MALAKULA & MESCALINE ISLANDS
Malakula is very mountainous indented with many coves and bays. The Mescaline Islands are a cluster of small islands surrounded by reefs and mangroves.
Although the skies were grey and it was rainy, it was a boisterous sail for much of the way and we were happy to anchor in the remote sheltered bay of Awei in the Mescalyne Island Group.
Greeted by dugout canoes
Almost as soon as we arrived we were visited by a number of dugout canoes who paddled out to welcome us. Among them was Morris (son of the chief) with his wife and children who offered us fruit from the plantation. Then Chief Manse appeared (along with his dogs swimming behind) to invite us to the village the following morning for Sunday School.
Sept 25 Guests of Honor in the
I distributed lollies to the local children but it was the women and men that got the biggest thrill out of receiving the candy!
The children get their baths before Sunday School
The church service was held in a thatched hut used for a meeting house. We were given benches to sit on at the front of the church but the locals sat on woven mats on the floor, men on one side, women on other.
The congregation gave us a warm welcome and the singing and prayer began. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, with kids coming and going, woman breastfeeding and babies being juggled from child to grandma to mom and back to child.
We noticed that the chief was having trouble reading the prayers with his broken glasses. I gave him a pair of my reading glasses later. After we were put at the head of the reception line to shake hands with everyone.
Traditional LapLap Feast
After church the village insisted we join them for their Sunday Feast. The women unwrapped banana leaves that had been roasting in the ground. Inside were all forms of manioc, taro, banana, cabbage, whole fish (head included), pieces of mollusks and who knows what else. We all sat on mats and ate with our fingers. Everyone was watching to see how we liked the food and I had to curtail my laughter as Gord choked down a snail (it kept coming back up and he made several attempts at swallowing to finally keep it down!) while politely repeating Good....Good...
This woman from the neighboring village took a shine to Gord and flirted with him!
We left the village for our hike back to the boat, laden with fruit and veggies.
Took the dinghy to beach to find the renown Magic Rocks, white quartz-like crystallized stones found in only one location in Vanuatu. The villagers believe that if you strike the rocks together at night, a blue flash will appear and it will bring storms and rain to ward off their enemies. Unfortunately we tried it that evening and were so mesmerized by the blue flash that we repeatedly struck the rocks together. That night we had a thunder/lightening storm and it rained all the next day!
Across the Island|
We walked along the shoreline and found a trail thru banana and coconut plantations to the other side of the island. There was a beautiful stretch of beach with breaking surf and open ocean. We walked along the length of the sandy shore collecting some of the best and most unique shells I've gathered to date.