We went on a tour of Vanuatu and went to a 'kastom', as in traditional, village where the locals supplement their income by putting on a show and selling their handicrafts to tourists. These guys danced quite well before posing for pics with us. They look fierce and might even be so. The last instance of cannibalism (on one of the more remote islands) was in 1968.
June with a 'friendly' spider as the tour guide described him. From leg to leg he was close to 8 inches long.
People in Vanuatu were very friendly. This youngster just wanted to show us his pig.
Finally a really good tradewinds passage! We are now in Port Vila, Vanuatu after coming 580 miles from Suva, Fiji. This passage is more of what we expected. We had runs of 130, 138, 148, and 160 n.m. (just think how fast we would have gone if it was a 10 day passage) with just the poled-out genoa up and the wind behind us. About halfway through the trip we gybed from port to starboard and that was it. We also had only one rain shower, although June was lying on the cockpit seat one day when a perfectly-aimed wave slapped against the hull and dropped a gallon or so of water exactly on her body and nowhere else.
Vanuatu is a very interesting spot for a stop and it is unfortunate that we do not have more time here to explore. We knew virtually nothing about the country before arrival except some of the dated stuff in the Landfalls of Paradise cruising guide. It is a string of islands spread from north (13°S) to south (21°S) that used to be known as the New Hebrides in colonial times. These islands have a unique colonial history. For 80 years, until 1970 when they became independent, they had a ‘condominium’ (that was the official term) French-English government. This meant that there were parallel government systems operating at the same time in the same place, e.g. two police forces, two school systems, etc. It seemed to work OK and the result today is a country in which there are two cultures and three widely-used languages.
‘Plis siam doah slo’ translates to ‘Please slam the door slowly’. All over the world, the sliding doors on 15 passenger Toyota (and other) minivans seem to be a particular weak spot. I got a lecture in Lesotho once for closing the door there with too much vigour.