LE SOLEAL, December 13th, 2015, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

Posted on Wednesday 23 December 2015

By Harry CHRISTENSEN

 

Espiritu Santo (from the Spanish espíritu santo, “Holy Spirit”) is the largest island in the nation of Vanuatu, with a surface area of 3955.5 km². It belongs to the archipelago of the New Hebrides in the Pacific region of Melanesia. It is in the Sanma Province of Vanuatu. The town of Luganville, on Espiritu Santo’s southeast coast, is Vanuatu’s second-largest settlement & the provincial capital. Vanuatu’s highest peak is the 1879 metre (6165 foot) Mount Tabwemasana in west-central Espiritu Santo. The local people survive by supporting the tourist trade, by cash-crop farming (peanuts) or by subsistence farming and fishing.

 

This morning we anchored off the beautiful island of Espiritu Santo which is situated within the Sanma Province of Vanuatu.  We were split into two groups for our tours on offer today. This included the World War II & Blue Hole Tour.

 

After a zig-zag Zodiac trip weaving around islands & shallow reefs, we arrived in Paradise Lagoon. What a welcome we received with the rhythmic local String Band. The highlight was the amazing performance of the women creating music in the water. With such skill, these women beat the water causing a vibration & producing deep drum-like music. For those who had signed up for the Riri Riri canoe trip, it was straight into the bus & off we went along an old bumpy road. After about 10 minutes we reached the small but picturesque Riri Riri River.

 

It was then into the canoes. After passing many large over hanging river figs that shadowed the river we finally reached a beautiful natural blue pool. In no time at all we were all jumping into refresh ourselves from the outside heat. The local guides then walked us up to a lookout point where we could get a better view of the blue pool below, confident with their balance our local guide and paddler quietly guided us up the river.

 

The other tour included a walk through the Rainforest arriving to the Blue Hole. We had the opportunity to go for a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Nando Water Hole. We continued on our tour by buses eventually arriving at the site of the old US Hospital located at Ban Ban. We strolled around the concrete grounds trying to imagine the enormous size of the hospital. There was also a small museum housing many artefacts of World War II.

 

The snorkelling location was chosen on Mavéa Island. We had the opportunity to take a short zodiac trip to this idyllic island. We could simply go for a swim or go for a snorkel. The corals & fish were but a stone’s throw from the beach. We also could go kayaking around these calm waters.

 

 

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