Thursday, September 05, 2013

More sights of Tanna

Today, Joseph drove us back on the rough road across Tanna Island to the town of Lenakel (Vanuatu). This time we rode in the rear of the pickup to better take in the views. We bypassed the backside of the volcano, Mount Yasur, seeing where decades of ash fallout formed a dark gloomy plain. Even as we rode, the ever active Yasur dusted us with the gritty stuff, invading our eyes, hair, and clothes.

We felt the downwind grit

Jordan standing in front of hills of eroded volcano fallout

As we continued our drive, Joseph who knew just about everyone on the island and is related to a great many, was flagged down and stopped by a local villager. He had 2 pigs both bound at the ankles and squealing in protest as they were hauled up in the back with us. We both felt bad as we saw some blood on 1 of the pigs and when we inquired, were told that the poor porker had been chased by dogs and broke its leg. His owner needed to take it to town to see the vet.

As we bumped merrily along we noticed, not soon enough, the swine's contingent contribution to the truck bed was a mix of pee and blood!! Yuck! It got on our backpack and some of our clothes. Once in town, we were lucky enough to find a place to wash and rinse out the few soiled items.

We went back to the cute Silae Restaurant, the 1 owned by Mary where we had lunch when we first arrived on Tanna Island a couple of days ago. We were disappointed that she wasn't there but a few minutes later, she showed up as her staff had quickly gone to her home and said her friends were there to see her. How sweet!

Mary stayed and visited with us as we ate and told us about a German boat with a family of 5 that a couple of years ago had crashed on the rocks just a few meters away. They had anchored in a bad spot for the predicted westerly and then in the night dragged anchor, heaving them on the rocks where the boat was destroyed with a large hole on starboard side. They survived and the next day the village hauled what was left of the boat up on dry land so at least they could camp in it. The village all helped them out until they gained passage back to Germany, defeated. Upon taking a close look at the boat, Jordan said the fibreglass was very thin.

Mary looking at lost dreams of island visitors

We next booked a small inexpensive cabin on the waterfront. We luxuriated in fact that this one even had its own toilet, sink, and shower - but a very cold shower!

As the day wound down, we walked the palm lined beach to the sound of crashing surf passing the ever present dugout outriggers and collected pockets of shells. This shelling is becoming therapeutically addictive!

We came across 3 youngsters pounding something on a large flat rock and they told us they were breaking open yummy nuts from the tree. They had a large knife as earlier they had been working in the family garden quite a distance away. As the setting sun signaled a day's end, we suggested they leave for home as it would be getting dark soon. They were unconcerned and we gathered they surely knew their way around pretty good. It's quite common to see kids out n' about on their own.

After a cold supper, lights were out at 21:00. Power is very expensive on the islands so is not used unnecessarily.

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