A bestialic beauty: Vanuatu

For everybody who does not understand the title, Vanuatu is beautiful, like a rough untempered diamond.
It is incredible.
I feel like i have been transported to jurassic park or lord of the rings. The rough beauty of this place is breath taking!
We arrived in Espiritu Santo on the 4. of november and visisted the Blue Hole, a lagoon in midst of the mangroves. The ride through the forest, i am afraid my vocabulary of complete awe is limited, was incredible. It looks so untouched, you expect dinosaurs to appear around the corner. At the blue hole, we had loads of fun with a rope swing that was connected to one of the trees from Avatar.
From E. Santo we went to see pentecost, where we anchored next to some dugongs, beautiful creatures. We had a long walk through a paradisical island, little villages, crystal clear streams, coconut trees (i just love them 🙂 ) and lava rocks. (please forgive me, i just list this stuff as if it was nothing, but its just so many cool things that happen here) We picked up some hermit crabs which we raced in the evening.
After that we had a short crossing to the next island, Ambrym with two active volcanos.
We climbed one of them.
The trip that was expected t take 8h took us 12 instead…11h of straight walking. I voluteered to carry the camaera eqippment of our filmmaker…lets just say it was quite a workout 🙂 but the view was unique, we saw plants which should be extinct and a vulcano, sadly it was very foggy while we were up there, so no lava, instead we had “lord of the rings”- atmosphere… but we could see the glow of the boiling rocks from our boat.
We also went to see the Custom Kastom dancing, which turned out to be a tourist trap, but who cares the dancing itself was quite cool. The dancers stomped so heavy the floor was vibrating.
Yesterday we had a short stop in a bay with fantastic coral, the most alive we have seen in a while.
It is quite scary to see all this coral dying everywhere. The whole aquatic ecosystem is based on them. Without corals there are no breeding grounds for fish, without fish there is major trouble.
It is 12o’clock, we now suffer the effects of the global warming made in the 60ies, the worst is still to come. (excuse my pessimistic worldview, i can’t help it)

But enough darkness, i got some colors for you:

Advertisements

The Passage

First off, i am sorry, that you didn’t hear anything from me for such a long time.
The main reason is not that i didn’t have anything to tell you, but that i was on sea for more than 2 weeks and did not have any internet.
Also we have a videographer on board which makes me a very lazy photographer. Why make a picture if there is somebody with a huge camera setup who makes delicious crisp videos.
The downside of this is however, that it will take ages until the videos are all edited and uploaded.

Lets start at the beginning!

Last time i wrote we just arrived in Chuuk the wreck diving place.
We toured in the huge lagoon and pirated some of the Japanese war ship wrecks, as we did not pay a guide.
I experienced a glimpse of island politics, as I met with the mayor and vice-governor of Chuuk concerning our environmental mission.
And although th US is slowly infiltrating their culture it was very nice to see that the Island culture is still existant.
Or as my friend (the first nephew of the micronesian premier minister) said: “It doesn’t matter how many Cheeseburger or Pizza
are in you, you are still a sea goer by blood”

One of our crewmembers got a very bad infection on her leg and she had to fly to the next island to go to hospital.
We took the best wind and followed her in a fast sail.

It took us only 2 days to reach Pohnpei, the home of one of the ancient pacific civilizations, comparable with the roman empire.
The ruins are made of vulcanic balast rock, wich grew in very handy “logs”…the whole complex is over 2km long and completly in between the mangroves.
So everything was build onto the watersurface.
The channels between the different island parcels still exist and give a good impression of how the life must have looked like a thousand years ago.

The next day we decided to spend a night ashore on the top of a mountain near an old Japanese gun station.
We hiked to the top where we had an amazing view over the bay and the tuna fleets unloading their scarce catch.

It is scary talking to the islanders, everybody is talking about the fish getting less and less, smaller and smaller.
Somehow it is a different feeling, reading that China is over “Peak-Fish” and talking to a village chief who tells you the big ships take all our fish.

On our way back from the viewpoint to the camp we found something special.
I thought it only existed in myths or stories but here it was, fluorescent mushrooms.
They made the forest twinkle. At first we only saw a few but after time your eyes could see that the whole forest was full of them.
Pohnpei was fluorescent all over. The bay that we anchored in was lit every time we drove the dinghy. Sadly one cannot make pictures of the algae, but when i swam in it it looked like i was on fire.
The scene in “Life of Pi” was nothing compared to it.

After pohnpei we had a 14 day passage to the next island.
We crossed the equator in our dinghy .
Our filmmaker was filming infinity in the middle of the ocean…videos are coming up some day 😀
Reading a lot, sails up, sails down…passage routine.


Then one day suddenly we arrived in Tikopia.

The island survived the strongest cyclone of the century basically without outside help and no deaths.
The reason, soft leaf roofs and tons of breadfruit.
The island was very idyllic and the huge volcanic lake in the middle just added to the charm. On the island we met a Norwegian family which made a children’s documentary about this little paradise.
They joined us for our Halloween party – the picture many of you have seen already.
But pictures say more than thousand words:

Now we are in Vanuatu.
And its pretty nice…but thats for another time…

So long
Ole