2009 World Cruise – We sailed from one of the islands of Vanuatu to another – Espiritu Santo to Efate, the principal island of the country. We actually did two tours that day. The morning was spent at Mele Gardens Cultural Center where we were told about the native plants, saw a traditional grass hut, and were introduced to some of the local critters.
This snake liked John, it snuggled close to the back of his neck to get warm and wound it’s tail around John’s camera strap to secure itself to this new toasty perch. It was non-venomous and not a constrictor. Still, I didn’t hold it. But I did hold the Gecko.
The Coconut Crab (or Thief Crab or Robber Crab) is the largest crab in the world. They can reach 1 m (3′ 3″) in length from leg to leg and weigh as much as 4.1 kg (9 lbs.). They eat seeds, nuts, fruits and the pith from fallen trees. They will also eat carrion and anything found on the ground is fair game for dinner. This is how they acquired the name Thief Crab. Their pincers will take off your finger in a flash. Some left behind military items from the war years.This was originally cannibal country.
These young men showed us some traditional dances and only used the stomping of their feet and clapping hands for music. We returned to the ship in time to grab a sandwich from the Lido buffet restaurant and make our way back down to the glass-bottomed boat for our snorkeling and fish feeding tour. This was great fun! The water was really warm and only about 9′ deep. After we had anchored the boat’s crew fed the fish so any people not wanting to get in the water could see them through the glass-bottom of the boat. We were able to spend quite awhile in the water feeding bread to the fish. Pretty cool. As is customary at most of our ports-of-call local artisans and crafters set up stalls to sell T-shirts, post cards, trinkets, and locally made crafts. This one was quite extensive. As the ship was preparing to set sail at 5:30 we were able to watch the folks pack up their unsold goods and load them into flat-bottomed boats. It was incredible how much stuff and how many people were put into one of those boats.
The next day was a sea day and it was Flower Power Night. It was not a formal night, just a theme night. All activities staff and wait staff were appropriately dressed. Both levels of the dining room, and the Crow’s Nest lounge were beautifully decorated. It was a blast from the past and return to the days of Hippies and Peace Marches.
The next day we stopped at Noumea, New Caledonia where we went on a 4-wheel-drive adventure.