The Maskelyne Islands are a group of small islands on the south east corner of Malekula Island
The island itself is only a few miles wide at the widest places, with a population of 700 adults
The anchorage is on the south west side
to get into the anchorage we needed to get through a 50mt gap between the coral reefs on either side of the entry channel.
Within 10mins of our anchor setting, Sturt, who is the local tourist guide had paddled out to greet usStuart and his 2 and a half year old son Milman, came aboard to run us through all the shore based activitiesWhat makes Vanuatu such a special county is the children’s conspicuous laughing and playing throughout the villagesWhen they are in school, the villages are a lot quieter, until school is over for the day
When we come ashore in the dingy, there is usually a group of children waiting for us to land
if the older children are in school then the younger ones get a chance to be seenWithout computers, smartphones or even TV, us foreigners are their real live reality TVin the same way as my children would lounge around watching TV, they do their equivalent while watching us
Stuart took us for a guided walk over to the other side of the islandpast their church (Presbyterian)
This group of old men reminded me of the old guys you see at the foreshore cafeterias in Greece, like all Vanuatuan they where keen for a chat
We came across this guy collecting palm leavesthese leaves are used to make their roofingseeing the way the villagers live in harmony with their environment was magical. You can see how they use the local timber for roof trusses. If they need lumber, they fell a tree or a coconut, then using a chalk line they cut it to the size they need, with a chain saw.
for the walls of their building they split the local bamboo
For floor coverings they weave their external use mats, from bamboo frons and their internal and sleeping mats from pandanus leaves (dyeing the leaves prior to weaving)Bill and Gwen, pitched their tent behind Stuart and Anna’s house, and the family them added the two types of mats to make it Vanuatuan cosy and in typical Vanuatuan style, their camp site was a good spot for a game of hop-scotchIf they need a new boat, they fell a tree and spend 3-4days turning it into a dug-out canoeone of the their few sources of money to buy things from the outside world is copra, produced from the coconuts, that were planted throughout the island, many years agowhen the nuts fall to ground, the coconut meat is harvested, and then oven dried for export I was told they are paid $450USD per ton on copra, which is turned into coconut oil. Coconut oil it great for cooking, so lets support the Vanuatuan villages by using more coconut oil in our kitchens.
There is no shortage of food.
Their papaya where the most productive ones I have ever seenit was mango fruiting season and the trees where covered in yummy fruittheir gardens had plenty of taro, yams, sweet potato, cassava (manyok) and banana.
They have an eatable green leaf they call island cabbage, which is ideal for wrapping food in, to cook
Andre gave us some bananas and papaya from his garden
Their way of growing does not need any pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers and the taste is far superior to the commercially gown stuff at home
Food is cooked on an open fire, with coconut husks proving a good source of fire-woodthe Vanuatuan definition of an open plan kitchen, with the sea nearby for washing up in
It would not be a Vanuatuan experience without drinking some of the locally grown kavaWhen we arrived I gave a soccer ball to the younger kids. A couple of the older boys overcame their shyness enough to ask if I had another soccer ball. I did recall seeing the high schoolers kicking a deflated disintegrating ball around the day before, so I was pleased that my last ball would be going to good home. The two of them came back to Logic with me to get itThe boys with a functioning ball, relished their afternoon kick a soccer ball around. Bill joined in, while I with my fully functioning ageing body, was keen to keep it that way, so watched on with the camera.all those 75mm holes in the paddock are land crab homes
around the side of the church, the primary schoolers where kicking the first ball around
at 7pm that night, 6 of the soccer players came out to Logic in 2 dugout canoes, with 4 drinking coconuts to show their appreciation, for receiving the soccer ballthe 4th one did not make it to dawn for the it’s photo opportunity, coconut water and rum, tastes a lot more drinkable to our palate, than kava.
I have two photos available to close this blog post with, both are goodies, so you can pick your favoriteand