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TANNA ISLAND, Vanuatu  (con't)

THE VOLCANO

September 10
Water hot enough to boil vegetables

Donna and I did laundry on the beach in boiling hot pools coming out of the rocks caused by the nearby volcano.  The thermal springs were so hot that one of the locals was cooking cassava! The water was actually too hot and made the laundry chore a difficult one but it was sort of fun.

I definitely would not want to be a Vanuatan woman and do laundry like that all the time.

Cooking cassava
 for lunch

Natures Fireworks

That evening we took a trip up to the mouth of the volcano and it was an experience I will never forget. After another jarring ride in the truck, our guide (left with Gord) took us for a hike up to a ridge above the crater where chunks of lava littered the stark moonscape. We sat in the darkness and watched the molten lava burp and rumble, building up to spectacular blows that outperformed any fireworks show I have ever seen.

We were very close and it was somewhat disconcerting as 7 people have lost their lives to the lava rocks raining down, right where we were standing, over the past 10 years. The volcano spews Volkswagen-size boulders about a mile into the air with each eruption but we were lucky as the debris did not fall in our direction and all the smoke was also blowing in the other direction. There were actually two mouths in the crater, each taking turns to amuse us. We were mesmerized by the show and spent several hours watching the spectacle.

 

On the dark ride back, while speeding down the dirt paths through he bush, we came upon a little lantern hanging in a tree (the sign for a kava party in progress). The truck screeched to a halt. The driver and our guide jumped out of the truck and asked if we would like some kava. Since it was late and we were dusty and tired we declined thinking that they would just take us directly back to the boat. But that was not the case. They disappeared into the bush (taking the lantern with them), leaving us all alone sitting in the back of the open truck in total darkness, the mosquitoes descending upon us like vultures on fresh road kill. We were not sure how we should respond. The keys hung from the ignition so we contemplated stealing the truck but we would have surely got lost as we didn't have a clue where we were. Instead we patiently joked and laughed making the best of the situation, until they eventually returned. Under the influence of kava, our driver turned into Mandreti and we flew through the jungle dodging the overhanging branches and reached the beach in record time.

PHOTO ALBUM OF VOLCANO


FIREWALKING
September 11

We were invited to a neighboring village who wanted to put on some demonstrations for us that included bow and arrow shooting, weaving, "magic" and firewalking. Our guide, David, took us through several villages enroute to the location that was set up for our activities.

Local schoolteacher

Traditional village homes
(Richard and Gord)

Village children playing ball

Axel gets lost in the Banyan Tree on the trail

Traditional Customs 
We were given a warm welcome and presented with lays made from fresh flowers. Some curious boys watch us like we are the entertainment! The whole gang is pictured here.
(l to r) David, Kelly, Richard, Ginny, Emma, Axel, Donna, Marv, local
Bow and Arrow Competition
First on the agenda was the Bow and Arrow shooting. We were given 3 chances to hit a papaya dangling from string using the handmade bow and arrow. After a demonstration, Gord and I had a try.

Success!!!

Gord hits the target. Richard is a near miss so both get the prize.... TOMATOES!


Basket Weaving

Next we are taught how to weave a basket. It's much harder than it looks but the locals can knit a basket up in seconds.

Carving

David showed us one of the projects he was working on, a large carving with sea creatures...turtles, eels, dolphin and the like. He uses the breadfruit tree for his wood. It was a beautiful piece of art and I would have loved to have been able to cart it home!

Magic

The next demonstration was to show us how the locals can carry injured people out of the bush. First they carefully stack Kava leaves alternately. Then a boy was placed on the pile and they lifted him up just holding onto the stems of the leaves.

 

Firewalking

The fire is started in preparation for the Firewalking.

We all waited in anticipation for the coals to get hot.

Finally David blows the conch shell to call the Firewalker and the ceremony begins.

The coals are stoked

The Firewalker walks across the coals

Axel gives it a try too!

The shy children watch

PHOTO ALBUM of FIREWALK


Port Resolution Yacht Club

That evening, we all headed to the Port Resolution Yacht Club for a Potluck Supper. We landed the dinghies on the beach where several outrigger canoes were. We were amazed at the construction...no nails anywhere, everything tied together with twine or vines.

The Yacht Club was a rustic open air building surrounded by heavy chain from a shipwrecked tug. It afforded a great view of the anchorage.

No outboards here... the outriggers are the only boats used for transportation and fishing

Ginny displays the basket Donna made

All the boats in the anchorage joined in for a Potluck Dinner

Later Richard and Gord had a jam session, playing guitars and singing.

 

Sept 12
The wind picked up and swung around making for an extremely rough anchorage. No one got much sleep because of the constant roll side to side. And it was raining. To get off the boat we went ashore and walked to the neighboring village but no-one was around.

We found the local store and I traded some school supplies for a basket and papaya.

In this traditional village with nothing for amenities, we found a phone under a thatched roof phone booth. However, we could not get the phone to work.


Sept 13
We left for our overnight run  to Port Villa on Efate Island. We were not rewarded with any fish on our dead bumpy downwind trip.. We were able to use our Spinnaker  partway though.

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PHOTOS OF VANUATU

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