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[Port Vila] [Malakula] [Tanna]            Oct-Nov 1998
Vanuatu is an independent country, Melanesian in origin, with a legacy of British and French colonialism as these European powers shared control for 75 years.

Port Vila

5 days after dropping our mooring at Musket Cove in Fiji we crossed the Finish line at Port Vila, and were handed a cold beer and fresh bread as reward by the committee boat. After a club party, we were ready to explore this enclave of ex-pats in a Melanesian country.  It had a great museum, an air-conditioned club with cheap lunches and movies, and lots of good restaurants - naturally the French ones were the best.  The Waterfront Bar and Grill welcomes cruisers dinghies and offers good meals and beer. 

Vanuatu - totems.jpg (20210 bytes)

SS-S_Pac_-_Vant_Chief_Stephan_2.jpg (25521 bytes)


We found a tour that offered the opportunity to view the inauguration of a new village. We flew, bounced, and floated to the Wala Island Resort, and spent 2 days watching and photographing Chief Stephan and his villagers celebrate the opening of the Naversa village and its nasara (ceremonial area and kava-drinking hut).  The dancing and celebrations were timeless and we were glad to have shared it with the village and a few lookers-on.

The village women stayed out of the mainstream of the celebrations, but they did sing on the sidelines and prepared lap-lap, a communal meal of ground yams and meat for the villagers and visitors.

Vanuatu - women.jpg (28508 bytes)


An overnight sail from Port Vila, twenty boats pitched in and bought tickets for Customs and Immigration officials to fly to Tanna so that we could visit this exotic destination.  An active volcano can be reached after a 2-hour bumpy ride in the back of a  pick-up.  We stayed past sunset, snapping away as molten rocks flew high from the caldera. The next evening a visit to a John Frumm village was bizarre, with dancing and singing by the glow of the volcano. this group, known as a 'cargo cult', has the belief that John Frumm will return some day, throw out the Europeans, and leave them 'cargo' or valuables goods.  Back in the anchorage a friendly dugong (similar to a manatee) swims around the resort, sharing his territory with swimmers who venture near his feeding grounds.

Tanna volcano.jpg (5901 bytes)

New Caledonia was a real change from the primitive lifestyles of Vanuatu


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