Was our trip to the South Pacific Successful ???

count down

Hi Ya All,

At the end of March 2016 we set sail, figuratively speaking of course, we actual took flight, for the South Pacific in search of finding our chill haven which we call PeanieSutra.

During our tour through The Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji, we posted much about our experiences and hinted at some of the business opportunities we where exploring.

We looked at accommodation, lounge bars, and cafe type of opportunities, with one key criteria – they must overlook the blue pacific ocean, white beaches and beautiful green palms of course.

In the Cook Islands we first found a cozy and friendly little boutique hotel. Although we loved it, upon closer analysis we felt that it was a little to pricey for the returns it promised. We then came across a cool cafe but our offer was beaten by a slight time margin. This was devastating for Peanie 🙁

We continued our search and found another cafe / restaurant which was recently modernised. As we looked into this opportunity another opportunity popped up that really got our minds working. We found ourselves in a position of needing to choose one. Although they were completely different businesses, we felt a strong attracted to both. But could only go with one. And as fate has it, circumstances got us to decide on the latter.

However, fate only came into play while we were looking around in Vanuatu for opportunities.

The main types of business on offer in Vanuatu that we explored where accommodation (i.e back packer lodge and guest house) and restaurants in the centre of Port Villa. The accommodation we found to be to expensive and the restaurant trade really needed experts who knew this type of business … we could not afford the learning period required. We needed something that would work from the outset.

Right, back to fate. It was during our time in Vanuatu that the decision around the Cook Island two opportunities was going down. We concluded our initial due diligence on the second opportunity and decided to make an offer. It was accepted :-))))

Since then we have been working through the final due diligence, legal process of acquiring a business and migrating to the Cook Islands. However, we have not told you what business it is … and we will not until the we have signed the dotted line which should take place in the next few days.

So hold tight … much much more to come.

In the interim we have installed a count down at the bottom of peaniesutra.com’s home page. If all goes to plan, when the timer hits zero, is when we take over the business in Avarua, Rarotonga, the main island of The Cook Islands.

t – 123 days and counting :-)))

“What about the photography, writing and publishing of articles?” I hear you asking. In our posts on this site, you have seen a small sample of the pictures we have taken during our trip . BTW – we have in excess of 5,000 “quality ;-)” images. Once the dust has settled on getting the opportunity agreement signed, we will commence with compiling some articles for the likes of GEO, National Geographic etc. So here too … much much more to come 🙂

😉 Pietro & Eltje 🙂

Awesome Fiji

Hi Folks

We back in Germany!

Fiji was really chilled. The islands are so beautiful and the sea life incredible. The Fijian people are so friendly and the Kava, well the Kava, certainly has its way with people 🙂

Click here to watch a video of the amazing see life in the Fijian Ocean. Sooo many fish and mantarays.

Click here for the version viewable in Germany. GEMA laws do not like the music on the original video, so sorry guys and girls in Germany but you gonna have to live with the slightly less cool music version 🙂

Check out some impressions of our trip through Fiji below.

We are very excited about our next post …  As you know we went to the South Pacific on a mission … to find the chill haven – a journey towards PeanieSutra. We will reveal all soooon …

… all we can say for now is 134 days to launch !!!!

Ciao for now,

Pietro & Eltje

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Mystical Ambrym

Ambrym

Hi adventurers,

another trip last week led us to the island of Ambrym.

The inhabitants of all other islands are a bit afraid of the people of Ambrym, because they are considered as magicians with some extraordinary skills. I think this reputation is simply based on the unreal living environment of these people…

The complete island of Ambrym is considered as one large shield volcano, with its two summits Mount Benbow (1159 m) and Mount Marum (1270 m). And a third nameless volcano currently is evolving in the shadow of these two giants.

Benbow and Marum are active volcanoes which continuously create massive sulphure- and ash cloudes. Only 40 days a year both cones are clear.

The difference compared to Mount Yasur on Tanna are height and distance. It is a hike of around 7 hours through a dramatic landscape to reach the rim of the caldera. And it is a lonesome area, in most of the cases you’ll find yourself completely alone on the rim of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Some crazy adventurers abseil down from the caldera edge to the lava lake, because it is an unbelievable experience – and nobody hinders them (imagine you would try to do something similar in Europe or the US: unthinkable – authorities would imprison you 😉

We decided not to hike these volcanoes, but to do an airy ride around and across the volcanoes. With a small plane, and without the second door for an undisguised view to take pictures 😉 We started our flight from Ulei airfield, South East Ambrym. The variety of the landscape is really amazing. From the rainforest area, through valleys of green coated dark volcanic rocks, up to the iron red lava cliffs and finally the dark black caldera area, surrounded by sulphur and ash clouds… A great experience and simply mystical because you think you are rather on moon or mars than on earth.

Click here to join us on our flight across Ambrym – and see a lava lake from a bird’s perspective

And here some more cool impressions of Ambrym….

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Ambrym-44 Ambrym-37 Ambrym-21 Ambrym-22 Ambrym-19 Ambrym-18 Ambrym-11

See you soon again!

With pyroclastical regards,

Eltje & Pietro

Pentecost Island, Naghol – Land Diving Ritual

Pentecost, Naghol - Land Diving

Hi folks,

we are back again with the next chapter of our Vanuatu island & cultural experience…: a journey to Pentecost, another of Vanuatu’s beautiful islands with a lot of tradition.

Pentecost is the ritual birthplace of today’s extreme sport „bungy jumping“… : The people of a tribe build a narrow but tall tower of freshly felled tree trunks. From various levels of this tower, men of that tribe jump down into a bed of soil, only with vines attached to their feet. It is a ceremony to ask for a good harvest and fertility, and in the same way for boys too prove their manhood.

The ritual takes place only from April to June and only on Saturdays. And visitors are welcome. It is really impressive to stay close to this high but fragile tower and to see the passion and also great fun of all generations of the village, while dancing and singing in front of the tower to motivate each jumper. And it’s quite exciting to see the brave men land diving… (while we kept our fingers crossed that all goes well).

But we also recognized a little boy that prepared himself carefully to jump from a lower level and then, after analyzing the situation (wow – damn high!!), simply went back to his mother – a pretty good decision we thought 😉

Click here and share our airfare to Pentecost last Saturday and our Naghol experience

And see the people of the village and their enthusiasm for the ceremony:

Pentecost-14 Pentecost-13 Pentecost-7 Pentecost-6 Pentecost-5 Pentecost-4 Pentecost-3 Pentecost-2

Pentecost-16

And the tower & land diving heroes:

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Pentecost Naghol - Land Diving

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We hope you enjoyed our video and pics!

See you soon – with amazing pictures of another of Vanuatu’s volcano islands.

Many regards,

Eltje & Pietro

The People of Yakel

Tewada and a little boy

Hi Everyone,

on one of our evenings on Tanna Island our host Kelson showed us the movie „Tanna“ (you won’t believe it, on a really large TV screen ;-). This film was awarded with several international prizes, among others at the film festival in Venice 2015. It tells the true and tragic story of a forbidden Romeo and Juliet-love in the 1980ths on Tanna.

All ancient customs which are presented in the film are still alive today, and only the rule of arranged marriages has been changed because of the suicide of the two lovers. A great movie – which was filmed only in Vanuatu – and with the people of the village Yakel as actors.

Last week we visited the village Yakel. Yakel has 186 inhabitants, a meeting place – the so-called Nakamal –  a large garden area with fruits and vegetables, lots of pigs, a house for each family and a guest treehouse 😉 – but no electricity, no running water and clothes are mainly made of tree barks. Various places of the village are tabu for women, also for female tourists like me (Eltje)… All in all, the way of life of past centuries.

Even the movie has not changed Yakel. It is simply too remote. Only from time to time some visitors arrive, who are welcomed very friendly – and who can buy some traditional clothes and pig tusks-necklaces. Pietro liked the namba, the penis sheath, which is in principle the only male garment. And what should I say – he now owns a namba 😉

Probably the current inhabitants of Yakel are the last generation(s) of an ancient tribe. Because parts of modern life now reaches Yakel, such as compulsory education etc. – and Nutella. Mmmh, yes, we couldn’t resist, we had to bring sweets (& crayons) for the cildren because they really love it (and the adults as well…)

Click here to meet the People of Yakel with us:

Check out the cool images we took at Yakel at the bottom of this message.

With regards from Yakel – „Iman“ (in their language)

Eltje & Pietro

 

P.S. For those of you who are interested in some more details about the movie Tanna here is the trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc3j_FHzzmc

Yakel Yakel-51 Yakel-50 Yakel-49 Yakel-48 Yakel-47 Yakel-46 Yakel-45 Yakel-44 Yakel-43 Yakel-42 Yakel-41 Yakel-40 Yakel-39 Yakel-38 Yakel-37 Yakel-36 Yakel-35 Yakel-34 Yakel-33 Yakel-32 Yakel-31 Yakel-30 Yakel-29 Yakel-28 Yakel-27 Yakel-26 Yakel-25 Yakel-23 Yakel-22 Yakel-21 Yakel-20 Yakel-19 Yakel-18 Yakel-17 Yakel-16 Yakel-15 Yakel-14 Yakel-13 Yakel-12 Yakel-11 Yakel-10 Yakel-9 Yakel-8 Yakel-7 Yakel-6 Yakel-5 Yakel-4 Yakel-3 Yakel-2

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

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…. 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