10th, 11th, 12, 13th July, 2015
W. Eric Faber
Mon 13 Jul 2015 10:12
Run from Port Resolution in Tanna to Port Vila in Efaté (Vanuatu): 135 miles
The weather did improve a little on Friday last week to enable us to visit the live volcano in Tanna. The ride was in an Izuzu 4x4 where 10 of us sailors including 2 ladies were squashed in the open flatback while 6 of our ladies sat inside the double cab. We were meant to have gone in two 4x4s, but the second never turned up. On the way, to stretch our legs, we stopped at an indigenous village, where the men, women and children performed a welcoming dance. They were naked except that their front was covered by ‘une paille’, the French word for a kind a straw loin cloth. The women were jumping up and down outside the circle of stamping and clapping men holding their overused breasts. We soon moved on to the volcano. The ride was unimaginably uncomfortable with the unmade ‘road’ being a single track through the bush with masses of puddles from the intense rain of the preceding days. I estimate the average speed to have been around 15mph. Painful in more ways than one. The last quarter of an hour to the crater was a steep climb on the black rocksand, while beyond the edge of the crater large lumps of fire were being catapulted into the air accompanied by loud banging and belching. It spurred us on to reach the edge, where, looking straight down the inside slope, two juxtaposed centres competed in belching and spewing out a spread of burning lumps of rock that would settle on the lower stretches of the inside slope. One massive belching bang was so loud that my ears hurt. The ride back to Port Resolution was only bearable in the knowledge that we would be back in the end. About three quarters of an hour.
The following morning the weather improved a little more making us anxious to get away before the weather changed. We got underway by about 9am in a fresh breeze that held all the way to Port Vila. Amazingly, we noticed that the skies cleared of the dark clouds that seemed to envelop Tanna. Port Vila appears to have suffered less in cyclone damage and it felt good to be in relative civilisation, where the people speak English in addition to their patois. We are moored, or should I say squashed up among the other World ARC boats to the quay, which also serves as a footpath for the public.