The volcanic haze as it usually appears near Ranon. We missed most of this as we timed our stay for luck this time.
There was a hot river at the edge of the black sand that was fed by the volcano-heated waters further inland. It was too hot to stay in at some places, but we found some spots that were like hot tubs and did our laundry and relaxed in the hot waters.
Emma and Karen in the cave at Baouma Pt. Emma was from a nearby village and had spent the night on the beach with some tourists. The tourists were taken back to their accommodation by a boat and Emma remained.
Emma showing us how the matted material on the cave floor could be folded over and used as a blanket.
Emma digging a crab out of the sand. Note the bits of plant debris in her hair. She was dirty and smudged, but had such a welcome smile and was very friendly and knowledgeable. She told us how she uses her slingshot (called a "lastic") to kill birds and how she finds wild bird eggs to eat. People leave their leftover food in the cave for the next person to use.
This blob was edible and a treat for Emma. She carried it home to eat later along with a second one we found in the tide pools.
Fellow cruisers encouraged us to stop at Ranon and pay the price to see a 'rom dance'. It was expensive, but very different from anything we'd seen yet. This is also where they dress in the 'nambas' we'd seen in photos and read about. Nambas are penis sheaths woven from plants and worn by the men tucked into belts. So very unusual and found only here. We had to hike about 45 minutes straight up a dirt path to reach the village of Fanla where the men perform the rom dance for tourists. It is meant as a prayer for, or thanks for, a good yam harvest. The view of our yachts below shows the beach blankets on the black sand in the village of Ranon as we began the uphill hike.
The men in Fanla village carting veges from their farms. This one has taro plants balanced on a stick.These are pictures we took while the villagers did their rom dance for us. We were allowed to walk around the ceremonial area while they were dancing but were not supposed to get closer than 1 meter to the men while they were performing.
This was an old lady on the path up to the village. The hike up about killed me, and these villagers carry everything they buy and sell up and down this hill. They must have healthy hearts.
Rom dance. It really was just a bunch of stamping and stomping and chanting in their language. They performed several 'songs' for us.
Rom dancers. The guys in the grass outfits kept the four corners of the group of dancers. If we got too close, they shook those stick arms at us.Great costumes. The one guy beat the handheld tam tam/drum to keep the beat.
I thought it was cute that they covered their butt cracks with branches of leaves. I imagine that has come about in the modern ages for modesty.
Stick arms warded off interlopers. Linda wanted to buy one but couldn't figure out how to get it past Customs and into the USA.
Chief Bong with the arm's length flute. The other dancer in the photo is the one who carved the flute I bought.
Chief Bong with his curved boar's tusks necklace, just like the drum figure behind him. They are a sign of great wealth and respect and only the highest persons in the village are allowed to wear them.
Carvings and tam tam drums in the ceremonial area. The rom dance is only allowed to be performed in the one place in the village.
Looking up at a palm tree whose fronds seemed to form a circle. On the steep path up to Fanla to see the rom dance.
The nakamal hut (community house) where the rom dance costumes are stored. Tam tams surrounded the entire dance area.
The nakamal house is built out of fern tree logs, pretty unusual. We weren't allowed to touch it or go inside.
The High Chief's house just beyond the ceremonial area. We could look through the bushes at it but weren't allowed to go into that area. It is still considered sacred and not a tourist site to be visited.
Karen in Fanla after the grueling 45-minute hike up the steep trail I really, really appreciated the coconut drink once we got there. I felt as whipped as I look!
Karen and Chief Bong after the rom dance. He is in his namba, with his carved walking stick and curved boar's tusk necklace. What a face, eh?
Linda testing the new tam tam being carved. They already had the place picked out for this one to stand. Note Linda's woven backpack she bought when I bought mine in Pt. Vila.