Full Day Cruise
*Depending on weather and seas of the day. Approximate times:
8am Bus pickups from Vila hotels, followed by a 40 minute scenic drive over the mountain range to our mini-marina base in Havannah Harbour.
9.15am Set sail for Hat Island or Parrot Bommies and have morning tea on the 1 hour sail.
10.30am Stop for snorkelling or scuba diving on some of the healthiest coral reefs to be found in the South Pacific.
11.30am Motor to a calm bay for lunch on board, where three Survivor-type film series were staged due to its remoteness & natural beauty. After lunch, you can go walkabout ashore or snorkel around the bay.
1.30pm It's off to Paul’s Rock seamount, 10 minutes away. The reef is only 2 metres deep dropping away to 500 metres, thus offering an interesting experience for both snorkellers and divers. As there is a local tabu on fishing it is effectively a marine reserve and the multitudes of fish & turtles know it. Friendliest lot of fish you’ll find anywhere, as they don’t fear *man the predator*.
3pm Set sail for our return trip with afternoon tea on the way. Time for animated conversations or contemplation, depending on personalities or how much energy has been expended during the day.
4.30pm Disembark and bus back to Port Vila, arriving by around 5.30pm.
Things to note:
When raining in Port Vila, it is usually fine in Havannah Harbour.
There is an awning over the top deck for sun & rain protection. For heavier showers, we have an indoor area on our former cruising yacht, which has galley, dining area, beds and a marine toilet.
The snorkelling waters are exceptionally clear often with 50 metre visibility, little current and are warm; 25°C (Aug) and 30 °C (Feb).
Bring a rashee or extra T-shirt for snorkelling and your own towels, caps, sunnies and sunscreen.
The North-West Efate area offers protected calm-water sailing most of the year. When the seas are a bit choppy around Hat Island, we visit the more protected Parrot Bommies (ex-Turtle Reef) for our first stop.
We aim for smaller passenger numbers, so around 6 to 10 per day and maybe only 2 or 3 cruises a week, depending on demand at the time. Min. 4 adult pax and max. 24 pax.
This cruise is popular with people of all ages, from infants to grannies. If you don’t snorkel, then bring a book to read, lay-back & casually watch the antics of the others.
Bookings are best made by email or phone and just pay on the day in Vatu, AUD or NZD.
Lunch comprises fresh salads including tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, sliced cold meats, boiled eggs, cheese and batard bread rolls. Tasty, healthy & filling to keep your strength up for the day.
Optional SCUBA Diving
Operating since 1981, Sailaway Cruises has found a relaxing way to combine sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving on its full day cruise from Havannah Harbour, on the North side of Efate Island, the ‘dry’ side of the island, protected from the dominant South Easterly Trade Winds. This has resulted in finding some of the most extraordinary dive sites in Vanuatu, with underwater visibility rarely less than 20m and frequently 50 metres plus.
We don’t offer Scuba instruction, so we can concentrate on taking qualified divers to legendary dive sites including Hat Island, Paul’s Rock, Tukutuku Caverns, and Turtle Reef & Parrot Bommies. Well-travelled divers and underwater photographers tell us that these North Efate sites have healthy coral reefs and marine-life comparable to the better sites in the world.
We’re still the only operator to run regular cruises to these prime diving locations.
Recent cyclones and coral-bleaching events have had minimal impact on coral reefs in this area and COTS culling programs with volunteer divers a few years ago prevented reef-systems from being eaten out.
The Sailaway dive boat is the comfortable ocean-going 42 ft trimaran GOLDEN WING operating from a mini-marina in Havannah Harbour and sailing into the pristine World Heritage Site area bounded by Lelepa & Hat islands and Turtle Reef (Mangaliliu).
The sites we visit are such that divers can slip over the drop-offs to see huge fan corals, swim-through tunnels lined with soft corals and interact closely with fish & turtles, whilst non-diving partners or family members can enjoy snorkelling on the adjacent, colourful, shallower reefs teeming with fish.
Diving is a low-cost optional extra for tank, weights & dive guide. Bring your own dive gear or advise us so we can hire BCD, Regulator & Wetsuit.
We can carry up to 30 SCUBA tanks and 10 BCDs, regulators, plenty of weight belts, shorty wetsuits and fins, masks and snorkels.
Please present your certification to the Divemaster on board.
“Golden Wing” does not carry underwater torches, computers, or specialty equipment. We do not operate a dive shop, nor do we offer PADI training or service facilities. Our sole purpose is to take qualified divers to the best sites available within a day’s trip of Port Vila.
Diving With Sailaway Cruises, Vanuatu
The colorful Kiwi dive charter with attempts at jungle survival
by Eric & Anne Simmons. www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2sjYRD22fE (9 mins)
Culling COTs outbreak near Paul's Rock, Vanuatu
by Brian Heatherich https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=412&v=D8kHXHNNgXU (7 mins)
Crown Of Thorns, A Starfish War
COTs culling methods utilized by IRD New Caledonia, Vanuatu Scuba Operators & Fisheries Dept. All dive operators, including Sailaway Dive are active in protection of coral reefs from Crown of Thorns Starfish. For further info and more images, refer to www.divevanuatu.net
by Pascal Dumas and Jean Michel. www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZei-c1TFpk (19 mins)