Photo Gallery - June 2003
Pictures can be clicked to see a large version of the image.
The Port Resolution Yacht Club. As in other parts of Vanuatu, the term "Yacht Club" has a different meaning then in the US or other developed countries. Here it means simply a place for yachties to congregate, usually with a bar. Sometimes, as here, they include a few bungalows rented out by the night or week (though usually not to yachties).
This is the exterior of the club. In Tanna they also use the club as a meeting place for guided hikes, tours, and especially trips to the volcano. When we were there the fridge was broken so there was no cold beer, hence no one spent any time there, except to look around.
View of the anchorage at Port Resolution from the yacht club. Last year was the first year Vanuatu allowed cruising yachts to clear customs in Tanna. Before that boats had to come to Port Vila first. Since Tanna lies upwind of Vila, very, very few cruising boats ever came to Port Resolution. Villagers told me they would see one or two boats in the bay sometimes. Now there are a dozen. The villagers seem pleased since it means income for them.
A John Frum cross in Ireupuow village in Port Resolution, Tanna. The weather-stained red paint on the cross can barely be seen. The cross is a mimic of a Red Cross and is a symbol of the John Frum cargo cult.
A Canadian family on one of the boats had three sons who were all training for careers in martial arts, their father their temporary trainer while they cruised. They put on a demonstration in the village Sunday afternoon and almost everyone in the village attended.
The best part of it for us was watching the villagers react to the moves with excitement, surprise and joy. They were truly loving every second of it and applause, laughter and shouts of glee were rolling over the crowd as they reacted en masse.
I was so busy shooting the crowd I barely got any shots of the action! This one shows two of the boys doing some kind of show-exercise of Japanese origin. They did other demonstrations from a variety disciplines.
Several times during the sparring sessions (they sparred using straight boxing, kick-boxing and stick fighting techniques) one of the boys would come close to the first row of people sitting and the whole crowd squealed and moved back like a school of fish would move.
On the way to Mt. Yasur Jonah and I rode in the back of the pickup with the guide and a guy from a Belgian boat. The two women, Kate and the Belgian woman, sat in the cab with the driver. This shot was taken over the top of the cab and shows the dense jungle terrain of Tanna.
Another shot from the same perspective. Roads on Tanna are barely suggestions of a real road. The jungle would cover them in a month if the traffic stopped. We did not visit Lenekal the administrative center for the district which includes Tanna, Erromango and Anatom, but we understand they have several miles of paved road there.
Also in the back of the truck with us, Sebastian, was a local who was in training to become a volcano guide. He said he had been to the volcano several times already. Our guide, Stanley, was very friendly and took care of everything, including arguing with the park entrance fee taker who wouldn't let Stanley pay him tomorrow since I had no Vatu only US dollars.
To get to the lip of the cone we had to hike up the ash covered slopes. Of course, we all wore sandals, not the smartest footwear for the task. The guides, however, were all barefoot as is everyone in Vanuatu.
Jonah was incredible. He scurried up the hill like it was nothing, though both Kate and I feared for his life. A simple slip could easily have brought his head in contact with one of the many sharp, pointy rocks. Toward the top I had to help him as it was quite steep. We were all out of breath when we reached the top.
Once we reached the lip of the cone, Kate would not let go of Jonah for fear he would walk forward over the edge and slide down the almost vertical inside face of the cone into the boiling cauldron of lava below. When the first big blast came (see below) Kate practically dragged Jonah halfway down the hill as she scurried to get away from the flying red-hot flaming rocks coming at us.
The second of three large explosions we saw from the lip of the cone. We saw dozens of smaller gasps where a few dozen small, flaming rocks would fly out of the cone. We have no photo of the first explosion, the cameraman was to stunned to raise the lens.
The biggest of the eruptions we witnessed during our brief visit to the volcano, and the most impressive. It hardly even begins to communicate what a sight it is in person. But at least its something.
Just five miles from Port Vila Mele Island, home of Hideaway Resort, is a lovely place to relax. Beautiful coral reefs, some close in for snorkeling, others further out for scuba diving, make Mele a perfect place for the Queen Jane to stop and smell the flowers.