The village would hide inside if a cyclone came
Back in Efate again - at least this time it is not raining - WOW it looks so much nicer.
As usual we had nothing booked on arriving at airport, after trying one place (too expensive) we ened up at the Nirvana. Great place but empty - as usual we were the only guests. This place had a coral beach, although the same issue of only being able to swim at high tide. We worked out the last day would be great as the tide would be high around 10am, it was really not warm enough to swim prior to that.
On our way to this resort we went past a Surf shop - and yes they DO surf. I had never heard of surfing in Vanuatu - but then I had not heard anything much about the islands at all. We watched one surfer - you’d have to be good, no soft landings if you come off.
The resort is new and well done, but it is a long way down a very rough dirt track - OK the first couple of trips to town but you soon got sick of it. The next day we did a
round island tour - that was fantastic, our guide was new and prepared to go with only 2 (normally 4 minimum) and he was full of knowledge. The road, like the one on Santo is slowly being turned into tarmac so it won’t be long before this trip is quicker and easier. With the right guide, definitely a trip worth doing. We stopped at a custom village to watch the local dancing and to learn about cocounts. The dancing here was amazing, the coconut lesson was surprisingly fascinating. We stopped for lunch at his brothers place and they actually served local food which was great. There are no restaurants in Vila that do - they are all foreign owned, but I still don’s understand why they don’t sell local food options too. Maybe because they could not charge so much for the same piece of meat. After lunch we went to the hot springs - at the source they are so hot you could not touch the water, further away they are used for people to bath - supposedly to cure stuff. You roll in the mud first, then relax in the hot water. The highlight from this trip was
most definitely the knowledge, but coming close second was the scenery. For me that is - Steve just loved the old WW11 place. An old Ni-Van collector, lost his stamp collection in a fire years ago so started collecting old US coke bottles, then added beer bottles and all sorts of other stuff. He is a very passionate man and has also taught himself an American accent - it was very funny, but now also a great way to get a little cash from tourists.
With only a couple of days left, we decided that tomorrow we would go to Mele cascades and over to snorkel on hideaway island, leaving the last day for snorkelling at our own resort and just chilling out.
Off we went to the cascades, about a half hour hike up a path which was so pretty. Gardens are important and all planted out so well that I can look at them for hours. The falls and pools are stunning, again like everywhere on the islands the water is so clear. Even with the sun poking out a bit, it was still not hot - very pleasant temperature in fact for walking. We did
see a couple of other tourists on their way down but other than that we had this place to ourselves too. I can imagine that in high season it would be so packed it would not be that nice. Near the top there is a lookout over mele village and hideaway island - now that would be a great place for a house.
We hiked down and decided to walk to the ferry to Hideaway island - this turned out to be much further than we thought (about an hour) but it was a pleasant walk.
Hideaway is a coral island and sits quite high, it is only small but was actually busy. We saw more tourists here than anywhere else. Mainly because it is heavily advertised overseas and also as it is the main base for divers. After lunch we went snorkelling - the tide was going out but there was such large areas of dead coral that you could swim and snorkel around the live stuff. I found it very disappointing for coral but great for fish, a large variety and lots of them. After a couple of hours we were too cold to go in
again so headed back to Nirvana. I was now really looking forward to snorkelling at our place as it was so much less trafficked that the coral should still be good. There was certainly plenty of fish as we would see them jumping out of the water every morning.
The next day on waking the cut that I had got days ago in the cave was very painful and red, I was finding it hard to walk well. The owner told us stories of coral cuts and he took us into town to go to the pharmacy for anti-biotics. By the time we got back it was getting bigger and harder to walk and became obvious that there was no-way I was going to be able to snorkel. I was so disappointed as this was also the first day with completely clear blue sky - and it was actually hot. Such a shame but at least the last day was a better time than earlier. In the evening we went into town for dinner, not such a great idea as my leg was swelling by the minute, by the time the meal arrived I felt thoroughly rough and could
not eat it. I even needed help from a local to get up the drive to a taxi (a bus was just too hard by now). Bit of a sad way to end a holiday really, goodbye Vanuatu. Thanks to the fantastic locals for being such lovely honest, friendly people, it made the holiday something special.
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