Friday, July 23, 2010

Vanuatu - day ten

Today we went on the grand Efete tour - so a tour of lots of villages on Vanuatu's main Efete island. The first stop was a village with a big blue lagoon. The boys all took turns swinging out into the lagoon on a rope. Mark has just gone in and is swinging the rope back for Andrew.

At the next village, there was a war dance, and Ben took part in it.
The dancers posed with Andrew and Ben afterwards, then fed us local food - some delicious sweet potato in coconut and coconut milk - in freshly opened coconuts.

Next stop were some hot springs. It's set up as a therapeutic centre - you soak in the hot water, then cover yourself in the oozing mud, and then sluice it all off in slightly hotter water.
Next village, there was such a nice enterprising man, who has done a lot of work to bring tourists to his village. He's built a look out, and is building an area for feeding fish. His village was surrounded by water, and just paradise on earth. One of the men performed a fire walk, and we posed for a photo afterwards.

One of my favourite shots of Andrew. It was taken at the next village, when we were waiting for the locals, so we could kayak in a cave.

We were running a bit late, so only a few of us kayaked. The boys went in with a local, and we'd been told that some people had kayaked into the dark cave a few years before, and hadn't returned. Mark and I waited and waited until our boys reappeared - everyone else had gone back to the bus by then. The boys each had a torch and saw fossils on the roof of the caves. The kayak disappeared into a small gap...
And the last cocktail for the trip - a coconut mudslide. It was even better than it looks!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vanuatu - day nine

Today we had a swim in the pool then caught a ferry over to Erakor Island with Kay for a coffee and a snorkel. Ben found a frangipani flower on the way to the ferry...
We thought this sign was great. Written in Bislan, it reads "Sipos yu wantem ferry yu klim gong". So if you want the ferry, kling the gong. Their pigeon English language is very logical.

We also did our good deed for the day. Mark and the boys noticed a crown of thorns - they eat coral - and let the island manager know. He came with his pointy stick and killed it. The island's workers do a sweep for crown of thorns every morning, but this one must have moved in later.
The coffee was great, and the kids enjoyed their milkshakes. I loved the table decorations, set in a green coconut shell.

We walked past some of the rooms on our way to snorkelling. Loved the "Welkam" coconuts by the doors of the rooms.

We headed off snorkelling from this beach, and around the point a bit too. It was low tide, but when we got out into the water quite some way, we found a great drop off of coral and loads of fish. The water was beautiful and warm.

When we got back to the resort, the boys were thrilled to find the spa working. While we all waited for  our lunch, the boys enjoyed the warmth.

I started to feel quite sad in the afternoon, that the holiday was nearing to an end. We sat and read books for a while, but I couldn't stop looking at the view and taking photos. If you happened to look at my feet closely, you'd find a coral cut - which is an essential accessory to a tropical holiday!

Mark brought me a Fallen Frozen Angel cocktail - lovely.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vanuatu - day eight

We went on a day-long tour today, and hooked up with Kay, Brian and their son Liam who we've met at the resort. It was great, the three boys get along really well. We went on a long yacht trip, launching off at the beach where they filmed Survivor. First stop was a turtle sanctuary on Tranquillity Island.

Tranquillity Island is a dive resort. I just loved the chair looking out to beach, and the kids loved the swing.

Then we went to the most beautiful beach of our whole time there -on Moso Island. We snorkelled off the beach, and I found so many varieties of fish including "Nemo" fish, then we went in a boat off shore, and snorkelled amongst huge U-shaped drop offs of coral - layers and layers like a city under water.  I took so many photos of this beach. Just a metre off the shore line were fish. I loved lying on top of the water, just me and my snorkel, listening to the fish munching on their greens from the bottom of the sea, only a metre away! We were followed by a pod of dolphins for part of our trip back home - capped off a magnificent day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vanuatu - day seven

Drizzly day this morning. We didn't even feel like swimming - we played table tennis and pool. In the afternoon we went to the cascades waterfall - and swam right up to the crashing waterfall. Just amazing being hit by the water raining down.
The boys kept going back in to the waterfall area to discover more things - an upper level, a tunnel to get through to somewhere else. It was a real hit with them - and so refreshing to have a swim after the walk in. After dinner, Mark and the boys played beach volleyball and beach soccer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vanuatu - day six

Today Mark and I went to the gym, then he did a scuba diving refresher in the pool. Andrew was off colour this morning, so we stayed around the resort.

In the afternoon, we went to Iririki Island Resort - it's an island off Port Vila - to have a look around. This was the other place we'd been thinking about when we booked the trip. Their reception room had a couple of amazing masks on the wall - studded with shells. They would have made the wearer look very threatening.  Took a couple of close up pics too - to show the shell details. Just beautiful.

We played a 'How well do you know your partner' game back at the resort after dinner, with some other couples. Mark knows me so well. They asked, what's your favourite food. I said fruit, Mark remembered that it's coq au vin. Mum used to cook that for me on childrens' day every year - I think she must have made up childrens' day??

Vanuatu - day five

The day got off to a false start. We went into Port Vila, not realising most of the shops were shut - including the bookshop and the coffee shop. Mark and Andrew hadn't brought enough books, and they were almost out. In the afternoon, we went on a cruise of the lagoon with the resort's service.
The boat had a glass bottomed insert, and the boys spent part of the time with their head down in the hatch, watching for coral and fish!
Then we had to race over for the resort's next activity - watching someone shimmy up a coconut palm, then whack the top off the coconuts so we could drink the fresh cocont milk - yum!!

And the natural thing to do next is try your hand (or foot!) at climbing the coconut palms. Fortunately, they've cut steps into the trunks at intervals...

Spent more time in the pool, and then another cocktail!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vanuatu - day four

We went to Port Vila in the morning today. Loved the baskets made by weaving banana leaves. So strong and carried sweet potatos, lemons. There were also live crabs all tied up together, and coconuts tied up together too. People came and did their shopping and walked away with a ready-made basket - no plastic bags needed!

Then we went and had a coffee at a French coffee shop. The boys had their juice, then hung their heads over the jetty - there were lots of coral and fish.

Then we went back to the resort and had lunch. Ben had a special chocolate sundae.

Andrew and I went snorkelling just outside the resort, and Mark and I went kayaking down the lagoon and back.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Vanuatu - day three

We went on a tour to Hideaway Island to snorkel. Here's a pic with the island in the background, waiting for the ferry. This was such a highlight of the whole trip. We were taken out on a snorkel safari and the operator fed the fish, so we were snorkelling with clouds of beautiful tropical fish - all varieties - all around us.

Between snorkelling, the boys had a rest. It's a marine sanctuary, and we had to go in using steps on the jetty, then mosey along to the other side. Lots of great coral.

Littered with dead coral.

White Cloud - what could be better than a cocktail by the pool after a day's snorkelling?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vanuatu - day two

Day two, we stayed around the resort. We kayaked across to a nearby island the the kids played volleyball with some kids over there. The kids went to kids club at night, and we treated ourselves to dinner at the Wild Ginger restaurant. We even went to the gym first thing in the morning.


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