M/V AKAMA
Not all those who wander are lost
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Here we see some young men extracting kava from the root of the plant. First they chop it up in small pieces and then they pass it through a meat grinder

The traditional way is to use a large mortar and pestle instead of the grinder, which is still often done. The liquid kava is then strained and drunk, usually in one gulp.

This anchorage is in the middle of an extinct volcano. One side of the funnel is missing, which allows entry, but only at high tide. Such anchorages are not uncommon and some have spectacularly high walls nearly all around.

Here we see the traditional extraction method of making kava, the mortar and pestle, albeit it is made from a piece of PVC pipe. After a few bowls of the stuff your lips turn numb; after a few more you can no longer walk right. Yet, there is no hangover and the brain remains lucid.

While anchored at Ambrym we took the night shot of the glow from the volcanoes far above us. This photo does not do the sight proper justice.

The next day, as we were leaving, we looked over our shoulder and caught sight of the smoke and cloud from the volcanoes.

This coconut crab briefly escaped from the restaurant, and will soon be in a cooking pot. These brutes crack open coconuts and eat them, thus the name. Considered endangered in some areas, they are plentiful here.

Selling WW-II artefacts is a thriving business in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. This is a roadside "museum" and shop. One of the more popular artefacts is Coca-Cola bottles, which are dug up from WW-II garbage dumps. Highly prized by collectors, they usually bear the year and place of manufacture. They fetch about $10 US each.

We encountered this lady as we were driving through a small village on Efate Island village. She is dying pandanus leaves, which she will weave into baskets. She sells them at the local market.

All around Efate Island one encounters these statues called fern trees. They are carved only on Ambrym island, from a particular type of palm tree.

Throughout this area grapefruit are grown, called pamplemousse (the French name). Many of them are huge and juicy, like this one, which dwarfs LA's cereal bowl.

Here the men of Banam Village perform in their traditional dress. We saw many dances in the South Pacific, none more apparently traditional than these men.


This 'blue hole' on Santo Island, near the Oyster Island Resort is fresh water. Underground springs feed a depression in the ground, becoming the source for a river. The water really does look blue.

Cyclones tore the roof off this home in Wali Bay and gutted the interior. The owners, too poor to be able to rebuild, built this leaf house in the back yard, where they now live. Most people in the area live in leaf houses.

Earthquakes destroy western style buildings, as they are too rigid. Here we see the wall of the church at Wali Bay reinforced with a buttress.

This string band performs daily in front of the Westpac Bank in Port Vila. There are many string bands in the area and each one hopes to make it big by cutting a record or getting a lucrative paid gig such as the one these ladies have landed.

This fascinating tree is the nakatambol. These tall trees form the upper layers of the jungle canopy. When travelling in the jungle, persons that become separated from their party take a large stone and bash it against a buttress. The sound travels up the trunk and reverberates through the forest, aiding the party to fine the lost soul.

Large grapefruit, an introduced species, grow everywhere in this area. They come in three varieties, pink, white and green. All are delicious. Because this area of Vanuatu was settled in part by the French, the French name, pamplemousse, is used.

These snake rope vines grow up the sides of trees, and then due to their weight, often fall to the jungle floor. We were warned that they exude a toxic substance and that touching the sap can cause your limbs to swell. This one is particularly large.

The chief of a village erects a pole with leaves on it to indicate that an area is taboo. Permission is needed to enter a taboo area and the use of the land is rigorously controlled. In this case, the area is the Vatthe nature sanctuary and hunting is not allowed.

This twin waterfall is one of many in the area. The villagers have no running water, so this waterfall provides fresh water for all uses. The pool at the bottom is excellent for swimming.

Waterfall bay is a cut above the rest when it comes to visitor welcoming. Here, the chief presents Louise-Ann with a hand made lei.