LAST STOP, VANUATU


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Oceania » Vanuatu » Hideaway Island
December 6th 2017
Published: September 4th 2018
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BLUE WATERBLUE WATERBLUE WATER

This is what I'll remember about Vanuatu...clear blue water and beautiful corals.
LAST STOP, VANUATU

Vanuatu… I love the name; it just rolls off my tongue.

When I got to Vanuatu, as usual, I was tired after traveling and just wanted to rest. Beautiful weather and a beautiful swimming pool still could not lure me from my room. I ate and browsed the internet looking for a dive resort. Many people fly to Espiritu Santo Island for diving but I had limited time and even more limited energy. I saw there was a little island resort nearby, Hideaway Island, so I packed up my luggage and changed hotels.

Hideaway is only a five minute ferry ride from the mainland. The ferry runs all day. If it is not moored on your side there is a signal to press and the boat driver will return quickly to pick you up and deposit you on the other shore. The island itself reminds me of Fantasy Island, the island in the 1980’s television show. It is so peaceful and relaxing with palm trees and umbrellas. I never just sit on the beach in a lounge chair, but I could envision myself doing just that, here on Hideaway Island.

My inexpensive twin-share room
SCORPION FISHSCORPION FISHSCORPION FISH

Usually so well camouflaged you can barely see them, this guy was clearly visable.
had a wide deck with a good view of the public beach. Hideaway is a local playground. Families come for the day, so it is a fun people-watching place. I was here to dive, however, so I introduced myself at the dive shop and booked some dive days.

Bottled water is available at the bar, but it is expensive. I talked with my mother-daughter neighbors and they said they took a bus to town and bought snacks and bottled water at the grocery store. I decided I was going to do that, but first I went diving. I did two dives, one on a small sunken fishing vessel and the other on a very nice reef. When I got back there were dignitaries on the beach to christen the new underwater post office. I bought some underwater postcards for friends and family…at six dollars a card it adds up fast.

I slipped in a fast trip to town. At least I thought it would be a fast trip. Instead, I walked about half a mile in the boiling sun to reach the main road. Then I waited and waited for a bus. Eventually a van pulled up with
DIVEMASTER WITH WRECKDIVEMASTER WITH WRECKDIVEMASTER WITH WRECK

Wrecks are so hard to photograph without a wide-angle lens.
the identifying letter on the license plate that indicated it was a taxi. It was inexpensive and the driver was very kind. Instead of the nearest 7-Eleven store, he took me to the covered market place in town. I bought a lovely lei, handmade by a local woman. We had a great conversation. Another lady wanted to put some braids in my hair, but I had to hurry because there was a fire dance performance this evening. I found the supermarket and bought some goodies and some water, then caught another taxi.

I needn’t have rushed…the performance, like Hideaway, was very relaxed, waiting to start until lots of pizza and beer had been purchased. Little children danced in the sand under the lights while we waited. The dark sea glittering in the moonlight was also full of children riding the waves, giggling, shouting, and cooling off.

The Fire Dancing was not a cultural show, although there were a couple of Tahitian type hulas. It was more like a Las Vegas show on the beach but without the scanty clothes. Most of the men, breathing fire and twirling sticks with fire on both ends, wore ripped jeans and the
BONZERBONZERBONZER

The tugboat...good visibility.
girls wore ordinary loose dresses. It was great entertainment. And it was free.

Because of an electrical problem I had to move to a more expensive private bungalow. The suite was way too large for one person. There was an inviting master bedroom, a small food preparation area, a spacious well-appointed bathroom and a huge sitting area with a bunk bed tucked in the corner. Out back was a private deck, a hammock and even a private beach, but I really liked the view from my old room.

I continued to dive during the day, finished early and did some blogging. The food was good, but a bit expensive. Twice there was a movie on the beach. It was special to watch Disney's Moana with stars overhead, a gentle breeze and the soft murmur of the sea. On my final day I posted the mail at the underwater post office. It was not as easy as I had imagined. I had no weight belt and I was still in my wet suit, so I was fighting buoyancy to get down to the post box. I managed to put one card in the box and had the divemaster post
TABLE CORALTABLE CORALTABLE CORAL

There were so many of these, some huge, and often several fish hiding underneath them.
the others for me. Since he was diving in his board shorts he had no trouble snorkeling down to the post office which was in only twenty feet of water.

The next day I got a taxi to the international airport to start my long flight home.

Three hours after our departure time, the airline cancelled our flight. I was surprised. Since I was on my way home it was not problem for me, but it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. People were short-tempered and the hotel staff was overwhelmed. They put us up at three different hotels in town. It was a relief to get on with the trip home. International flights offer more amenities than the shorter flights I had been taking. I watched three movies and during transfers I enjoyed chai lattes at Starbucks.

At last, “Hello, Seattle.”


Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


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HERMIT CRABHERMIT CRAB
HERMIT CRAB

I like these crabs...especially their eyes. Its always a treat to see them.
CUTTLEFISHCUTTLEFISH
CUTTLEFISH

Quick to change color and sometimes they jet away so rapidly you can squeeze off only one photo. Other times they linger and change colors as you photograph them.
ANOTHER CUTTLEFISHANOTHER CUTTLEFISH
ANOTHER CUTTLEFISH

This one is trying to blend in with the rocks.
MORAY EELMORAY EEL
MORAY EEL

I love taking photographs of eels.
DART FISH AND SEA STARDART FISH AND SEA STAR
DART FISH AND SEA STAR

Dart fish are hard to photograph because they usually swim into their burrow too quickly to press the shutter button. I didn't notice this unusual sea star until I copied this photo for the blog.
SENDING POSTCARDSSENDING POSTCARDS
SENDING POSTCARDS

There is a post box as well as a post office. I struggled to stay down long enough to get the card in the slot.
 THE POST OFFICE THE POST OFFICE
THE POST OFFICE

Recommisioning the post office was a BIG deal, with the mayor and the press present.
NEMONEMO
NEMO

I included this photo just to show how clear the visibility is in Vanuatu.


6th September 2018

Trip of a lifetime
For a diver you've just completed a trip we all dream of... you've now been in the waters of some very amazing, wonderful and famous dive spots. Your pictures make me wan to be on the next flight. Love to see a summary blog about what went well and what didn't. Which dive experience was your favorite and did any of them fall short. Did you plan the trip well and what would you have done differently for next time. MJ
16th February 2019

I'll Make a Note...
If I make a note on my phone, maybe on the calendar, I will try to do a summary. I am still about six or seven blogs behind so it may be a while before I get to it. If you have specific questions, please just ask. Oh, my best tip today is remove the cardboard from a roll of paper towels and stick the towels in your bag. They are so useful, especially in Burma. Use them to wipe your feet after wandering through pagodas and temples. Just cover them when you leave the room. The maids took mine in the Philippines.

Tot: 1.427s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 9; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0185s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb