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Published: January 13th 2012
Deck 10 Oasis
Child free zone
Today's shore excursion is to Champagne Bay which is situated on the East coast of Vanuatu's largest island, Espiritu Santo. This is Spanish for "Holy Spirit" and was first sighted by Europeans in 1606 when the Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandez de Quiros landed at Big Bay west of Champagne Bay.
The beach has fine white sand, and this fringes forests and mountains.
200 residents live in this bay and today they were all out flogging their wares. $2 for a photo with a snake, lizard or turtle, the usual sarongs, shirts and woven products as well as food such as banana, pineapple, passion fruit, coconut, mango, pawpaw, dried banana chips, dried tapioca chips, and a local nut that we used to eat in PNG which we called Gallup nuts. The market area was set up in a grassy area with clearly marked sand bays for each stall, hair braiding and massages were also on sale.
There was the usual offerings of village tours with mini buses and vans ready to take people away.
The most enterprising stalls were selling live and freshly caught crayfish, crabs and bugs, which they would cook on the
spot and thank you, $25-. They looked and smelt lovely.
Today was cool and squally with visibility for snorkeling very poor. Some nice coral with lots of plate and brain varieties growing off rocky bombies in 2-4 metre water.
The ships tenders took us to and fro today with an anchorage about 1km off shore. Tough job for them today with the choppy seas and rain.Most passengers are quite good humoured about any discomforts and I have not really seen anyone having a go and complaining.The tender staff take safety seriously, no hanging arms out of the windows nor standing up while in transit. They always lower 4 tenders, the same 4 each time. Technically each one can hold 141 passengers with seats for 103. They are fully equipped with life jackets and all emergency equipment and basic supplies in event of any disaster. Each of these are totally enclosed so don't imagine anything at all like The Titanic. You could comfortably be in one if these for a few days if needed.
After our first lunch in the waterfront restaurant we headed to the Lido deck which is level 12. This deck houses the
2 swimming pools, 1 adult only the other anyone, 2 spas, pool dancing deck, table tennis tables, bar, big screen and pool lounges and tables and chairs. This is party central and also the spot for the circus, Snygzy, which so far has been rained out.
We settled in the pool lounges in the shade, shelter and non smoking side and watched the movie "Red Dog" a great recent Australian movie. Lots of rain around this afternoon, grey skies and cool breezes, so a nice coffee from the cafe and a beer, with the sea behind you, what more could you want.
Another Karaoke session this afternoon, tried out Eva Cassidy's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" quite a tricky jazz number.
Early tea of a superb beef curry in the Plantation on Deck 12 with the most spectacular sunset we have seen on this trip. Reds, yellows, orange, greys and blues vividly set against a backdrop of the dark blue sea.
And to end the evening another great show in the Marquee, "Circus" involving the circus performers, dancers and singers and the most amazing elephant costumes I have ever seen. So far we
have seen 5 shows that the entertainers need to have memorized. Most admirable and under not so easy conditions, small cramped spaces, moving rolling stage, and the inability to escape anyone during the day.
A day at sea tomorrow and we have circled the "to do" on The Pacific Daily, which is delivered to our cabin each night for us to plan our next day. A real sleep in maybe, as the last 5 days have been getting organized to go somewhere on shore. Another laundry day too, the 1 laundry gets well used. Hand washing is easily done too with a pull out line in the shower easily drying smalls and swim clothes.
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