Lunch at Willy's
Saturday 3rd October 2015
This morning dawned wet and windy and cast doubt on the day’s activities. Lunch on the beach did not seem very attractive in waterproofs, and actually getting there through the waves would be a task in itself, and a very wet one at that. Beaching the dinghy would be another challenge...
Midway through the morning, however, the squalls seemed to have passed over and conditions were much improved, although still not really beach weather. Willy came out to the boats in a dugout to confirm that lunch had been prepared already and was very much still on. So a little before 1, we braved the ride ashore and managed to beach the dinghy and pull it up the black sand beach with Willy’s help. He said that as it was windy and likely to rain again, we would have lunch at his house instead of on the beach, so while we waited for the rest of the yachties to come ashore, we wandered along to the hot springs.
The hot water, heated by the volcano, erupts between rocks that are exposed at low tide. Some local women were enjoying the pleasures of soaking their feet in the warm pools of water while their sweet potatoes cooked in a natural rock pool near where the springs erupted. The water is very hot here plainly, hot enough to cook potatoes! I walked into the water near where one of the ladies was sitting, and walked out again pretty smartish. She laughed, and informed me somewhat belatedly, “water hot!”
Local ladies enjoying a paddle in the warm water, while their sweet potatoes cook in the hot spring water.
Once everyone was ashore, Willy led us along the path towards his village. At first this was easy walking, but then the path became steep, and with the rainfall had become rather muddy. I was wearing my flip flops as I had set out for a beach venue. Had I known I was going for a hike up the hills, I would have worn my Keens! So I slithered and slipped up the path, stopping occasionally to admire the view (my old, unfit lady euphemism for catching my breath and allowing my heart to stop beating a tattoo in my eardrums).
Eventually we reached our destination – a small village where Willy showed us his house, damaged by Pam and uninhabitable while being rebuilt, before climbing one more slope to a fenced off area accessed over a stile, with a pretty garden and two houses. Lunch was laid out on a mat on the grass beneath a tree. Willy introduced us all to his wife Sarah, and then we were invited to tuck in. The chicken needed some cutting to share, so Steve set about cutting it into small pieces. Even then, the poor thing wouldn’t stretch far, and after the children from two of the boats had tucked in, there was little left for the adults. Still, the sweet potato and pumpkin in coconut milk were very tasty.
I had made some blueberry muffins to share, and suggested to Steve he offer these around the local children first, before putting the rest on the ‘table’. As he passed them round, we were amused by the adults’ enthusiasm to give them a try too, and he returned with an empty box.
Some of the path was easy walking. I was surprised to find a stile in the garden fence.
The view over Port Resolution bay from almost the top. The houses in this part of the village had suffered in cyclone Pam.
Willy’s house in the process of being rebuilt. Lunch was laid out ready for us – chicken and vegetables.
Steve cut up the chicken while I tucked into the sweet potato in coconut milk – very nice.
The children had a very nice garden to play in.
After lunch, we were offered the bowl of fresh vegetables to share between the boats, and after giving Willy our contribution and the bag of assorted items we thought might be useful to them, we thanked Sarah for the food and set off back down the hill to the beach. The going downhill was much easier, and we made it back to the dinghy in what seemed like half the time it took to go up. Willy came back to the boat with us as we had some packs of nails we had bought back in NZ to give to him for his house re-building, and on the way back to the beach Steve stopped by Sheer as Rod had a spare hammer to give him too. Then it was time to get ready for the next adventure of the day – the trip up Mount Yasur.