The local inhabitants of Anaton Island do their best to survive by offering the tourists, that are brought in bu cruise ship or light aircraft, a cheap activity. Here the outrigger canoe seems to be self service and business seems to be a little slow. Undaunted by the coral reefs and beautifully clear water.....I went snorkelling!!!
Outrigger Hire COST.........AUS$10.00 up front, unlimited use of the outrigger and AUS$5.00 refunded on return of the outrigger! I just don't know who you pay or where they expect that you will take the outrigger considering you are at least 600 km's from the nearest point of civilisation!
It is known, and confirmed by locals, that up to 7 sea crocodiles live in Vanua Lava rivers, mainly in Alket River and Selva River. Nearly all of them hide inthe most internal part of the river, but one is stantial in the mangrove swamp in Nousa Point. This is a huge one: 6 meters long, about 1.5 m wide!
If you are staying at Leumerous' guesthouse in Sola, you can get there on your own, walking through town on truck road, reach the airport, then just follow the black beach (Port Patterson bay) until its very end: you will also have to wade Selva River. At the end of the beach, you can see the school towards the point; on your left, already inside the bush, there's a little house (le petite maison), with a path leading to the internal. Follow the path and you will find yourself into the swamp, where you will step into a log bridge (sort of). Where the bridge is higher over the muddy water, you are supposed to wait and try to see the croc, possibly waiting for the high tide to bring clear water inside.
If you continue, the mangroves end into a wonderful beach, on the other side of the peninsula.
We could not see the animal, but the swamp itself it's great (and scary, if no one's around).
It's a good 3-4 hours walk to get there, and the same to go back. Easy walk ,aminly on the beach. On your way back you will have to wade again the River, this time with high tide: just keep in the middle: not too close to the sea, as it's deeper there.
Apparently, the local Port Vila buses will take you anywhere you want to go on Efate. We decided to take a gamble and test this theory out by trying to get one to take us on the ring road around the island.
The process is a bit hit-and-miss. First, you need to find an empty bus. Then, you need to try and flag it down most likely at a busy time of day. Then you need to ask the driver if he'll take you and then set a price.
The price we got was probably on the high side (10,000 VT) but given that it was peak hour and most buses seemed full, we couldn't be bothered looking elsewhere. We also got stuck with a driver who spoke mostly French, though his English was good enough to get by, so we settled in for the ride.
Before we got going proper, though, Albert (our driver) spent a few minutes driving around town trying to pick up a tour guide for us. He tried two random people before he found Willie, a bored highschool boy who had his first exam the following day. He brought along his study notes though, so we didn't feel too guilty! Unfortunately, Willie spoke mostly Bislama, but again his English was good enough to get by.
All in all it was a good trip. I enjoyed seeing the local vegetation outside of the city, and driving through the villages without having to stop unless we wanted to. Our guides bought fresh coconuts from a random person in one village, and we got to try fresh coconut. He took us to some places we didn't know about, and we skipped some places on our list when we were running late.
And we got to see how bad the road really was - doing this in a hire car would have been scary!
My favorite island in Vanuatu is Futuna. Through contacts I stayed with locals. Not many tourists go there. It is the only island without malaria. The only things they "import" are clothing, kerosene and soap. Apart from that they are self sufficient. You can walk around the island (scary path at times), you can "climb" the top of the island, you can eat coconut crab, pick mangos, drink coconutmilk and relax.
Not far from the city of Santo in Vanuatu is a beach called "White Sand Beach". If you are going to be in Vanuatu, you HAVE to go here. The sand looks like snow, and I've never seen clearer water! Just watch out for jellyfish. A friend of mine got stung, and she got the mumps! (I can't explain it either)
A boat ride (or small plane ride) from Santo is the island of Ambea. On Ambea is a beach called "Black Sand Beach". The sand really is totally black, and there are a lot of shells and sanddollars all about. A lot of locals gather here and play, and it's a really fun place to talk to them, and learn about them. Here, you will see them fishing in their canoes, which is a canoe, with a canoe-like peice of wood beside one another, attached in the middle. The children often make small toy versions of these, and give them to travellers as gifts. They also make lovely bamboo fans as well. Most people on Ambae speak French, and they all speak Pidgeon English.
Also, not far from Santo, is a huge freshwater pond, that's very very deep. The foilage around this pond is beyond description. There is a HUGE tree that climbs over the pond. My guess is it's at least 30 or 40 meters tall. HUGE! You can climb this tree and jump down into the pond. Most fun I've had in my life, and it's a perfect photo oprotunity!
Another point to mention, if you're traveling by truck in Ambea, you will often be swarmed by flocks of parots that follow the trucks on sunny days. Again, perfect photo oprotunity.
Unfortunately, during my visit, I didn't have my camera for the parots. I'm in the process of getting my photograhps of Vanuatu in digital form, so keep an eye on my page for those.
There's a lot of 'duty free' shops on the main strip of Vila, but the shops that are in the backstreets are cheaper and have more original items. It's worth looking around and spotting some bargains, I got some great t-shirts from a little shop around the backstreets where the bus dropped us off one afternoon.
just like the outriggers, canoe hire cost is AUS$10.00 up front, unlimited use of the canoe and AUS$5.00 refunded on return of the canoe! I just don't know where they expect that you will take the canoe to to keep it considering you are at least 600 km's from the nearest point of civilisation!
Something tells me that this guy has cornered the local market although business seems a little slow!
As mentioned above, the local inhabitants of Anaton Island venture onto Mystery Island when tourists pour in and they form an intricate part of your enjoyment experience. I guess the main reson that I travel is to broaden my horizons, meet other people from around the world and gain an insite into their culture and the fabric to their society. I feel that I can achieve this in the South Pacific by respecting these people and spending some time watching their performance or looking at their handicrafts etc.
Please don't complicate the task of snorkelling....
If you are not an experienced swimmer, have never snorkelled in you life or you are scared of the water I would suggest a guided snorkelling adventure with some of the local villagers. COST AUS$10.00
If you are an experienced swimmer.....YOU ARE ON A SMALL ISLAND SURROUNDED BY WATER!!!!!
Bring you own snorkelling gear as you can not hire it on this mostly uninhabited island.
The snorkelling around the coral reefs of Mystery Island showcase some of the most beautiful fish in the South pacific. The waters are safely surrounded by coral reefs which protect the swimmer from the waters of the open ocean. I would recommend this activity for strong swimmers only and I would advise you to have someone watch you from the shore in case you get into difficulty...Remember, this is a remote are.
Mystery island, an uninhabited sandy islet all surrounded by coral reefs, lies to the very south of the Vanuatuan island chain. Its real name is Inyeug Island. Inyeug Island was used by the Allied forces during WWII as a landing strip for small aircraft. To this day, this airstrip is used as the airfield for the rugged, mountainous Anaton Island located about 1.5 km's from Inyeug.
You can access the island from Port Vila via aircraft or by cruise ship.
Queen Elizabeth II came to Vanuatu in 1975 on the Royal Yacht Britanica and she and her party stopped off at Mystery Island for a picnic lunch.
I don't even know how it came about that we met a local guy named Tony. But its a great idea to have someone show you about. We had him drag us around for days and we literally walked god knows how many kms in the heat!!! He was wonderful taking us to his village, and the university, the school, he took us to some of the other resorts. Infact, I dont think there was much we didn't see. Obviously the wages are very low and we compensated by buying him lunch, and swung him a couple of bucks at the end of the day, and he was very happy, as were we.
Tanna Island is definitely worth a visit! It may be fairly expensive (about A$230 per person) to fly there but it is worth the money!!! We visited an amazing live volcano, some great villages and so much more!!!
We did an around the island tour (of Efate - the main island) for 5000 vatu each (there were 4 of us). We hired a bus driver, Massing, to take us all the way around and it was more than worth it! :) Massing took us to some gorgeous beaches, we had an excellent lunch, learnt all about coconuts and more...
As it's off the beaten path I include a map from Vanuatu geophisical. the "Timeless Islands" comprises a group of approx. 80 islands, situated some 2,250 kilometres north-east of sydney, Australia, and 800 kilometres west of Fiji. The total land area is approximately 14,700 square kilometres and the territorial waters cover 450,000 square kilometres
OK, I have to confess I didn't actually stay at this hotel, but I did spend some time strolling...more
Po Box 24, Efate, Efate, VU
My partner and I planned 2 weeks on Vanuatu from 29 June to 13 July. We had booked 2 resorts, the...more
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