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Oceans Dream
Island communications, Ambrym
Admiral 40 Catamaran
04/06/2012, Ambrym, Vanuatu

Ambrym is famous for it's wood carvings and in particular, the 'tam-tam'. This is a large 10-12ft high carved figure-head with a slot cut in the base. A villager told us they were used to send messages between villages by drumming on the trunk - three years ago, Digicel and Nokia took over the role!

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11/06/2012 | Jilly
I had never even heard of these amazing islands.It must so fascinating.Lucky you two! X
What A Magical Bay
Admiral 40 Catamaran
04/06/2012, Ambrym, Vanuatu

Man blong magic are feared here on the island of Ambryn as they practice 'black magic'. Hard to believe from the tranquility of our anchorage in Ranon Bay. What it is to be alone!

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20/08/2012 | Melv
Really looking forward to visit this Beautiful Island...We are now arranging our trip with Sure Thing Travel, can't wait :)
The island of Epi.
Admiral 40 Catamaran
02/06/2012, Ambrym, Vanuatu

Seven hours ago we left the island of Epi and it's wonderful villagers and made our way to Ambrym, some 42 miles north. Epi has been the highlight of our time in Vanuatu so far. The anchorage at Lamen Bay had been sold to us as the place to see dugongs. We didn't see any however, there were many turtles and dolphin. In fact, on going ashore, one of the familys' had a 'pet' turtle in a tin bath. Hmmmm ... we didn't dare ask. Along with a secondary boarding school, a primary school, a clinic, three churches, one co-op store (selling canned foods) and a baker - this village was pretty well catered for. 'Mum' would sometimes disappear off to tend her garden during the day (up to a couple of hours walk away), returning with any ripe produce towards the evening. 'Dad' would farm his coconut plantation producing copra in time for the arrival of the weekly boat - he gets 2,000 vatu (£14) per sack . A sheet of corragated iron (used in the drying of the coconut flesh) costs £28 plus shipping from Efate. Whilst in conversation with Timothy, the Chief of Lamen Bay, it was confirmed to us how the land lies with regards to the ni-Vans (Vanutans) attitude to work. Many Ni-Vans visit New Zealand to pick fruit in the orchards on north and south island. The company pays for the return flight and then gradually claws-back the cost from their salary. These trips are generally made when a child is off to boarding school and substantial fees are required. Otherwise, Timothy said what they see in New Zealand and on the yachts that arrive in the anchorage might be something of 'millionaires' to them but it's not a life they want. They like working in their gardens as and when necessary, Their food choice may be limited, but it is free. The same with living. Their homes may be basic but they don't have to be concerned with rent or a mortgage each month. They certainly seem content to us, they don't ask for anything (unless encouraged) and have not once complained about life. We met just three families in Epi and have come away laden down with pamplemousse, bananas, coconuts, oranges, papayas and island cabbage (pak choy). In return we gave marine glue, towels, exercise books, colouring pencils, clothes, cordial and balloons. Next update will be from the land-diving island of Pentecost.

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Leaving civilisation.
Admiral 40 catamaran
29/05/2012

For six days we have been tied to a mooring buoy off the town of Port Vila on the island of Efate. Being the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila buzzes with activity. Admittedly, it's a bit dusty and going by the state of the pavements, the Heatlh and Safety laws aren't too stringent here however PV has a certain charm and with a tropical feel about it, we've loved every minute of our stay here. There are three cruise ships a week, private island resorts, supermarkets equal to those at home, basically, PV is the tourists soft option, there's no hard-core adventuring or anything too remote here. Tomorrow, we shall slip the lines and begin our journey north through the more remote islands of Vanuatu. We doubt very much if we'll pick up a weblink between here and Australia so all photos will have to wait until then. In the meantime, here are a selection of some taken over the last couple of weeks...

Mystery island
The view from Mystery Island, Aneitym looking back to the anchorage

Silly buggers
The Captain playing silly buggers at the Welcome celebrations on Mystery Island.

Rally
Western Pacific Rally participants - 14 boats.

Local girls
Aneitym school-girls

Pig
Hog feast

Towing locals
Towing locals: Tom Thompson and his sons Alan and Ken in Port Resolution, island of Tanna

Family
The Chief and his family on the island of Tanna

MArket food
Food in the local market - generally something fishy and starchy

Aubergine
An impressive aubergine stall in the market at Port Vila

Local ladies
Ni-Van (Vanuatan) ladies turn up every day at the market to sell their fruit and veg.

Tshirts
Port Vila on the island of Efate is reknowned for the numerous shops selling fakes ... Gucci handbags, Oakley sunglasses, Billabong and Quiksilver tshirts ... the list goes on

Marie
Marie and toddler on island of Tanna. The balloon went down a treat. In return, Jackie was given a gift of a hand-weaved bag made from pandanus leaves.


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What a Night!
Admiral 40 catamaran
24/05/2012, Island of Tanna, Vanuatu


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The Islands of Aneitym and Tana
Admiral 40 Catamaran
20/05/2012, South Pacific

As does tend to happen to us, upon arrival in Aneitym, the most southerly of the Vanuatu group, we were about to drop the hook and the heavens opened, bringing with it gusts of 25kts ... not the most perfect of anchoring conditions but we'd heard the holding was good and sure enough, OD didn't move an inch in the three days we were there.

Aneitym was the first gathering point for all of the Rally boats. A welcome ceremony was laid on by the villagers, where we enjoyed singing, dancing, food, and locally brewed kava. Aneitym is the size of the Isle of Wight, with just 1,600 inhabitants. Their homes are in the bush and are made from palm throngs. There is no road on Aneitym, thus no vehicles. Travel is by boat or on foot. Most commonly the latter due to lack of fuel. The people are all so jolly and thus far, Vanuatu does seem to live up to it's name of the Happiest Country in the World.

Here on the volcanic island of Tanna - a daysail from Aneitym, we have been enjoying some sunshine and have been keeping a keen eye out for the dugong that lives in the bay. Yesterday, a local (Tom Thompson) took us around three of the villages close to the anchorage. Each village housed 3 / 4 homes, some pigs, a few chickens, a vegetable patch and a banyan tree.

We couldn't come to Tanna and NOT visit the volcano, Mount Yasur. The most accessible active volcano in the world they told us and ACTIVE it was! After an hour long ride crammed into the back of a yute to the edge of the volcano - it performed beautifully! Looking down into the crater as the lava exploded throwing boulders into the air was just amazing - if a little unnerving. We shall post some pictures when we next have a weblink.

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29/05/2012 | Jim Kornegay
Jackie, Adrain,

These are fantastic shots, what an exciting life your are enjoying. Thanks for sharing.
Jim from Challenger

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