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Date: 24 Aug 2008 23:24:42
Title: Asanvari - a slice of heaven

Asanvari, Maewo Island, Vanuatu                                    15:23S 168:08E   
After departing Luganville on Santo we ventured east again and discovered Asanvari Bay on Maewo Island. A real slice of heaven. An idyllic setting, a water fall cascading into the bay at waters edge, a Ni-Vanuatu village which is a contrast of traditional and starting to modernise and a kindly Chief Nelson and son Nixon. Also in the bay was Storyteller and a 50m ketch called 'Squall'. Chief Nelson insisted on a traditional meal ashore complete with roast pig done underground and custom dancing. It was a kids holiday that day and they swarmed every where. Miles and miles of smiles. (Have a look at Bob's contribution to the blog site which should be the one before this. It has more detail of our recent travels.)
Talk about smiley, they just loved having their picture taken and as soon as it was they insisted on looking at it with shrieks of laughter.
This was the Southern Princess hat we gave Chief Nelson. The kids are so comfortable with their Chief that this guy borrowed it for the photo.
This girl had the most expressive eyes!
This little one was having trouble staying awake. Stark naked except for the necklace and the improvised hat.
The photo on the right shows an adult custom dancer with two of the smaller charges. The guy peaking in from the left is Chief Nelson.
The beach was full of kids while the comparison between traditional canoe & modern Zodiac was poignant.
A pair of coconut crabs awaiting our attention the same night and the final result at dinner time. These are large crabs which climb the coconut trees,
harvest coconuts, crack them open with their claws and devour the white meat inside. It is said that if people fall sleep on the beach the crabs will
crack open their skulls. Urban myth? Who knows!
Kava; the boys sat there for an hour or two grating the kava root, which they then pounded and wring out into the bowl. Seems to be a hallucinogenic!
Have a look at the picture on the right; solar panel, outside dunny and small cottage.
We went for a big walk around the two villages. The waterside one and a hill top extension. The track was muddy, we slithered and slipped all over the place however it was a good work out. The photo to the left was taken during that walk; the large yacht is Squall at 50 metres, to the left is Southern Princess and Storyteller
hidden behind the tree. The right hand picture was taken from the top of 'Squalls' mast by her skipper. The coral reef is very easy to see.
Education is important to the indigenous people; they appreciate that the future of their people is to educate them. The difficulty they have is a
paucity of jobs for educated people with the majority of Ni-Vanuatuans still living a subsistence farming existence. The lady on the right is taking
her canoe home from the gardens at the close of day. The palm frond is a reasonably efficient down wind sail.
This boisterous  fresh water fall has a continuous flow and is used by the locals for washing and generating electricity through this little 500 watt generator.
It only supplies sufficient electricity to run a few electric lights at night in the meeting house and a couple of other buildings used as shops
plus the refrigerator and freezer in the meeting house where we were entertained and dined.
That's brother Steve waving from the pool and John Gilder going for a splash.
We have had my brother Steve and wife Rhonda with us for the last two weeks (they departed Sunday 24th for cold NZ) and we are also joined by Bob Culbert, probably until we get to New Zealand in October. Bob has been coming to Vanuatu for many years now and is a fund of knowledge which has been useful.
At the date of writing this we are on the sea wall in Port Vila once again and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. On the way from Maewo Island to Havana Harbour the port dinghy davit announced its imminent departure from the yacht with a load bang.
The davit base weld tore off except for a small portion on the aft end. It was this tentative grip to the yacht which stopped the dinghy from being dropped into the drink and in those rough waters probably lost.This is the out board end which buckled once the davit had dropped the dinghy into the water. We have had the base rewelded and with Bob's expert assistance have reinstalled it with a fibre glass filling wedge under this base plate so that both davits match each other in upright position and
level-ness (is that a word?). The Vanuatuan weld is a bit "how's your father" but it is a lot stronger that it was.
That's all for this epistle. Hopefully we leave here Tuesday 26th and head for Eromanga, then Tanna, Aneityum and then over to New Caledonia. we arrive there about the 4th September to meet another mate, Rhonda Riley from Sydney on the 5th. Probably won't get wifi for another few weeks so more pictures then.
Love to all
John & Irene

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