Paradise at Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay Beach House
Holiday House Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu
Vanuatu Sailing Cruising and Interisland Ferry Services
“Vanuatu is so diverse that just sailing from one island to the next feels like a voyage across continents. The isolation and extreme geography of the islands is packed with over one hundred languages, a history of cannibalism, and vibrant superstitious rituals. People are still very tribal and there are beautiful villages with houses built from woven grass mats–nothing has changed here for hundreds of years.”
Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago consisting of about 83 islands. They stretch for over 1,300 km across the Pacific (810 mi) although he gap between islands is rarely more than 30km. Vanuatu offers easy, deep water sailing and cruising without dangerous reef passes or shallow areas to navigate. For a comprehensive guide to cruising the Vanuatu islands in your own boat click HERE.
Yacht Charters & Cruises
There’s limited options when it comes to bareboat charters and crewed sailing charters. Vanuatu Yacht Charters is one of the few businesses that cater to this on a regular basis. They are based on the island of Efate have a 46-foot Fountaine Pajot Bahia catamaran available for day charters, overnight and multi-night sails around the nearby islands. Dropcast Fishing based on Havannah Harbour on Efate Island also do extended charters aboard their 46ft Cresta/Custom Sportfisher vessel.
Ocean Sailing Expeditions is another extended crewed charter boat that does expeditions around Vanuatu but they are not based on the islands and the expeditions are yearly one-offs. Check their website for expedition dates
South Sea Sailing run by Simon Hamer in Port Vila (Efate) operate an 18m catamaran called South Sea Vagabond. They offer day sails around Efate as well as extended overnight cruising throughout the Vanuatu islands for up to 10 passengers (check to see if they are still operating).
For the motor-yacht enthusiasts, Island Escape Adventure Cruises , based out of New Zealand, offer two different 6 night luxury escape packages from Espiritu Santo, the Mystery of Vanuatu Cruise and the Secrets of Vanuatu cruise. These operate between the months of May – September.
Inter Island Ferries & Cargo Boats
The Big Sista Company operates a ferry service that runs between Port Vila and Santo, stopping at Epi Island and Malekula along the way. They leave Port Vila every Monday night and return from Santo every Thursday night. It costs around $150 AUD and you can even upgrade to business class!
Vanuatu Ferry operates a regular weekly ferry service between Port Vila and Santo stopping off at Malekula island along the way. They also do another regular service run between Port Vila and Tanna Island and from Santo to Port Vila via Ambrym and Pentecost. In addition to cargo their three large ferries also take passengers – its a relatively cheap and inexpensive way to get around the islands as long as you have time on your hands.
There is a slew of smaller companies that operate cargo boats to the more remote islands of Vanuatu as well. Of these the most reliable that takes passengers is Silent World Shipping. They have 3 ships, LC Tevanu Star, LC Brisk and LC Tina1 which provide weekly Inter-Island Freight and Passenger runs. Other shipping companies include Makila, Tinawan, Freedom, Regim and Young Bloodz. But be warned – you use these cargo boats and ferries at your own risk. Schedules change on an hourly basis, and can quite often be canceled due to poor weather. The smaller cargo boats are basic so expect the main cabin to be outdoors, without seats or any sleeping provisions. Toilets are terrible, best not to have to use them. There will be no food or drinks available onboard, so come prepared. You can read a full review on taking a cargo boat in Vanuatu HERE.
Turtle Bay, Santo – The Ultimate Boat & Yacht Anchorage
If you are planning on visiting Santo as part of your Vanuatu sailing cruising holiday, then you need to consider Turtle Bay for your base. It’s one of the safest and best anchorages on the east coast. Getting into the bay is a little tricky (the best way is through the channel at the north side of Oyster Island) but once inside the depth is an average 10-12m all around the bay and there are no coral bommies to negotiate. Turtle Bay Beach House has two registered and surveyed moorings you can rent for your boat at the northern section of the bay (ring Willie the caretaker of TBBH for more info 7788590 or email the owner on firstname.lastname@example.org). Cost is $10 a day or a case of Tusker for the week! Accommodation is also available at Turtle Bay Beach House for a very reasonable price where there is a laundry hot showers wifi and fresh water. Book HERE . You can also get meals and drinks at nearby Turtle Bay Lodge Plus there are two blue hole and crystal rivers to explore in your dinghy.