Published: May 24th 2006February 15th 2006
Our transport for the day
The Coongoola. Can you believe we had around 30 people cooped up on this boat? Only the lucky ones first on board managed to get a seat
Wednesday was the day we were to go on the South Seas Adventure Cruise/Fun In The Sun/Coongoola Cruise - we were given 3 different names throughout the course of booking and confirming this tour, but hopefully they were all the same thing. Either way, we ended up on a boat called Coongoola. We were supposed to be picked up at 8:10am so we made sure we were there 10 minutes early and we waited... and we waited... and we waited... and then a bus rocked up but alas, we weren't allowed to go on this bus (why? I do not know! For some reason, they don't organise the buses by resort, they just put random people from various resorts onto the one bus - talk about dumb!) so we waited and waited and then waited some more. Eventually, after half an hour or so after our supposed pickup time, another bus eventually arrived and took us on the rather long, bumpy drive to where the boat was anchored. Scott noticed immediately (being the engineer that he is) that there seemed to be more potholes than bitumen making up the road. Some of the hills on Efate are unbelievably steep and we
I was surprised to see that they still use the traditional canoes
thought there was no way our bus was going to make it up them but amazingly, it did and we eventually arrived at our destination. It was with sinking hearts that we looked across at the Coongoola - already aboard there looked to be at least 20 people and they'd already hogged the shade so it was going to be mighty crowded and hot aboard the boat. *sigh* It seemed we were the last to arrive!! No one was sitting in the middle of the covered section, as then they couldn't move around as they pleased but no one was willing to move so that we could go in the middle either. Thankfully, at morning tea everyone went to the cabin to get something to eat and drink so we took the opportunity then to crawl into the middle of the covered deck and snaffle ourselves a space in the shade.
The usual beach the cruise goes to was being used for yet another reality TV show (Survivor style) so we headed to a beach on Moso Island instead. The group was sort of divided into two and half headed to a cave on Moso Island while the rest went
Approaching the Cave
Our tour on Moso Island included a visit to a cave
on a snorkelling tour. We lost the instructor pretty quickly and couldn't spot where the group had gone (there was quite a chop on the water) so we just swam around by ourselves. A guy and his two kids ended up near us and we couldn't believe it when he held his kids up so they could stand on the huge outcrops of coral just below the surface. With all the hype in the media in Australia about how the tourists are destroying the Great Barrier Reef, you'd think any Aussie would be fully aware of the fact that you shouldn't touch and especially not STAND on the coral!!
A BBQ lunch was served after everyone had returned from their morning activities. (If you see the photo attached of Kate in front of the BBQ hut, notice that the Ni-Van cook is smiling in the background. LOVE IT!! We both cracked up laughing when we saw the photo in detail a week later.) There was only one table at which to sit so most people had to balance their plate on their lap, which isn't easy when the seats aren't level! The lunch area had only been recently put together
The beach in front of the Cave
Our tour on Moso Island included a visit to a cave
by the looks of it so it's not overly surprising that the facilities weren't that good either. The toilets were absolutely disgusting and were showing the signs that a few of its patrons were suffering from traveller's diarrhoea. Nice :S People were supposed to carry a bucket of sea water to the toilet with them to flush it but it looked like many were too lazy.
The afternoon's activities involved motoring over to the Tranquility Island Dive Resort, where we had the option of doing more snorkelling or just lazing around on the beach after a visit to the Hawksbill Turtle Sanctuary. If we washed our hands, we were allowed to put our hands in the tanks and touch the turtles. It was really cool to see the turtles up close though you had to be careful that you kept your hands away from their mouths, as they had quite a bite!
When we got back to town, Kate realised she'd left her sarong on the bus so we headed back to the markets yet again to get a replacement (Kate:- yes, I really do need 8 sarongs...). At the markets, we met another one of the stall owners, Isaaciah.
Inside the Cave
A cyclone that came through a week or two before our trip caused large trees to come crashing through the roof of the cave.
Isaaciah runs a stall in the market with his family. Every year, Isaaciah travels overseas with his church to spread the word and attend seminars. We were absolutely amazed as he rattled off the list of all the countries he's been to. Isaaciah would have a lot less money than us yet he's been to probably 4 times the amount of countries that we've been to combined!! Unbelievable! We talked with Isaaciah for ages. It seemed there was so much we could talk about with him, but we didn't want to miss out on our final sunset in Vanuatu. Isaaciah's little son was at the stall that afternoon and he was an absolute cutie. He came over while we were talking to his Dad and grabbed onto both of us and swung off our hands then went back to his Dad whilst smiling at us shyly. He followed us when we left the markets and hung around us while we took photos of the sunset. Kate asked him if she could take his photo and he smiled and nodded. She tried to show him the photo afterwards but he didn't seem to understand what she was trying to do. The
The World Outside
What lay at the other end of the cave
screen was pretty small though so he probably couldn't tell that the photo was of him. He seemed to be grinning regardless of what we said or did (except of course for when Kate took the photo).
We didn't feel like going anywhere for dinner that night, so we decided to take advantage of room service and dine in our room. We got the seafood pizza again though it wasn't as good as the first time. The tandoori chicken pizza was pretty good too, although 2 pizzas was way too much food!!
There are more photos below