20 october Port Vila (VANUATU)

43° day trip

Three-hour flight to the west... we fly over a sea of whipped cream clouds... just before we were enthralled watching the beautiful Fijian Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands aboard our ATR42 of Fiji Airways...

The pilot announces that the descent begins, we fasten our seat belt and look out... still clouds that slowly begin to thin as a light mist...
The verdant islands of Vanuatu below us... The vegetation is very dense!

Glide path... welcome to Port Vila!

A group of musicians welcomes us with ukulele, small Fijian guitars and happy songs!

Outside the airport we negotiate with a local van and we dive straight into the messy traffic of the capital!

People are jovial and many of them greet us with a smile!
Sakaria, our driver, tells us a bit of the history of his island, and takes us to our Guesthouse! Backpacks on the ground, we are at Vanuatu!

There is a Japanese from Fukuoka in our lodge who has been here for months because she studies anthropology and a French from Reunion Island who works for the construction of water wells.

We relax enjoying this peace...

21 october Iririki Island (VANUATU)

We have a thousand projects for today... in the end, fascinated by the beauty of Iririki Island, we decide to grant a day of rest and therefore we reach this island in a few minutes by boat.

We set foot in this tropical paradise!
Once again I seem to live in an adventure book!

We spend the whole morning lounging in the sun and enjoying the carefree seabed by snorkeling!

Now I'm writing from the restaurant terrace... Stefy relaxes on a lounger by the pool... one of the best spots, the bay of Port Vila ie a green stripe between two blue masses: the blue sky and the cobalt sea.

22 october Tanna Island (VANUATU)

The flight Vila - Tanna lasts 40 minutes.

Tanna Island is wild, we like it.

The airport formalities are very "easy", roads are not paved and the natives "quite wild".

We stay at Alofa Beach Resort, or rather, two bungalows on the beach before the Pacific Ocean. The sound of the waves crashing on the rocks will be the soundtrack every night...

Lizzie, the very strong manager of our lodge, immediately makes us notice with pride that here we have electricity 24 hours a day and seven days a week.... but only in the two small bungalows! I was hoping to use the free wi fi... lol

The roof is made of woven palm leaves; Lizzie tells us that the spiders, although big, are not poisonous... good night!

23 october Tanna Island (VANUATU)

Lizzie takes us to Ringiau Daniel, one of the managers of tourism in Tanna; we chat about our website, our travels and our way of knowing the world!
He is excited and writes a letter that will we use as a pass in all the villages that we will cross and visit. What a luck!

On the way we see many men with their faithful machete in the hand, firewood on their backs, women with large banana leaves emerge from the bush and stop to greet these two white men who suddenly appear!

We stop at Yakel where you can still see the village life unfold unchanged for centuries.
We meet one of the boys of the tribe, one of the few English speaking, he is completely naked except for a small "penis sheath" called "namba" that dangles between his legs.
He takes us inside his small village, among his people, between the huts, among the naked children, including girls in skirt or old men sitting around the banyan tree drinking kava...

They reject progress and are strongly linked and rooted to their origins and continue living as their ancestors.

We witness the Kastom dance and we are literally kidnapped by their songs, their movements... women, men, children and elderly people dance in a circle kicking up clouds of dust that make this ceremony even more magical...

Not far away we meet Yapa Nikiauris, the village chief of a tribe that lives in the mountains, we have a lot of questions, he is one of five lucky men that, in 2007, was invited by a British television crew, to England to know their God: Prince Philip!

The interview is intense. His answers have reinforced my awareness of how far we are...
He says he is about fifty years old even though he is not so sure about it (he seems much older, who knows how old he really is!), they went across the globe to make only one question to their God, Prince Philip, in fact he is from Tanna!

We are a bit surprised by this revelation! The translator explains us that, actually, this is just a belief as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II has never been here! Decades before he had visited Port Vila but not Tanna.

He goes on saying that he did not like what he saw there. It’s unbelievable that we work to eat, here Nature feeds you...
Guests at some English families, they followed for a few weeks their life taking them in any activities of theirs, even the grooming of their pets.
The same day they saw horrified homeless suffering in the street... he concludes, yet saddened:
"The animals have to stay on the street and those men, who are our "brothers" must be helped!"

[Stefy]: "In the afternoon, in 4x4, we move to the Yasur volcano. The road is really bumpy, full of large potholes and mud. We walk along the 25 km that separate us from the slopes of the smoldering volcano in almost two hours...

Here we are! Under our feet an endless expanse of black ash. It looks like a lunar landscape. The Yasur volcano is constantly active, erupting about every 15 minutes...

A strong wind throws, it's cold and the smoke of  the volcano envelops everything. When you go up and you get close to the crater you feel really impressive whistles and roars. Lava, our faithful guide tells many legends about his "brother" Yasur!
At the top we look within, and behold, after yet another powerful roar, incandescent lapilli soar into the sky that contrast with the white steam. A unique experience!
Under your feet you feel that the earth is alive and breathes, it speaks from within, a heart lava lights the evening... we are so small...

Fiery stones are violently hurled against the walls, a strength that only nature can have. The noise of the eruptions is very strong and continuous. It's a unique feeling!"

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