Matt’s Dad, Peter, came and spent 11 days with us in Vanuatu. Peter pretty much experienced the full spectrum of what Vanuatu can offer the tourist, including; resort life, a touristy overnight trip on Tanna, and the cultural exchange of 5 days on Ambrym island.
(Glass bottomed Kayaking at Le Lagon)
We stayed with Peter at Le Lagon for a few nights, and fitted in plenty of sports including golf, tennis and kayaking.
After a few days of a relaxed resort life it was time for a bit of adventure. We had heard that the Tanna volcano was an amazing experience…but the weather wasn’t looking good!!!! The thick cloud we flew through to reach Tanna confirmed our suspicions that the weather might not be the best to view the volcano. By the time we arrived at our bungalow accommodation, Jungle Oasis, rain looked imminent and after an hour of exploring the beautiful bungalow surrounds we were forced inside by a heavy downpour. It’s quite an investment to get to Tanna and as we were there for only one night we hoped for the rain to stop. By 4pm it had and we set off on our adventure!
Matt and his Dad infront of Mt Yasur, Tanna Island
We had been hearing explosions from the Volcano all afternoon, and were eagerly anticipating getting up close to see the source of all the commotion. We decided to go on foot as we all felt like a walk and Jungle Oasis is only around 1 hour walk from the Volcano summit. The walk began well but by the time we got to with in 300m of the Crater a huge cloud rolled in and rain pelted down at a 45 degree angle totally drenching Peter and giving Matt’s raincoat and Pippa’s umbrella a good working over. However a great explosion turned our heads and we were amazed to see pieces of lava, some the size of a human, flying up into the sky. They seemed to move in slow motion as the lava lumps hung in the air before they fell back down out of site into the crater mouth. We all knew we had to see more of this!
The final push to the top was tough through the driving rain and as we got closer to the top the wind became even more furious forcing the rain against our faces and dampening our spirits. Once we reached the top there was no boiling cauldron of lava as we had imagined but a moonscape with clouds and volcano smoke whizzing by partially blocking our view of the crater. We huddled together and waited. After a cold wait of around 5 minutes (it seemed much longer) a small explosion sent streams of lava flying into the air. It was quite exciting but the rain really was cold. During the next wait we wavered between heading back to our cozy bungalow and staying in the rain, but before we could make our final decision there was a great flash of light, a huge explosion and the sky lit up as great chunks of man sized lava filled the sky. After that we were like druggies waiting for the next hit. We ended up staying for more than an hour in the cold wind and rain (Matt was shivering) but were able to experience some of the most amazing sites we had ever seen.
In the end our guide Charlie had to make us promise that we would head back after the next explosion. We reluctantly agreed…and not long after doing so were rewarded with the biggest explosion of the night.
Although the conditions were not ideal our Tanna experience was certainly unforgettable. We managed a little video and a few dodgy photos in the rain. The best one is shown below.
(The dodgiest photo ever taken of a lava explosion)
After Tanna we had a night back in Vila and then headed to Ambrym. Peter had a great time and was able to test out a few tours for us including the survivor tour, the kids tour and the revamped Rom tour. He also got to meet many of the great friends we have made and enjoyed himself thoroughly. He left saying it was his best holiday!
(Peter was quite a marksman. He hit a bulls eye from about 10 metres)
(All on Ambrym are so warm and welcoming, but the kids really make it special)
(The High Chiefs of Ambrym Magic danced the Rom sending tingles down our spines)