Day 107, Year 2: Too Many Cruisers and Only One Tusker’s
Date: Thursday, August 9, 2007
Weather: ESE Winds 20 Making Things A Little Bouncy in the Anchorage
Location: Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

At 4:00 this afternoon, more than 20 cruisers gathered in the Port Resolution Yacht Club. Stewart on Kathy II, being the good Aussie that he is, arranged with Stanley (Chief Ronnie’s son) to have the bar open this afternoon. There was a problem, however. There was only one Tusker’s beer. It was the quietest Happy Hour I have ever attended! So we still haven’t tasted the beer of Vanuatu–Tusker’s, but we had a nice time socializing and signing up for the activities planned for tomorrow. The
plan is to visit a kastom village in mid-afternoon (what Stanley refers to as the naked people), go on to the volcano for sundown fireworks, and end the evening with Friday night dancing at the John Frum Village. Too little beer today; too many people tomorrow. Stanley is not sure he can accommodate the numbers. Some of the truck owners are Seventh Day Adventists and they don’t drive on Friday, so he is not sure he can get three trucks to take us all. He is taking ten cruisers to Lenakel to check-in
tomorrow and he will see if he can find trucks there. We won’t know until 3 PM when they return and when it is time to leave. I have faith that he can pull it off, but if not, some of us might have to wait until Saturday to see the mighty Mt. Yasur volcano. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I did laundry this morning and then Mark and I spent some time looking at our cruising schedule for Vanuatu and doing a little more reading about some of the other islands and anchorages. It is going to be very hard to pack it all into six weeks, but that is our goal. By late September we need to move on to New Caledonia, and then from there on to Australia by the first of November. If weather cooperates with us, we will be fine, but that is a very big IF. It is looking like the weather gurus
are about to declare this as a La Nina season and if that runs true to form, it means more west winds which will not help our cause. Again, we just have to wait and see. There are no guarantees out here.

After lunch, Paul and Marie of Ranger came over to review the cruising schedule with us. If possible, we would like to stick together so we will have a buddy boat from here to Australia. At this point, we are in agreement as to the schedule, so it looks like it should work. After reviewing the schedule, we went to shore to see the village of Irupow. We entered the village where there is huge green common area. There were some young girls playing volley ball in the center of the green. It was
great to see young women being able to do this here. There were almost no men in village, as they were all having an afternoon kava session honoring the anniversary of the previous chief’s death on August 9, 2001. The only man we saw was the chief, Ronnie. We introduced ourselves and took pictures of him with two of his grandchildren. We then walked through the village which was much larger than we had suspected. There were many young children, more than we have seen in any village to date.
Most of them seemed to be about a year and half old, which seemed a little strange. But there were many more three to five year-olds as well. When we reached the edge of the village, we saw that the women had a little craft market with woven carrying baskets and mats, shells, and carved outrigger canoes for sale. The prices were unbelievably cheap and some of the woven carrying baskets were very fine weaving. We were going to walk down to the white sand beach, but we learned that women cannot
walk that road in the afternoon. The nakamal where men were drinking kava is on that road and women are absolutely not allowed to watch, participate in, or even walk by an area where men are drinking or preparing kava. Equal rights have not reached this corner of the world. At this point, we turned around and went back to a little cultural center that a Peace Corps volunteer helped establish. There were written descriptions of some of the customs here and some wonderful pictures of special celebrations

070809 Day 107 Tanna, Vanuatu–Irupow Village