bar or purchases made from local villagers.
Weather: Since this is the ‘dry’ side of Efate Island, it can be raining cats and dogs in Vila, yet be great weather on North Efate. We are in radio contact from town each morning to “Golden Wing” and can confirm the exact conditions. In the event of bad weather, we may cancel or postpone a cruise. If this occurs, a full refund will be offered.
Kids and Special Needs: Yes, we can take babies and kids; ours grew up on “Golden Wing“. There are wide double bunks directly below the deck seating area, allowing babies to be within arms reach through the window, while the adults can veg out on deck. Our ni-Vanuatu crew all have kids so mum and dad can go snorkelling while we babysit. In fact, our crew would sooner babysit than do other chores like washing dishes… We have carried many disabled people, who find snorkelling from such a stable platform to be an amazing and vastly rewarding experience. [We have life-rings and life-jackets for non-swimmers]. Just let us know in advance. We do not normally have the space to carry strollers and wheelchairs on board, (small ones are an exception, and we’ve seen some very cool collapsible wheelchairs) but these can be kept in the coach. Our crew is more than happy to oblige with a little lifting and carrying. Again, just let us know your needs in advance.
Meals: Salads, marinated chicken, rice, bread and cheese platter. Low cholesterol /fat free salad dressings. We have local and Aus beer in addition to soft drinks. Bar prices are just enough to cover the supermarket prices + cost of ice.
* Day cruises only, not charters.