Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. This season we spent 5 months exploring Vanuatu and are now on the east coast of Australia.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

More Island Life

The main road through the wonderfully-named village of Fartapo, Malakula Island
It's been interesting to chat to other yachties to compare notes on some of the places we have visited and to see how our impressions sometimes differ quite markedly. Often the difference in weather can cloud (sorry) our views about a place but mostly it's about our interaction with the locals.

In the outer islands, life is very simple and relaxed. The villages still look very traditional, with houses built from wooden frames, wall panels woven from palm leaves and shaggy roofs; unlike Fiji there isn't a lot of that corrugated iron roofing which becomes so lethal when a cyclone dislodges it. Each village will have at least one chief and a process known as grade-taking (involving traditional dancing and the killing of pigs) can, as far as we can ascertain, elevate anyone to the status of chief. Anyone who is male, that is - women have a pretty unequal status here.

For visiting yachties it's good form, on arrival, to go to say hello to the chief to ask permission to be there and to check for any tabu areas where we shouldn't stray. Unlike in Fiji, there is no formal sevusevu ceremony and so far we have been welcomed with smiles and firm handshakes. The chief of Fartapo had to be woken up at about 11.00am by his busy wife after, we suspect, a heavy night of kava drinking (again a male-only sport here) - it turned out he was Chief Graham and was probably only about 25 years old.


After the cyclone of last year we find lots of safety signage in bislama - this one is for the tsunami escape route 

Whilst the local houses are maintained with new leaves and panels, 'foreign' buildings such as this church don't see much in the way of maintenance

Children on the beach followed us to play


Writing names in the sand is a good trick as sometimes they are spoken quickly

Laura makes friends
 We have been invited to drink kava in a couple of places but otherwise the villagers seem happy enough for us to be around but don't actively seek greater involvement. The exception was in Uliveo where, after the naming ceremony of the new island, we were invited to a meal in a newly-built hut that's about to become a kava bar:


Kerry gets to grip with the roasted piglet
We have now moved north to Luganville, the second-largest town in Vanuatu, on the island of Espirito Santo. De desperately needed to fnd some food shops as we were getting pretty inventive with the dwindling supply of eggs, bacon, onion, cheese and bacon aboard.

on-passage lunch: fritata with feta cheese and creme fraiche topping
Laura has a direct flight from here to Brisbane on the 15th so we'll be exploring Santo until then - no hardship, we suspect, as it seems a great place

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