Tanna Island

Tanna Vanuatu Custom Village

Hi all,

… as promised we are back again with some more details about Tanna Island.

Beside incredible volcano Mt. Yasur Tanna is home to beautiful remote beaches and traditional tribes.

In southern Tanna there is a tiny little village called Port Resolution, named after James Cook’s sailing ship „Resolution“, when he touched down there in 1774. At Port Resolution’s southern end there is a dreamy white sand beach where you are completely on your own for swimming, snorkling etc. (welcome back to Robinson Crusoe feeling ;-). And in total contrast, on its nothern side, there is a black sand beach where you’ll find the locals fishing, chilling and their children playing in the shallow water. If you observe this scenery you get the feeling how life, and in particular childhood, really should be: carefree…

All locals still live in their villages and according to ancient customs that have been inherited through centuries. There are strong relationships between villages and tribes on the basis of inter-village marriages. When talking to the people, you immediately get the impression that everyone is related to everyone 🙂

Every village welcomes visitors. The people share insights in their daily life and customs, many of them still perform traditional dances. Every dance and song has a completely different meaning, you’ll be suprised if you ask about its content: one dance we saw was about the Chinese people coming to Tanna to build new roads, but the locals don’t like their heavy and noisy vehicles… 😉

Language is also an interesting topic…. There are 6 different languages on Tanna (out of 82 across complete Vanuatu). If you think you are able to communicate with the locals a little bit with your newly learned Bislama vocabulary – mmmh – no. Not even the word for „Thank you“ is the same in all these various languages.

To give you a better impression of Tanna’s people and environment here another video from us:

Click here to join us on our trip around southern Tanna

 

And some more cool impressions from the island as pictures…

…..the beaches with the locals

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

…. a custom village

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Custom Village Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

…. the bush “supermarket” under the banyan tree

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

… the ashplaines around Mt. Yasur

Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

And finally look here – our accommodation on Tanna, the treehouse and its surroundings:

Tanna Vanuatu treehouse Tanna Vanuatu Tanna Vanuatu

 

In addition to a moderate traditional life on an island like Tanna, there are still tribes that live life completely according to ancient custom rules. One of these fascinating tribes is the village Yakel.

As there is a great story behind it we’ll share the insights of the „People of Yakel“ in a separate blog next time.

See you then!

With sandy & sunny regards,

Eltje and Pietro

Mount Yasur, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Yasur at starry nights

Hi Guys and Girls,

have you ever dreamed of standing on the summit of a volcano. In front of a lava lake and eye to eye to continuous volcanic eruptions. But at the same time to feel “safe”, because it is a few meters to the dangerously hot ground and flying boulders?

Then you have to climb Mount Yasur, the world’s longest continuously erupting volcano  – but in the same way accessible so you can hike up. Whereby continuously means that you see a firework every few minutes!

We spent 4 days on the island of Tanna this week, one of Vanuatu’s outer island, far south, the home of Mount Yasur. Luckily we found „Jungle Oasis“, a guest house that is run by locals and directly located at the bottom of this mountain. Even better that we had the chance to stay in the treehouse, because from it’s balcony we had an unrestricted view on the volcano (see title picture :-).

Hence, it was a short stroll to Yasur, we went up for sunset and again for sunrise another day, to experience the fantastic landscape at different day- and light phases. While in the evenings the volcano is dipped in blood red, intensified by the starry sky, with the rising sun the environment gets an unreal beautiful mixture of light and ashes. We simply couldn’t get enough of this landscape.

But of course there is also a bit of an uncomfortable side of the coin. If you are on the rim of the volcano and watch the firework  you can be sure that every eruption is followed by an ash cloud that is likely to hit you. Which means a change to a hotter temperature and a mix of sulfur and ash that wraps you and hinders you to breathe properly and you have to close your eyes for a while. But clearly we survived it 😉

Click here to experience Mount Yasur’s eruptions with us

And if you listen carefully, at some point in the video you can hear the ash rain when it hits the camera.

In addition to the video above here some great first images from the edge of Yasur…

On the edge of Yasur

Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna

Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna Yasur Tanna

 

Tanna also offers a unique cultural experience: its habitants still live the lifestyle of ancient centuries. Our next blog is about the tribes of Tanna and especially the people of Yakel.

Until then…

With lots of hot eruptive regards,

Eltje & Pietro

Vanuatu – First Impressions

Port Vila Market

Hi all,

now we are back again, with the first information of the second part of our journey…

On April 30 we left the Cooks Islands. After a stop of 3 nights in Auckland we have now entered the second phase of our journey: Vanuatu.

About 3.500 kilometers away from the Cook Islands and a big step from a landscape and cultural perspective…

The Republic of Vanuatu consists of 82 small volcanic islands spread over a distance of about 1.000 kilrometres and they are all part of the „Ring of Fire“. Vanuatu is home to some of the most active and also most accessible volcanos of the world. And there are not too many white sand beaches with palm trees…. Hence, a different kind of Paradise.

The Ni-Vanuatus are Melanesians, most of them still live a traditional life in villages (tribal communities) and some of their ancestors were cannibals (until the 1970s).

For around 75 years, until 1980 – before gaining independence – Vanuatu was jointly governed by France and the UK. Thus, lifestyle there is a blend of European and South Pacifc habits and traditions.

Last year in March Vanuatu was hit by disastrous cyclone Pam. Until today – and even ongoing – the inhabitants of all impacted island are still rebuilding their homes and businesses. And also nature still has to recover.

But whatever happens, the Ni-Vans always smile and take life easy, one of the friendliest nations I’ve ever visited 🙂

Click here to have a look at our first days at the capital city Port Vila and a car tour around Efate, the main island of Vanuatu.

And please excuse the sound quality – we are occasionally difficult to understand (yep, it is a GoPro movie and we have no professional sound software available 😉 …. working with a tight budget :-))

 

Stay with us, reports from the outer island and its tradional life and active volcanos will follow soon.

 

Until then & Sunny regards,

Eltje & Pietro

 

Aitutaki Lagoon and Motu Tour

Dear all,

as promised in our last entry, here our video of a boat trip through the beautiful Aitutaki lagoon, along most of its motus: Click here to watch our video and enjoy the ride with us

 

Aitutaki lagoon and its Motus – a short description:

Motus are uninhabited small islands which are normally located along the lagoon outer lane, like pearls lined up in a necklace. On some of them you’ll find a lodge for an overnight stay, which offers a little bit of a Robinson Crusoe lifestyle feeling. Unfortunately, because most of the motus are located close to the reef edge, rubbish hits these little islands. And therefore you might also find your buddy „Friday“ there, a stranded buoy or a somewhere in the world lost Rugby ball…

Here the motus of Aitutaki lagoon – clockwise:

Akitua: the first motu and a privat one, where the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is located (a luxury accomodation).

Motus Angarei, Ee, Mangere, Papau, Tavaerua Iti & Tavaerua Nui: untouched, awesome little islands, all brilliant for swimming and snorkeling

AkaiamiMajor landowner of this motu is Queen Manarangi Tutai, one of the three Arikis (chief of a family clan or tribe) of Aitutaki, an awesome elder lady. She and her husband Desmond run a Beach Lodge where we spent our week on Aitutaki.

Mauritapua & Tekapua: untouched, awesome little islands, all brilliant for swimming and snorkeling

Tapuaetai – One Foot Island: This is one of the most famous little island on the world – with the „Palm of the century“ (title awarded by Eltje), because it is the scenery which was captured already on the 1980’s most favourite wallpapers: a lonesome south pacific island with an untouched white sandy beach and incredible blue and turquoise water.

palm

But why is the name “One Foot Island”?

This is the story behind One Foot Island… (in a few sentences):  A warrior rescued himself and his son from the discovery by a hostile tribe, by pretending to walk across the island and then escape into the sea. Actually, he went into his own footprints back (One Footmark), with his son on his shoulders, and hid in forest. He and his son were not detected by the enemies...

Slice of Heaven: not a real motu but a large sandbank which offers the best sight into the entire lagoon. You will be overwhelmed by the variety of the colour blue. An impression which leaves you speachless….

Bird Island: the motu is home for several pacific birds’ colonies and therefore has a completely different athmosphere compared to the other motus.

Moturakau & Rapota: untouched, awesome little islands, all brilliant for swimming and snorkeling

Maina & Honeymoon Island: a combination of 2 motus and sandbank which give an amazing impression of the beauty of Polynesian dream islands…

 

Cool days and sweet dreams 🙂

Sunny regards from Pietro & Eltje

A week on Aitutaki

Sunset Akaiami

Dear all,

you absolutely have to have a look at our 3 embedded movies in this blog, after our time on Aitutaki, which simply shows the beauty of nature!!

 

Day 16 – Day 23 (April 16 to April 23)

This week we spent on Aitutaki. A stay that we already planned from the beginning, as a break during our business activities on Raro, but also to take the chance to return to this amazing lagoon. It was Pietro’s second and Eltje’s fourth time there.

I (Eltje) have seen quite a lot of islands in the South Pacific and around the world. And for me Aitutaki is the most beautiful lagoon on planet Earth. And to answer the question which is on everybody’s tip of the tongue now… : yes, I’ve also experienced Bora Bora 😉

 

To give you some impressions here two movies of

… 1) our boat transfer from Aitutaki mainland across the lagoon to Motu Akaiami, where we stayed in Queen Tutai’s Akaiami Beach Lodge:

…2)  and a canoe tour through the lagoon between the Motus.

Click here to watch our canoeing video.

 

And for those of you who are hopeless romantic, probably the most amazing sunsets you have ever seen… sunsets of Akaiami.

Click here to watch our sunset video.

 

A movie about our boat trip along various amazing motus of the lagoon will follow soon.

Until next time…

 

Colourful and sunny regards from Pietro & Eltje

Off line for a week

Aitutaki

Kia Orana Folks,

You will find that the next week will be very quite from our side. Tomorrow (16th Apr) morning we will be off to Aitutaki where we will be spending 7 nights on an isolated Motu, called Akaiami, with no connection to the rest of the world.

See ya on the other side 🙂

Pietro & Eltje

Time to get some supplies

Kia Orana Folks,

If you like tropical fruit and tuna, the Rarotonga market is the place to be. Oh and off course you gotta like colour … it is really colourful.

Did we mention how cheap the yellow fin tuna is here … and it is extremely fresh … all caught the same day.

RaroMarket RaroMarket-15 RaroMarket-14 RaroMarket-13 RaroMarket-12 RaroMarket-11 RaroMarket-10 RaroMarket-9 RaroMarket-8 RaroMarket-7 RaroMarket-6 RaroMarket-5 RaroMarket-4 RaroMarket-3 RaroMarket-2

 

Gotta go, surfs up 🙂

Pietro & Eltje

Peanie Gets it … her Scooter Licence

Pink Scooter

Right, so the journey continues …

Day 7 (April 7) – Police Station, Part 2

I (Peanie) joined the club of Cook Islands driving licence owners 🙂

Click here to watch the “Peanie Gets It” video on Youtube.

As I have no German scooter license I also had to go through the practical test for this vehicle… This movie about my preparation and final test will make you smile:

Sunny regards,

Eltje (examinee) & Pietro (motivator and cheerleader)

Our List of Top Beers in the South Pacific

Asahi beer

Right, so coming from Bavaria, and having several followers of our blog living in Bavaria, and many others having an appreciation for beer, we thought it would be a good idea to start our list of top beers we have found in the South Pacific. Good idea, oder 🙂

So, here goes, beers sampled thus far (in the Cook Islands), listed in order of preference:

  1. Asahi (Japan)
  2. Matutu (brewed on Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
  3. Stella (Belgium)
  4. Tiger (Singapore)
  5. Fosters (Australia)
  6. Pure Blonde (Australia)
  7. Tui (Indian)
  8. Heineken (Belgium)
  9. DB Draught (New Zealand)
  10. Lion Red (New Zealand)

Yep believe it or not, the best beer tasted so far down here comes out of Japan … who would have known!

Asahi_Beer

And nope, I have nothing against the New Zealanders, even if they can not play rugby :-)))

But nothing comes close to the good Bavarian beers … still world number one for me remains Augustiner Edelstoff 🙂

So, much more tasting to undertake … keep posted 😉

Prost – Cheers,

Pietro & Eltje

And so a week passes by

Raro Beach

Hi All,

we are one week on the Cooks now – what else happened?

 

Day 3 (April 3) – Find the hidden places

Sunday. Each and everybody rests on Sunday. Shops are closed (at least most of them), church service is a must and local families meet – you can see them everywhere.

And we went around Raro with our scooter, which is a distance of about 40km. To see what’s new on the island, to find some new awesome places and probably to reassure ourselves that we still love this island 🙂

Stop 1:  Beach – for our first snorkeling on this journey. There are many snorkel and dive spots and you’ll be surprised sometimes who’s swimming with you. Check it out here:

Click here to view our snorkelling video on YouTube.

Stop 2: Supermarket (an open one…) to buy fresh tuna – because unfortunately Pietro didn’t catch a fish at Stop 1 😉 Also a place to meet the locals. They bring their self-cooked food and sell it there, and take the opportunity to taste the food prepared by others.

Stop 3: Looking for two other resorts we are interested in. We just found one of them. A completely different kind of location, beach front area at the western side of the island. Also really cool. Today we couldn’t take a closer look at this place because nobody was available to show us.

Stop 4: back home again – ready to cook the tuna, after a shower, and with a good glas of  New Zealand wine… Cheers!

 

Day 4 & Day 6 (April 4 & 6) – Some kind of business days

We met Carey who owns a Cook Islands real estate agency. As we had a large list of open question on how business is structured on the Cooks it took him & us nearly 2 hours to get our missing anwers – and this was just the beginning. The Learning of this „meeting“: life is different on the Cooks. But this is what we are looking for…
Smile of the day: Later that day Pietro passed his Cook Islands driving license test successfully 🙂
Two days later, we went around Raro with Carey, to visit some places for sale and get some more details about banking, insurances etc. and also where we can buy specific products. And – out of the blue – we also received another offering to buy a location – a trendy cafe/ bar/ restaurant in a cosy shopping area of Avarua, and in front the sea. We need to think seriously about this opportunity…

 

Day 5 (April 5) –  Nothing special, but…

Nothing special happened today. The weather was cloudy, so we took some time for organizational stuff.

Reflecting the last days there is one thing I have to mention, because it was a surprise for me. Thinking back to 2010, when I (Eltje) crossed the South Pacific island area, on the Cooks (but also on the other small island states) there was no great choice of „international“ products to buy. But nowadays, in a Cook Island supermarket (an we have now visited 3 of them) we found some of our absolute favorites…. like Lavazza coffee beans, Greek Kalamata olives, Teriyaki sauce, my favorite shampoo, Pietro favorite cookies, Nutella, a choice of olive oils, pretzels, New Zealand beef for a very reasonable price, broccoli, Philadelphia cheese and similar 🙂

Still missing: bread (we mean something that deserves to be called bread)

Summary: Times are changing, also on remote south sea islands.

 

With this we send you tropical regards and are back again the next days,

Eltje & Pietro