After our brief stop in
Luganville, we sailed 120 miles north to the Banks Islands, right in the north
of Vanuatu. First stop Vanua Lava Island.
We anchored in Vureas
Bay for the Cultural Festival held by the local villages.
A pig inevitably gets
Godfrey opens the festival...
...and four days of
dancing gets underway. Some tell serious stories, with spectacular
...or disguises to
represent a menacing dead husband (a women's dance) ...
...and can be really
scary. While others are pure slap-stick...
cross-dressing (can any self-respecting show be without
... and ridiculous
cavorting, to huge laughter from the crowd.
Then the dancers,
painted up to represent a banded sea-snake, make their way into the arena
from the beach.
The Banks Islands' most
famous dance gets underway:
Meanwhile, behind the
scenes, teams of young men spend everyday preparing vast quantities of
kava. Up here it is chopped small, and put through a coffee grinder.
None of that unhygienic chewing approach used on Tanna.
Rounding it off
with some moves to the local string band in the evening..