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Published: September 4th 2018
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
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 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
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
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.”
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