Blogs from Tanna, Vanuatu, Oceania

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Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 16th 2012

Tales of unique religious practices have emanated from Tanna Island for decades, a place where seemingly mortal humans are accorded divine status. There is the Prince Philip movement, which worships the Duke of Edinburgh, but far more popular is the John Frum movement, where their figure of veneration is a US Marine. Since I am drawn to observing different religions, it was inevitable that my journey to Tanna would seek out one of these faiths. The village where I stayed possessed an extraordinary sense of community, as evidenced by the story of a husband and wife unable to have children, so when the husband’s brother fathered twins, he gave one to the infertile couple to raise as a child of their own. Another expression of this communal spirit was the Sunday morning church service at the ... read more
US Marine and US flags being respectfully folded - Lamakala, Tanna Island, Vanuatu
View from the balcony of my cottage - Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Ni-Vanuatu lady - Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 13th 2012

The afternoon arrival at Tanna Island’s modest airport commenced a quest that was as astonishing as it was exhilarating – a journey to view Mount Yasur, claimed to be the world’s second most active volcano with its constant Strombolian eruptions. The off-road vehicle drove along the deeply potholed and creviced road that caused all occupants to rattle around as we bumped and bounced our way to the island’s east side. We travelled across the mountains that scar the middle of Tanna, and we climbed into the smothering fog that obscured everything else from sight. By the time we descended into the valley, night surrounded us and the vehicle’s dull headlights barely illuminated the road, so the scenery comprised of fleeting images of trees encroaching onto the narrow thoroughfare. Suddenly, the landscape dramatically changed from a definite ... read more
Mount Yasur's ash plain - Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Smoke and lava in action - Mount Yasur volcano, Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Large pieces of lava are catapulted into the sky - Mount Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 5th 2012

In September 2012, Paul and I had one of the most amazing holidays in Vanuatu. We had the pleasure of staying three nights on Tanna Island where we had the chance to snorkel with sea turtles, climb an active volcano, smoke with a ‘real’ village Chief, experience the way of life with the welcoming Lowinio village people and much more! Tanna Island is such a beautiful island and quite different from the rest of Vanuatu. It was truly another adventure of its own. Just a short 35 minute flight from Port Vila, it’s the home of Mount Yasur– the world’s most accessible active volcano. The Island is surrounded by the blue waters of the South Pacific and is one of the southern-most islands of Vanuatu. There is a lot to see and do in Tanna – ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 27th 2010

Sadly it was time to leave Tanna. Prince was sorry to see us leave and Peter looked like he was going to cry, Stella was going to check our luggage to make sure we hadn't stolen them! The plane was delayed so we spent a couple of hot humid hours at the airport. At Port Vila we made our way to the Boat House. A lovely, nearly finished house on the water not far from town. We have our own private beach with beanbags to watch the sunset. We had the excellent Merguez sausages from the supermarket and French bread. ... read more
Tanna Lodge
Cows on the beach
Tanna Lodge

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 26th 2010

We took a 4x4 to the black sand beach. It was the best sand ever! Powder fine and glinting black. The beach was long and just beautiful, with perfect rollers crashing in. Behind was the dirt road with coconut groves and steep jungle covered hills behind. There was a little thatched shelter on the edge of the beach where we had our picnic lunch. Tom and Grace immediately made friends with the local kids who were there for a day out. Peter came with his sister. Everyone played with the blow-up boards and in the rip. They made sand sculptures of crocodiles and we made one of a kangaroo. Tom then showed them the drag-stick game. We ate baked bean sandwiches. All too soon it was time to go home and we stopped quickly at some ... read more
Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beach
Black Sand Beach

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Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 25th 2010

In the morning we went to Louinio a custom village about half an hour from the resort. We were met by a young woman in a grass top and skirt. She explained how they were made, which involved stripping the fibre from some vines, soaking them in the sea for a couple of weeks and then weaving them into the clothes. We walked down to the welcome hut and were showed various plants on the way. We were taken to a garden and were told how it all works. Children are given a small patch to look after, this gets bigger as they get older. They do crop rotation, alternating yams and the other vegetables. They also feed pigs and chickens. The pigs are fed coconut flesh with juice from a special leaf to help them ... read more
Louinio custom village
Louinio custom village
Louinio custom village

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 24th 2010

In the morning we walked down to the market in Lenakel. We saw some older ladies under a tree stripping banana leaves to make baskets and mats. The market was under a huge banyan tree. For sale there were taro, cava roots, banana, carrots, yam, tomatoes, sweet potato, sweet bread, pawpaw, peanuts, bread fruit, coconuts and live chickens (that Grace wanted to save!). Tom had some sweet bread wrapped in banana leaf, we bought some peanuts, a pawpaw to ripen and some tomatoes. We also bought a big woven bag for the beach and a small pretty one for Grace. Sum drove us home and Tom and Grace stood in the back of the ute. After lunch we went to Mt Yasur volcano. It was a long and very bumpy drive, over the mountains in the ... read more
Market at Lenakel
Market at Lenakel
Market at Lenakel

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 23rd 2010

The plane ride was fine and very quick. when we arrived it was a bit bumpy. we were picked up by Sum and taken to the resort. We were welcomed with a fresh pawpaw juice (pureed pawpaw with a bit of lime). The bungalow was made of concrete with a thatched roof. it is right in front of the ocean and the waves are extremely loud. the first night none of us slept very well. It sounded like bombs were going off! ... read more
Sunset on Tanna Island
Sunset on Tanna Island
View of surf beach from our villa

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna September 9th 2010

September 9 2010 Tanna Island, Vanuatu - Unbelievable Hi guys, greetings from the nav station on Sunboy as we motor sail from the island of Tanna in Vanuatu bound for Noumea in New Caledonia. We made it into Tanna last Friday morning quite early and were helped into the anchorage from Norm who is sailing solo on a massive 80 foot sloop. We met Norm in Tahiti and he is just an amazing guy, 65 years of age, an Australian by birth but has lived and worked all over the world and sails this huge boat so easily and so relaxed he makes even the most competent cruiser look on with awe. Anyway, Norm guided us in through the pass and we got the pick down on the volcanic sand bottom without a problem. The anchorage ... read more

Oceania » Vanuatu » Tanna August 27th 2010

Awe. Terror. Excitement. Fear. Amazement. Disbelief. Never before have I experience all these emotions coursing through me simultaneously. But then, never before have I stood on the craters edge of an erupting volcano. Every time the bubbling lava pool let out an ear deafening blast followed by a fountain of bright orange lava shooting 300 feet into the air, my body would want to run but my mind couldn’t get enough of this natural firework show. In response to each eruption, my conflicting emotions would burst to the surface in the form of uncontrollable giggles. Giggles of terror! When we set sail from Fiji to Vanuatu, we planned to arrive on the island of Tanna where we could check into the country and see Mt Yasur, an easily accessible active volcano. We heard from other cruisers ... read more
Crater's Edge
I'm terrified!
Natural Fireworks!




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