Tanna and the Fire Mountain

Hello again Boatbloggers®

The next leg of our circumnavigation takes us to the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, famous for its active volcano – Mount Yasur. The glow from it was apparently what attracted Captain Cook to land here in 1774, and now all those years later it has worked it’s magic once again on the crew of Domini. 

But first we had to bid a fond farewell to Fiji. It has been a wonderful adventure and we wished we could have stayed longer. The staff at the marina came to wish us bon voyage with a traditional Fijian song, and presented us with local flowers.

We were sorry to leave.

Unfortunately our last few weeks in Fiji were tinged with sadness as Ju’s mum died and we had to return to England for the funeral. But at least she is now back together with Pa, and the Two Ronnies are reunited.

So it’s goodnight from him, and it’s goodnight from her. Night Ma, we are going to miss you.

Our first stop was Port Resolution, named after Captain Cook’s ship.

We thought Port Domini sounded better, but since he got here first, he got to choose. He also called the islands the New Hebrides, but on Independence was over ruled and it became the Republic of Vanuatu. So maybe it’s not too late.

We were greeted by Stanley from the local village who arranged all the immigration and customs formalities for us at the Yacht Club.

Checking in with Andrew & Carolyn from Askari. (Carolyn is taking the photo)

Stanley then took us on a guided tour of his village, where they still live in the traditional wooden houses with reed roofs.

They may look flimsy, but even in a cyclone they last longer than a British Prime Minister. Or a lettuce.

There is an active construction programme,

…and the canoes are still made from tree trunks using nothing more than an axe.

As luck would have it, the next day was our anniversary. 27 years and never a cross word. So we went to the local restaurant,

…and had a romantic dinner for eight, with our new found friends from Askari, Acushnet and 2K.

On the left, Andrew, Carolyn, Saskia & Kjell. On the right Ross & Desiré. You know the other two.

But we hadn’t come here for the gourmet cooking, good though it was. We had come to see the volcano. 

All up the side of the mountain the steam comes out through the ground, making for a natural sauna. 

And the Tannans (if that’s the right word) use the hot clay for face and body paint.

Not sure it looks quite so good on Ju.

But we wanted to get even closer, so Stanley arranged for a pick up truck to er…pick us up,

…and off we went to the rim of the Fire Mountain.

It was quite a climb to the top, 

But worth it.

It was quite scary when the volcano exploded, but it was all very sulphur-y so if you got nervous and let one rip, no one really noticed.

They told you not to lean on the barriers.

Just in case. 

History doesn’t tell us what happened to the people who leaned on these.

It was all pretty spectacular.

The next day we went to the market in the main town of Lenakel. There is no proper road, so it was back into the 4 wheel drive and out across the ash plains.

It’s quite a bumpy ride,

…so you need to keep getting out for a break.

The market had all the fresh fruit and veg you could want.

And there was even an Academy of Music.

They are very conscious of the effects of climate change in the South Pacific. This was on the wall of the restaurant.

Which roughly translates as “Protect all marine life. It belongs to you.” Not a bad sentiment.

Tanna is an amazing island and it is a shame we couldn’t spend longer here, or be able to visit the other islands in Vanuatu. We’re now waiting for a weather window to sail to New Caledonia.

Tankiu Tumas for reading. (That’s “Thank you too much,” in Bislama.)

There’s just enough time for a few entries for the Arty Farty prize.

Well, to be honest they’re not really entries for the Arty Farty competition – to be honest we can’t even remember who took them – they’re just more gratuitous photos of the volcano.

And why not? It’s pretty special.

So it’s Lukim Yu from all of us here in Tanna.

Lukim Yu

Ju & Lyn