Daily Ramblings - May 21, 2009


May 21, 2009 - As we have found throughout the South Pacific, the islanders of Vanuatu have been welcoming and anxious to share their lives and culture at every turn.  Proud of their traditions, dedicated to their families and villages, joyful and outgoing...everyone we have encountered has been a delight.

This was re-enforced as we arrived at the dock on South Pentecost – Lonumantekon Village.  Famous for Land-Diving, the story is told of Queen Elizabeth visiting some years back;  during the Land-Diving demonstration a young man hit the earth head on and died...but the host diverted her attention and she happily departed the island unaware.

Knowing this story, we were apprehensive of what we were about to experience.  Lonumantekon Village is the only place on earth where Land-Diving continues.  It is a celebration to the Gods for the yam harvest...now also performed for the occasional tourist group.  Men climb a tall tower perched on a high hill.  Tying vines to their feet, to the rthyms of loud singing and dancing by their fellow villagers, they reach to the heavens in celebration and then leap from their perch.  Diving toward earth the vines jerk their feet just as they are about to crash into the dirt.  It is a spectacular experience.  We have posted photos.  You can also see a video of the celebration on U Tube.  Just search for Land-Diving.

That afternoon Steve scored a nice Wahoo.  He is ready to be featured on the Des Moines Register sports page. Everyone has caught fish – but the water temperatures have been a bit cooler and the fishing has not been as good as we had hoped.  Typically the Marlin would have migrated here by now – in fact, the annual Marlin tournament is scheduled to begin May 31st.

While trolling we continued to pass by a local fisherman hand lining from his canoe.  After pestering him with our boat waves, Tom determined to present him with a rod and reel.  He was both delighted and speechless!

We motored on north into a secluded bay, surrounded by reefs and islands.  While visiting Chief Woody and his village we learned we were the first visitors in two years.  It was playtime.  The Wave Runners, Hobie Cat, and small tenders were active.  Molly caught two huge Red Snapper.

As I write this we are preparing for a snorkeling outing.  Molly and Kathy are taking the clear bottom canoe to scout for us.  Later today we will begin our 12 hour journey back to Port Vila.  It will be a sad day tomorrow, departing Vanuatu.

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