Welcome to the Vanuatu trip of a lifetime! The picture sharing has been a long time coming as I was awaiting the remainder of the wedding photos to share the shots in sequential order. With a very important USB drive of wedding photos in my hot little hands I can finally share the ‘big day’ with you in two days time.
Day 331 required nothing more than a pair of bikinis and a tee and harem pant coverup as my man and I were shown the sites of Efate on a ‘Round Island’ tour. One of the main Industries in Vanuatu is the tourism industry so there are lots of tours to choose from (and plenty of taxi and bus drivers who are more than willing to show you around). We chose a locally operated tour with two wonderful local guides. One of which I noticed nodding off while driving the tour bus. Sleep driving is an activity that is only acceptable when one lives on island time.
Efate is the most populous island in Vanuatu and is home to the capital city of Port Vila. An island geared toward tourism is very easy to navigate, with very friendly people, most speaking English, French, or Bislama (a very easy to understand adaptation of English) it is very easy to fall in love with the country and never want to leave again. Public transport is a breeze as buses are in abundant supply and can be waved down at any location (look for a van with the letter B on the license plate) and the first on is the first off. If you get a busy bus you are in for an adventure as your driver drops off the passengers before you. This is a fun and very inexpensive way to see areas of Port Vila that many others won’t.
The first stop on the tour was Blue Lagoon, mind-blowing turquoise salt water swimming hole with rope swings in place and fun to be had. We stopped at a cultural village for lunch where Ni-Van customary dances were performed and a coconut demonstration lead to plenty of delicious coconut tasting. For most Ni-Van people subsistence farming is a way of life, so yards are overflowing with produce, flowers and livestock (cows, chickens and goats). Coconut plantations used to be quite profitable export crops in the past, but unfortunately the market isn’t there at the moment (aside from Bio-fuels) so to beautiful coconut plantations were littered with coconuts to be picked up at a more profitable date. The very large fig tree above is ustilised for the land diving festival on the island of Pentecost, the precursor to bungee jumping, where the vines from the fig are tired around the divers ankles prior to jumping from a wooden tower.
I have no photos of the natural hot springs but there were a fun activity. There are a series of geo-thermal pools that progressively get hotter the further you adventure. There is also a great ‘therapeutic’ mud pit, where you are assisted to coat your body in mud, relax while soaking up its minerals, then hosed down with a cold water hose. It was messy fun and even though the experience was a little shocking (hello cold water hose down the bikinis) my skin really did feel great afterwards!
If you ever happen to find yourself in Vanuatu pay a visit to the WWII museum. Even if you have no knowledge of WWII I guarantee you will want to know more about it after you meet the museum owner. The man with the fastest speaking English in the whole world! He has spent years collecting debris left by the American soldiers who had used Havannah Harbour as a port during the war. Nearby is the site where Survivor Vanuatu was filmed,which has some beautiful snorkelling where we found Nemo and Crush.
This magical day long adventure crammed so much excitement and fun into such a short space of time. Would highly recommend this tour experience to anyone who happens to find themselves in Vanuatu!