Daily Ramblings - May 18, 2009


May 18, 2009 - After almost 36 hours of travel, Steve and Kathy Zumbach, Mitch and Lori Knotts, and Tom and Molly arrived in Port Vila, Vanuatu, to a warm and humid greeting by the Major Wager crew.  Port Vila is a tourist city – host to occasional cruise ships and most frequently, New Zealand and Australian vacationers.  But just a few miles north the population diminishes and the real Vanuatu emerges.

Vanuatu is an island archipelago consisting of approximately 82 relatively small volcanic islands stretching 800 miles south to north. Only fourteen of Vanuatu's islands have surface areas of more than 39 sq mi. The highest point is Mount Tabwemasana reaching 6,160 feet.  The scenery is magnificent and the jungles thick from the rich volcanic soil and nine months of rainy season.  We are visiting at the beginning of the dry season and just after the cyclone season has finished.  So far the weather has been delightful.

Saturday afternoon we motored a few hours to a calm bay where we anchored for the night.  To stay awake and adjust to the jet lag, Steve and Kathy jumped on the Wave Runners and Mitch and Lori joined Tom for a short fishing outing.  Mitch caught the smallest fish of record – a baby Skip Jack...Lori a Rainbow Runner.

Sunday was a day at the beach.  We relaxed, enjoyed the water toys and continued to indulge Master Chef Deano’s over the top meals. The relaxing conversations and warm sun allowed the transition to vacation attitude.  Yes, Steve is actually relaxing and loving it!

Monday was fishing day.  But the seas were rough.  We circled an island that had recently erupted...lava flows appeared like avalanches.  But only Kathy was successful bringing in a Mahi Mahi.

Tuesday was incredible.  In the morning we visited Ranon Village – a clean meandering collection of bamboo constructed, extended family compounds.  Clean and quiet.  During our walk-about we were presented beautiful wood carvings from several of the villagers.

Then, in the afternoon, we hiked for an hour up through the jungle to Fanla Village.  It was hot, humid and steep – a challenge for a few of us, but definitely worth the effort.  At the top of the island this remote village lives as it has for centuries.  We were treated to a native dance, sand art, and variety of fascinating conversations.  The village Chief was most welcoming as were all of the villagers.  And the wood carvings were the best we have seen.  The challenge was carrying them back down the mountain!

Vanuatu is positioned in-between Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands and Fiji.  Having been administered by a British/French joint commission for 100 years it has a unique mix of native and colonial influences.  We are experiencing varying cultures in each of these island nations.  And Wednesday promises special surprises.  Stay tuned...

Read April 26 Log

Read April 22 Log

Read April 19 Log

Read April 15 Log

Read April 14 Log

Read April 7 Log

Read March 31 Log

Read March 29 Log

Read March 12 Log