Formerly New Hebrides, Vanuatu Islands are a chain of 83 islands 800 km west of Fiji and occupying an area of 13,000 sq. km. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin, with steep rugged terrain covered with dense foliage. There are 9 active volcanoes (7 on land) as well as numerous thermal springs. The numerous fringing reefs provide excellent snorkeling.
Vanuatu turned out to be a favorite cruising ground for us. There are usually good winds between the islands and there isn't the constant apprehension about shallows and reefs as encountered in Fiji. Distances between the islands can all be done in a day and most of the anchorages offer good protection and holding.
The Ni-Vanuatu have lived in these islands for centuries and more than 115 distinct languages and cultures still thrive throughout the islands. Dances, ceremonies, status, artistic style as well as language vary greatly from island to island. Most islanders speak a little English, although it is mostly Pigeon English (Bislama).
The Vanuatu people are the friendliest anywhere. They are shy and unaggressive but immediately stop what they are doing to approach you for an introduction and conversation. Although the people of Vanuatu are very poor and have nothing, they are generous beyond belief and freely offer fruit and vegetables whenever possible.
Dugout canoes abound, and there is usually a constant flow of visitors to the boats, many offering carvings or vegetables for sale (the canoe economy) or just wanting to say HI!
Our Route from Fiji with landfall at Tanna
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MALAKULA Mescaline Islands
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