Monday, December 31, 2012

YOLO on Ambae and Meawo

Asanvari village on Maewo (pronounced My Foe) from our anchorage spot.  Not much happening here.

Marsden, selling hot bread rolls from his outrigger canoe.  We'd been told of his tasty hot bread and bought some.  It didn't even last until we could use it for lunch.

The waterfall onshore at Maewo.  Linda and I snorkeled ashore and dipped into the pool here at the base of the waterfall, but we didn't climb up to get to the bigger pool on top.  It was a cloudy day so we weren't hot enough to need a cool dip.

Another view of the waterfall at Asanvari on Maewo.
The island of Ambae is one of the few that lie in an east-west orientation.  With the predominant winds from the east, there aren't really many protected anchorages here.  A small dip in the shore pretends to be an anchorage,  but we only stayed overnight and then moved on.  This big spider was in the bushes along the shore of the village we wandered through.  We've seen these on many islands.

A cave in the rocky cliff face at the point between where we anchored and the main village.  There were tons of flying foxes/fruit bats hanging from the trees on this point.

A sunset on Ambae.  That's Chesapeake, our sailing buddy.  We didn't stay but the one night here as the shore was just a stone beach; luckily the wind was down and we could sleep.

A bundle of taro leaves someone has bought from a market.  They eat these almost daily; it's what poi is made from.  I think it's pretty tasteless and prefer almost any other root they serve to this.  But the leaves are used to make callaloo soup in the Caribbean and that is quite tasty.  Can't eat the leaves raw, though.  They will feel like you swallowed a handful of needles unless you cook the crap out of them!

YOLO in the E's--Emae, Epi, Espiritu Santo

A spotted goat tethered along the roadway on Emae at Revolieu Bay when we walked to the village.

A large rock wedged between 2 huge mango trees.  The trees have actually grown around the rock, making it look like a table or altar.

Some village buildings with woven walls on Emae.

This is the Sulua Store that greeted us as we brought the dinghy ashore.  Tiny and unmanned, it wasn't really even in the village.  We weren't sure if the sign was a joke or if the 'store' was just really closed when we got there.  We didn't see another store anywhere around, so it's probale the owner just wasn't around when we were.  There were gov't workers building a road just in front of this structure.
And the felled coconut palm hits he dust!  The workers hacked open a few of the nuts for us to drink.  Hard work, being a walking tourist, and we were thirsty!
Our buddy boat, Chesapeake, at anchor in Sulua Bay, Emae
A bean snake on the vine.
The Big Sista ferry loading people, pigs, peanuts, and produce to take back to Pt Vila.  They threw the bags and bundles from one man to the next and then into the ferry in any available space they could find.  How folks found their stuff when they got off is a mystery!  It was a sight that had me shaking my head in wonder.  But we soon gave up the ship watching and jumped in as there were large turtles swimming all around us here in Lamen Bay and the black sand made the water warm  and clear.

Karen and Jason on Karen's birthday

Linda and Karen on Karen's birthday

Jim and Jason eating the tamale pie Linda made for my birthday--yum.

A structure made of coconut tree trunks of varying sizes, giving it a sloped, spiral look.  Different than most here.

The normal mode of transport here in the islands--a dugout canoe with outrigger.  Usually made from a breadfruit tree chipped out by hand.  The outriggers are held by sticks and twine.

Bennington scraping coconut out of an open coconut for us to have fresh coconut cream.  She was a delight and had a garden that provided us with our fresh fruits and veges before we left Epi.

Dried fish hanging from a tree.  Not a clue as to why....

Big Sista leaving Lamen Bay.  Once the goods were loaded, they hauled the anchor and started motoring off as it they were on a schedule.  Notice the tender they'd used to ferry the goods from shore to the ferry is still hanging out on the crane arm.  They pulled it up and over and situated it on the roof as the ferry was motoring out around the point.  Amazing.

Pretty datura blooms hanging from one of Bennington's trees.  She has quite the green thumb and has lots of colorful flowers.

More of the colorful growth in her yard.

Still more colorful blooms.
The Blue Hole on Espiritu Santo.  The color of the blue was unreal!  And the water was clear, clean and cool.

The clarity of the water near the structure by one of the 2 blue holes we went to.  You can just see the rope swing in the upper left corner.  Yep, we used it.

A pretty little conch shell I found on Santo, as Espiritu Santo is known.

A live helmut shell that I brought up to show Jason.  You can't really see the detailed beauty of the shell in this photo.  I put him back where I found him after the photo.

The blue hole again.
Jason snorkelingin the blue hole.  That water is about 20 feet deep and you can see the bottom clearly.

Karen on the rope swing into the blue hole.  Cowabunga dude!

Karen enjoying a glass of wine on one of our rumble seats on YOLO.

A live cowrie I found snorkeling at Santo.  Yes I put him back.

Some of the dead and empty cowrie shells I found snorkeling at Santo.

Twists of tobacco for sale in the market in Luganville.  They have such artistic presentation of the tobacco here.

Linda, Jim, Jason, Karen in front of the market at Luganville on Espiritu Santo.

Bags of dried coconut (copra) in a warehouse at Luganville.  You could smell the coconut here and the containers of copra were opened during the day to air to make sure they didn't explode in spontaneous combustion.  What a rat haven this must be!  Rats love coconut and many of the fallen nuts in the wild have round holes chewed into them by the rats.

Karen holding down a small wahoo we landed.  Very good eating, these.

Bundles of peanuts for sale at the market.

A green lizard or gecko on a tree in Luganville.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Colorful Port Vila, Vanuatu Sept/Oct 2012

Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu and is taking over as the commercial center from Luganville on Espiritu Santo to the north.  Pt. Vila has such a colorful and complete market; I just loved shopping there for all the fresh produce!
Heaps of local raspberries inthe center were a treat I couldn't pass up.
 Bundles of coconuts and rolls of banana leaves used for cooking.

Yummy yellow cooking bananas.  I bought that bunch on the right and they were perfect!  Saute in a bit of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg; sometimes I added a drizzle of honey, too.  Like candy for breakfast.  Notice the women sitting/laying behind their offerings.  They stay there, sleeping at night there and leave when they are sold out or the ferry comes to take them home.

Lady finger, cooking and eating bananas by the stalk.

Ladies husking coconuts for drinking and/or eating.

Plastic bags are sold to carry your goodies home in if you didn't bring your own shopping bag.  I always carry at least 2 reusable bags in my backpack and usually have a plastic bag or 2 also.

So much to sell, they put it in the middle of the aisle, too.
Outside, they sell these beautiful flowers for cheap.  Absolutely gorgeous!!

More blooms for sale at the market.

Women shelling nuts and stringing them on the spines of a coconut frond.
They sold ready-made food at the market, too.  Home made dishes served on banana leaves.

This is the woven backpack I bought at the market for about $5 and the skewered lettuce heads that filled it while I continued shopping.  The palm frond spine through the cores of the lettuce heads held them together and they seemed to last for weeks.

No shortage of potatoes--regular and sweet.  Baskets of taro root and potatoes filled a huge section of the floor of the market.  The baskets are woven from palm fronds and are free to carry the goods when you buy them in bulk like this.
An old double-masted schooner and a modern 4-masted superyacht.  They were both anchored near us in the bay at Pt. Vila.

Pt Vila waterfront as you enter the anchorage.  Heading off to the right, you enter the mooring field where most yachties spent their time here.

A huge colorful mural as the wall of the Post Office.

A different wall outside the Post Office.
Tribal ceremonial masks, headdresses and carvings in a shop in Pt. Vila.  All the artifacts came from the island of Ambrym.  These were the most unusual items I think I saw for sale here.  Very authentic but most were made of items that wouldn't clear Customs in our countries.

This headdress was made of formed spider webs, feathers and bark.  Very different.

More masks used for local 'kastom' ceremonies.

A statue of a man in a 'namba' (penis sheath).

More tribal masks from Ambrym.
We spent an afternoon at the Secret Garden, a cultural center and a place with so much to see about Vanuatu, that we all saw something others didn't.  Info overload, but it was fun.
Jason and Karen in a cutout of a czannibal wearing a namba

A photo of women in local tribal costume.  The caption mentions that women come below pigs in consideration of a man's wealth!

A tree face in the Secret Garden.

We were allowed into the cages of the animals here at the Secret Garden.  These fruit bats were so curious that they wouldn't hang still for us to get many photos.  They kept wanting to come sniff my fingers holding the camera.

Fruit bats

Jason holding a Pacific boa.

Karen and Jason with banded iguanas.

Our friend Linda from Chesapeake (and my shopping buddy) with the female and male banded iguanas.  The male has the white stripes.  We had to pluck them off the foliage in their cages to get the shots.

Photo of a cannibal from the early to mid-1900's.

Karen in another cutout of a tribal woman at the Secret Garden.

Karen on tire swing at Secret Garden.

Jason next to a carved tam tam (drum).  We saw lots of these during our visit to Vanuatu and they are used today in most villages to signal gatherings for church or school or for ceremonial dances.  The carving is usually quite good; they are made from a single tree trunk.

Karen with the Pacific boa draped around her neck.

Inside a living hut at Secret Garden.

Photos of the nambas.

Another namba photo.  We actually saw men dressed like this in Luganville at the grocery store.  But usually, they dress like this for ceremonial dances only.  Shorts and t-shirts have become quite popular.