After enjoying the warmth and welcome of the villagers on the more remote islands, we headed into the "big city", Port Vila on Efate Island, unsure of what to expect. Though perhaps not as big as most national capital cities, Vila, with her population of 44,000, is the economic and political center of the country. For many Nivan people, a move to Vila represents the best (or only) way to earn any cash, as life in the island villages is typically subsistence and barter based. As a result, it was uncommon to meet any folks actually from Vila, or even it's island, Efate.
We were happy to get a mooring at Yachting World, the hub of cruising info and services in the area. While the owner was a cranky old thing, longtime lead staffers Moses and Lemara could not have been more accommodating, making us feel right at home in the nation's "Big Papaya".
We spent a bit over a week in Port Vila, taking care of business, accessing internet for the first time in a while, eating in restaurants, fueling and provisioning, diving and generally playing tourist. Adam also got his Vanuatu ham radio callsign, YJ0ST to play geek in the coming weeks. All in all, not a bad interlude. We sort of liked the place, though in our outlook, the simpler life on the outer islands has much more appeal. Here's a quick look at Efate Island.......
Together with Rich and Cindy from s/v Legacy, we hired a taxi for a day to tour the island. Efate has one main road running around the perimeter of the island, so sightseeing was fairly straightforward.
|The "Blue Lagoon", a great swimming hole|
|Classic Ni-van string band. These guys were great!!!|
|Typical relic of WWII rotting in Havannah Harbor, named for the cigars the American GI's smoked while stationed here.|
|Rust in Peace!!!|
We did get to enjoy kava, the Pacific elixir, at a local "nakamal", or kava bar. The kava in Vanuatu is known by connoisseurs as the strongest to be found anywhere, and we couldn't argue. Just a couple of bowls put us into our happy place. Here, Cindi at the trough, where it seems customary to hawk and spit both before and after slurping down a bowl!!!
We enjoyed a fun day of diving at Moso Island with Tranquility Diving and turtle sanctuary. Lots of hawksbill turtles both pre and after release, nice to see folks looking after the little rascals.
|The Legacy crew ready to get wet|
|Cindi may be exaggerating a bit about the size of the turtle she just saw!!!|
Whoever invented triggerfish??? "I'll have whatever he's having" !!!
|Blackbelly Picasso triggerfish|
We enjoyed our brief stay in Port Vila, but were anxious to get back out to the more remote islands, the heart and soul of Vanuatu.....next up, Epi Island for Vanuatu Independence Day.....