01 September 2009 | Santa Maria Island
Di & Bernie
Santa Maria Is is the southern most island in the Banks Group and about 35nm north of Santo. We arrived here Sat afternoon to be greeted by many friendly villagers in their dugouts including Chief Henry.. We were handed a visitors book to sign and a program of activities by a young man named Christopher, outlining some entertainment that the locals provide for visitors ..Kastom dancing, Water music and magic tricks to name a few. We were also offered vegetables in exchange for trading, so have stocked up on sweet potatoes, cucumber, spring onions,pawpaw and bananas. As well, we were also invited by Christopher to lunch on Sunday with his young family. The island is quite mountainous so the village is set high up off the beach. Christopher's house is elevated above the village and commands million dollar views out to sea. It is just beautiful! Over lunch he explained how he would like to update the program of activities with photos. After offering to help him out with our camera and printer, we spent the afternoon taking photos to complement the activities, so got to see some Water music performed by four local women. They stand in waist high water, cup their hands then swing their arms in the water and create a beating rhythm ...quite clever and very effective. Along with the other photos we took, Bern spent most of yesterday revamping the program. As the island is so remote the supply ship from Luganville doesn't call into this bay very often, so they are finding it difficult to sell their Copra at market. The program of activities is one way the villagers have of making some cash from passing boats that call in here for a few days.