After an easy 3 hour flight we arrived in Vanuatu late on Friday night, 14th Aug and discovered there is a winter in the tropics, temp less than 20deg and when we arrived at BREAKAS beach resort the brisk trade winds hit us straight away. The sound of the wind and the surf breaking on the reef right out in front of our Villa was deafening but we adjusted and got a restless night’s sleep. At one stage during the night it sounded as if the villa would be blown over but when we looked out the window it was just a little windy and the waves were breaking close to us as it was high tide. We realised that we had nothing to be concerned about and knew we would have to tell Amy to bring earplugs so she would survive the noise. But when we awoke the next morning a tropical paradise appeared before our very eyes.
The next day the sun was shining, it was 27deg and the wind was still blowing but that’s Vanuatu, just find a spot out of the wind and it is bliss. The small Resort is well set up and down in the corner of the bay where the Restaurant and Fares are it‘s much calmer and the beach is sandy so you can swim and snorkel at high tide, but the bigger Villas are further along the point and open to the wind.
Luckily we have a great courtyard area at the back that is totally protected so we have the option of lying around our own pool and it’s great to feel the warmth of the sun on our wintered bodies. Our long sleeved clothes have been put to good use at night and the locals walk around with hoodies at night but the days bring the warmth and sunshine and that’s what we are here for.
The reef extends from the bay right up to the point about one km away and the surf spots are right out front but it has been onshore 1 to 2 ft slop the whole time and a more promising left off a bombora reef off the other side of the bay that has on a couple of occasions shown promise for a few hours but not enough to get John out there on his own. Certainly not the spot to come to if you have surf withdrawals.
The view from our villa was brilliant. right on the water and at high tide the spray would soak the sand, watch out for global warming. One morning 2 guys got a couple of very short very hollow waves in between a lot of poundings from the sets that broke way outside at well overhead size. Watching from our deck we got some good pics of the few they got but the poundings were enough to keep John out of it. After 45 mins they had had enough and came in after the wind again blew it out.
We have got into the swing of Island time and got the private mini bus system wired. Into town to the Au Bon Marche (supermarket) for our lunch provisions and snacks, 150 vt each $1.70 each way per person. Buses and Taxi’s everywhere so no problem getting anywhere. It’s great travelling on the buses because we have a chance to converse with a few locals and get the feeling of what the island life is about. Some of the buses have been pimped up and have great decorations and materials inside and some are total wrecks with broken seats and no suspension, so you have hit and miss which type you get.
We have visited some lovely little islands around Port Vila. Irikki just inside the main harbour, Erakor which around the other side of our resort on Erakor Lagoon and the tiny Hideaway Island for some great snorkelling and enjoyed excellent food at most places but the best has been at our resort.
Irikki island above and Erakor island below.
.Hideaway island below.
We were persuaded to take a taxi guide to visit the Cascades at Mele which were brilliant and spent lots of time clambering around the waterfalls and swimming in the translucent pools. The cameras was snapping in all directions
We then headed up the coast and along the very bumpy coast road that the driver was excessively cautious, trying to avoid potholes and swerving across the road and driving so slow that it took extra time. At Turtle beach we stopped for some snorkelling and despite the crazy wind Beth and John ventured out into the deep hole for some amazing sights of fish and coral whilst Ann & Amy shivered on the beach. We then went to have a lovely lunch at Tamanu beach resort before heading back for a nap. Next time we hire a car!!!!!!!!
We have visited Port Villa a couple of times and despite it’s slightly third-world feel at times it seems to function well and there is promise for a nice waterfront appearing with some new developments setting new standards. Let’s just hope the few remaining remnants of old Port Vila are looked after and not lost. Enjoyed wandering around both the fruit and vege and flower market and the craft market. Every stall is nearly identical to each other with what they sell, it makes you wonder how they make any sales but they seem happy enough so that’s a good thing.
We visited the local village one afternoon, our guide works at the resort and he loves to show his home, Pango village and we saw how the locals live, very rustic but fully self sufficient and very happy by all accounts.
The children were the highlights and as expected really played up for the cameras. The outside kitchens leave a lot to be desired but obviously work well, it had a distinct feeling of a Cunno family Easter campsite.
The Island Traditional singing and dancing troupe came to our island feast on Wed night and did the whole welcome war dance thing which of course John had to get into, good clean fun for the boys. We tasted traditional island food and had a chat with two lovely girls from Wellington who had volunteered at a nearby island Santo Espirito, as midwives for a couple of weeks. They told us how basic the villages are there and that the villages we have seen are luxury compared, and here we were thinking how basic the villages were nearby. We also met the new chef from Wellington also, so we were kept entertained as we had Amy and Beth arriving around midnight so it was great to have some company to keep us awake.
Amy and Beth arrived safely and we have had some lovely times together, it’s been 12months since our holiday together in Sardinia, and we even played a few scrabble games in between lots of sunning ourselves around our private pool out of the wind.
Having a small kitchen in the Villa was put to good use with easy lunches and a great spaghetti marinara dinner cooked with basic ingredients and implements, it was surprisingly good. Massages at the resort have been great and they set up the tables outside, around the pool of our villa; even Beth was impressed with the standard.
The gorgeous beach of Hideaway island ( below ) drew us back on our last day and it was perfect weather for it. The snorkelling amongst the bountiful fish with such amazing colours is a delight and it has sunny and shady spots on the sand so we are all catered for.
It was a great deal busier the second time around, but we found a nice spot away from the mayhem, and were able to relax and read our books in peace.
We have had a very relaxed and refreshing time here and have enjoyed the slow pace, warm water, beachfront breakfasts and afternoon naps and the sun has been a bonus, a little taste of our spring /summer to come.
We have experienced another new culture close to home that has given us an insight into their world. Unfortunately the surfboard didn’t get an outing but with a short flight home it is sure to get well used back at good old Queenie.