To Lutes on Uliveo Island and a demonstration of kustom dancing

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Tue 7 Oct 2014 00:37

Position           16:31.89S 167:49.77E

Date                1210 (UTC +11) Monday 29 September 2014


Distance run – 5.9nm over the ground, 5.7nm through the water

Time from Awei – 1hr


The wind having blown itself out and returned to the south east we motored over to the lagoon at Lutes on the island of Uliveo.  The description of the entrance shows that it is not the easiest of entries and a careful watch for coral was required.  We entered at getting on for low water and saw no less than 2 metres under the keel and without getting too close to anything in the horizontal direction.  We anchored and were then approached by four young men in a canoe.  They had been sent out to advise us to anchor further away from shallows which would cause a problem if we dragged.  We were well dug in but on the basis of never ignoring local advice we happily moved 100 metres.  It is great to be looked after.


Bill with the Amel Super Maramu Pacific Cool was already there and had contacted the local tourism representative, Stuart, to arrange a demonstration of a Kustom Dance.  At 1330 we dinghied ashore and were met by Stuart who escorted us through the village and into the forest to a clearing that had been prepared for the dance.



The Kustom dance is an important part of the culture of the Small Nambas people who inhabit the south part of Malakula and the Maskelyne Islands.  These dance s are typically performed as part of the grading ceremonies that accompany the transition from boyhood to manhood.  Whilst lady visitors are allowed to be present the women from the village are not permitted to watch.


We had already met four of the dancers when they canoed out to greet us as we anchored


After the dance was completed the troop were very keen to meet us, exchange names and chat.  Unlike some villages Lutes did not appear to perform regularly for tourists and the guys were very keen to hear how we liked their performance.  It could be a real wow at the next fancy dress party.


The backing group consisted of the chief, Martin and two 90 year olds brought out of retirement – local Rolling Stones?  Martin’s son Jacob was the lead dancer


The village children were really great and all wanted to exchange names and ask where we came from


This sand drawing was an incredibly good representation of Bill’s Super Maramu anchored within sight of the artist


We think that some of the dance fee was going to end up with these two chaps preparing Cava for an afternoon session