Sunrise from the deck.
On day three, we woke up around 5am (without the help of any alarms) and decided that rather than going back to sleep, it would be nice to sit out on the deck and watch the sun rise. The fare came with a complimentary mini bottle of Moet and Chandon and no sunrise is complete without champagne (of course) so we grabbed our dressing robes (just to complete the picture) and champagne glasses and headed out onto the deck. Such extravagance... and a beautiful start to yet another day in paradise - watching the sun rise and the fish slowly gather in the waters below our fare.
We were booked in for the 10am Mele Cascades tour with Evergreen so at a quarter to 10, we headed over to the mainland and waited to be picked up. There ended up being only 2 other people on the bus - Louis and Ana - who were newlyweds and were also staying at Iririki (most people we ran into seemed to be staying at Iririki!). We picked the Mele Cascades tour option that took you through a local village and the botanical gardens before heading up to the falls. It was fascinating to
It was only an itty bitty bottle but it was Moet and Chandon ;)
drive through the village though it felt a bit weird to be driving through where people live (imagine what it would be like if there were tour buses driving through suburbia back home - weird thought, hey!). I don't know if the villagers really appreciated us coming through, though the children all waved, and even the occasional adult did too. Our guide gave us some background on village life as we drove through.
After leaving the village, we headed to "The Secret Garden" (which is the botanical gardens). Unfortunately, due to time constraints we only got a whirlwind tour of the botanical gardens but it was still an interesting tour. The guide was the owner's nephew and he had quite a knowledge of everything in the gardens and was more than happy to answer any questions we had. After the botanical gardens, it was time to head to the falls. We climbed to the top, stopping at a lookout along the way then swam in the pools for an hour or so. Afterwards we had a BBQ lunch. An interesting difference between here and Aus - in Aus, your guides socialise with you - in Vanuatu, the guides socialise amongst
Mmm... nothing like bubbles whilst watching the sun rise
themselves and leave the tourists to entertain each other during mealtimes, etc, which is a real pity as it would have been nice to chat to the guides and learn more about how they and their families live.
There were locals swimming at the pools near where the picnic tables were but only a couple went up to the top of the falls to swim.
We got back to our drop off point around 2pm and just relaxed in our fare until it was time to beautify ourselves for the Sunset Cruise with Meridien Charters. Pickup was at 4:45pm and we got there in plenty of time. With the sunset cruise, you got 3 free drinks (and free nibbles) and then you had to pay for any extra drinks you wanted. When we boarded the boat, we were given a drink of our choice and handed two pegs. Each peg was worth 1 drink. It was a pretty good way to keep track of how many drinks you had left as not many people carry pegs on them so the only way you could try to cheat and get a free drink would be by stealing someone else's pegs :P
The early bird
This bird was fossicking on the rocks next to our fare as the sun was rising
Very smart thinking on the operator's behalf! The crew on the boat were quite nice and as we noticed at lots of businesses in Vanuatu, the business was run/owned by a Westerner and crewed by Ni-van. The day had been a bit overcast and it looked like we were going to get rained on at one point but the rain held off thankfully aside from a couple of very light mists. The Ni-Van they hired for entertainment was good but then unfortunately, a couple of guests decided to take over the microphone and guitar. The guy on the guitar wasn't too bad though his choice of music wasn't overly fitting for a sunset cruise. His wife/girlfriend who took on the task of vocals had us beating a hasty retreat to the back of the boat though, with fingers in ears and visions of strangled cats. We were very disappointed with our fellow cruisers - they seemed a lot more interested in getting smashed and making fools out of themselves than in the beautiful sunset that was hanging over the ocean. We consoled ourselves with the fact that at least WE were enjoying it (and taking plenty of happy snaps to
Sunrise from the deck.
relive the sunset later). All in all, it was an enjoyable cruise aside from the company we were forced to keep 😉 but that seemed to be a fairly common theme of our trip - we enjoyed ourselves a lot more when we were away from the masses. Most people seemed to be there to party, whereas we were there to absorb the local culture and atmosphere.
After the sunset cruise, we decided to head into town to hunt down some dinner. After a wander through town, we discovered that only two places were open - Ma Barkers and Olympic Takeaway. We decided to go to Ma Barker's as Scott was in the mood for a steak (and we'd eaten at Olympic the day before).
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