'Oh, a little tuna', said Chief Nelson
Leonie: the answer to the quiz was: Cultural Centre.
Port Vila on the weekend is a very different place to mid-week. There was live music all the time, we even had a good coverband in easy listening distance over the water. It was quite a step up from the chap who was 'killing me softly with his song' at the Waterfront Bar and Grill during the week.
Leonie: the answer to the quiz was: Cultural Centre.
Port Vila on the weekend is a very different place to mid-week. There was live music all the time, we even had a good coverband in easy listening distance over the water. It was quite a step up from the chap who was 'killing me softly with his song' at the Waterfront Bar and Grill during the week. We had been getting a bit of cabin fever, not from being on board, but having our original plans thwarted by the weather and having to stay in Port Vila longer than expected. Port Vila is a nice town, but since it is larger than the village on Tanna, it is more impersonal and we haven't met many locals.
On Sunday though, we had a great day. Leonie had hurt her toe on the night I was babysitting and it was sore enough to wake her in the night so we were a bit worried. Adam asked around for a local doctor, but discovered that John from 'Madhatter' was a doctor. He had a look and gave the 'all clear', which was a relief. While nursing his second cappuccino, Adam had a brain-wave. We visited the Iririki island resort to enquire about using their facilities. We registered for the day in exchange for using the pools and got credit for food and drinks. While the boys started to explore Leonie and I went back to Elena to get the togs (bathing suits) and towels. We saw a wee catamaran tip over with two blokes on it and went to investigate when we saw the sail was torn. We were able to give them a tow back to the resort and their friends gave them a lot of hassle.
After some swimming in the big pools and being chauffeured about the island in golf carts, we were starting to feel a bit spoiled. To top off the day, we went back to the area with an inifinity pool and a view of Elena and watched the sunset with pina coladas and yummy mocktails. The guys we had towed back to shore spotted us and bought their rescuers a round.
We set off for Epi (75 Nautical miles) on Sunday night and conditions were much better than on our first attempt. There was enough wind to sail for much of the way at a steady 6.5 knots. This made for an interesting night watch for me, given my lack of sailing experience. Everytime a sail flapped or the sheets creaked I was on full alert. We set anchor in Lamen Bay (Epi Island) on Monday, at the home of the infamous Dugong (zeekoe) - it was too shy for us though.
Adam and I went for a snorkle and saw a lobster, some cleaner fish, nemo's cousins and a school of enormous fish called Napolean Wrasse. There was one other yacht anchored at Epi, called Giselle of Argyll (from UK). We invited them over for sun-downers and to share the information Adam had picked up about the Solomon Islands. While we were chilling out, I spotted a glow in the distance and assumed it was a fire on shore. The anchorage at Epi was a bit rolly, so we pulled anchor at 20:00 hours and set sail for Maewo (90 Nautical miles). Once on the way, it was apparent that the glow I had seen was actually another active volcano on the island of Ambryn, which we could see most of the night. Big orange clouds steamed high up in the air. I heard a rumble at one stage and the moon went amber as it was veiled by ash.
Adam put a line out at the start of his second watch and caught a 6 kg tuna! While approaching Maewo, Leonie suggested catching another to give to the village and he caught another 6 kg tuna! The Jif (chief) wasn't too impressed when we handed it over and said: "Oh, a little tuna." Little?! Sheesh, tough crowd. Meals today were very tasty with a little help from home. We phoned Sharon (from the previous crowd pleasing Red Team) to get tips on sushi roll making and I e-mailed my Mum to get a recipe for 'poisson cru' (Tahitian fish salad), which Adam prepared to perfection.
Assanvari Bay is beautiful and well sheltered. Chief Nelson is in his seventies and has very few teeth left in his mouth. He ordered a 6-year old boy, Matteen, to show us around the village. We visited the Primary School. It has over 100 pupils from 5 different villages. Some kids walk 7 kilometres every day to get to school. In good weather they may take the canoe. It's really amazing to see kids Mees' age paddling around in an outrigger canoe. Part of the school was damaged in the cyclone season. One of the classrooms is set up in a traditional hut, which means there is hardly any light to see what you're writing or drawing. There are 3 government funded teachers. They are allowed 4 teachers, but are understaffed (I'll say, +100 pupils to 3 teachers!!). The husband of the head of the school showed us around and asked indirectly for some books or other school materials. We'll bring some over tomorrow.
An 11-year old girl, Angeline, who walked around the village with us, was telling me about her 3 brothers and 3 sisters (some of them younger) and then she suddenly pointed at a grave and said: "That's my father." Imagine being a mother of 7 and then losing your husband. Angeline kept on smiling and showed us the very simple church. The boys had run ahead with some other boys and we'd lost sight of them. But we caught up with them at the Chief's house, where they were playing on the beach. We traded some shampoo and cigarettes for pawpaw (papaya) and bananas. While rinsing the bananas in the sea, tons of huge earbugs came jumping out, some of which landed in our dinghy. After dropping them in the sea originally, Renée bravely held on to the bananas and we hope we got all the bugs out before we hung them at the back of the boat. We dinghied up to an impressive waterfall and Adam and Renée went for a very cool snorkle trip. Amongst heaps of other fish, they saw a Barracuda, an Eagle Ray and a turtle.