Monday, October 25, 2010

October 16, 2010 Port Havannah

We are on the west side of Efate island due to weather. It's been cooler and I put on a pair of socks for the first time in six months. It does not seem as though we'll make it to Epi island to see dugongs (manatees). However, we've encountered some fabulous snorkeling sites on Paul's rock and the south end of Moso island. Mike and Jamie are happy about swimming with big fish again. With Totemites, we took a dinghy ride upstream a river. We said hello to villagers tending to their gardens, washing laundry, and naked kids playing in the local freshwater swimming hole. Then we found a giant tree perfect for an adult-size jungle gym just begging to be climbed. It was super fun to feel like a little kid again.

On Moso island, we visited the local school and learned of a conservation program protecting the turtle nesting sites. Managed by locals, one being the village chief's son, it sounded like a success story when it comes to conservation projects. With permission, we joined the three Aussie volunteers and the beach manager on their nightly beach hikes. Although we did not get to witness turtles nesting, we did see tracks and one nesting site. Interestingly, Mike and Jamie have seen more turtles snorkeling in three days than the volunteers have in three weeks.

I could not leave Vanuatu without having the famous kava. We tried making some on the boat with store-bought kava powder, but it only resulted in kavamucil (kava + Metamucil). So at 5PM, we visited the local nakamal (traditionally, men's meeting place). Despite the small bowls, one smooth gulp resulted in instant numbing of the mouth and burning of the back of the throat. Mike called it, "kavacaine". Vanuatu people must be early birds, these nakamals run out of kava by 7PM. We each had three bowls and Jamie and Mike reported no difference. None of us felt any heaviness in the legs as some others report. However, when I returned to the boat, I felt a sense of mellowness that did not affect the brain. I'm sold. I like kavacaine.


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