Tanna Adventure – Jacks, Yasur and Level 2 eruptions

Saturday 09:20

Hi..I'm Siva.. The one you are waiting for...
Whats your name..?
Oh Jack.
Jack. Can we leave..?

Saturday 10:10

It was a short trip from airport to the resort. It was so peaceful a place, less crowded roads (if you could call that a road) and pretty raw. I checked in at the hotel and I was amazed to see how professional they were. The receptionist gave a big lecture though.

Okies... so we won't have power after 10:30 in the night
and comes back only around 7:30 in the morning.
Okies... No fans/air-cons in the room. I don't mind that.
Generators will be switched on when power goes in the morning.
Fax will not work blah blah blah...

The room was pretty good for a night stay, roof made of coconut leaves and cozy, Windows on all sides and nice breeze. You wont even need an AC in here. not even a fan for that matter and the resort had a nice view of the beach from the dining area.

Saturday 11:27

I didn't want to waste much time in the resort, so took my camera and went out for a walk. Not many foreigners around and the place seemed like its your own. Walked for a few mins and I hit a beach. Tanna isn't famous for its beaches. The shores were ragged. It looked like solidified lava.

Saturday 11:50

Enters Jack 2

I'm Siva...
From India...
You are from here..?
oh oh.. that's your house...
so you look after those boats...
hmm... those belong to a resort is it..?
Is that your kayak...?
oh okies.. you go out fishing daily with that...

and the conversation continued for sometime about Tanna, Vanuatu, India and stuff. He was very happy to show around the place. Took me to Blue hole 1 and 2, the snorkeling place in Tanna and around the coastline showing different things...

Little Jack

More Jacks

I waved bye to everyone around and returned to my resort

Saturday 13:25

Hi... What time will be the trip to Volcano...
Okies can you call me at my room around 3...
Coz its such a nice breeze and I surely might sleep. So pls...

Saturday 15:25

Hi Jack...
You'll be our driver and guide too?
Cool... How much will it take to the Volcano..?
2 to 3 hrs... that long is it..?

The road was as expected. No tarmac and all. But the winding roads, greenery everywhere and less people on the road made it a great trip. We passed through several villages which were so basic, there is no electricity, TV and stuff...

These girls were walking from the main town to their village...Around 8 hours walk...

Jack was pretty adept to that terrain. He drove fast when needed, and slowed before we could see the bumps. The ride in the ash plains was itself a great experience...

Saturday 17:49

Worse thing happened. The one I didn't want to happen. It was little overcast during the afternoon and suddenly it started raining. Everyone warned me that if it rains, you get to see only smoke coming out of the volcano and no chance of fireworks. I could see my 500$ melting in rain. I was literally praying and voila it stopped.
Moral of the story: God is there...

Saturday 18:13

We reached the base of the Mt.Yasur and started climbing. We could hear the eruptions from the base itself. I couldnt control myself. I didnt want another rain to come and spoil it. I climbed as fast as I could and there I was witnessing Nature at its best... Piravi Payan Adainthaen...

No words to describe it... It was such a wonderful experience. Standing on the rim of the volcano, heavy winds pushing you, watching the eruption and smelling sulphur...

Saturday 19:15

It got very dark soon and we started returning. It started raining again. It was pitch black everywhere. The lights in the 4WD didn't help much and even then Mr.Jack showed no signs of reducing the speed. I could hardly see a few meters but he was driving like a rally car. Nothing bad as I thought happened and we were back on the roads again.

Saturday 20:45

Jack asked everyone to let him stop for a bottle of Kava on the way to the resort for his friends. We stopped by at the dimly lit Kava shop. I didn't want to let the opportunity pass. Kava is the local drink and how nice it was to end the day with a sip of Kava.

...to be continued

Tanna Adventure – The Flight of the Harbin

After reading about Mt.Yasur Volcano and the kastom villages in Tanna, I wanted to visit the place before leaving Vanuatu. I had much hope on the unity airlines package which seemed to be cheaper.

Friday 13:45

What… you are not operating this Saturday?
Why…? Oh… you need minimum 4 persons to operate the trip...
Any other option...? You can only do it next week.
Ahhhhhhh...I wont be here then.
nahh... thanks...

Great time to get the news for the Saturday trip!!!

Friday 13:59

My research about Tanna came in Handy. I had inquired earlier about the Air Vanuatu flight rates and details and also about some resorts in Lenakel town.

Hey Rio... U know where's Air Vanuatu Office..?
Oh.. is it very near..?

Friday 14:17

Good thing about Port Vila is that it’s a small city and almost all offices are just a walk away.

Do you have seats available for Tanna tomorrow and return on Sunday..?
Oh.. You give 20% discount for those who have flown in via Air Vanuatu..
Great...Yeah.. Please book it.

Friday 14:45

Hi.. Is it Vanuatu Hotels..?
I had already inquired about the Tanna Evergreen resort Garden view Sharing room.
Is it available.
Fine. Book me for tomorrow. checkout on sunday.
Are you running any discount..?
Oh okies.. 3800 vatus for a room.
Fine then... Please book one room for me.

Saturday 06:35

Taxis are a rip-off in Vanuatu, min 10$ for a short ride to Airport, so took a mini Bus from hotel. There are no shortages of buses here as everyone’s idea for investment is always a mini bus. Hopped in one and was there in airport in 10 mins. I checked in for my 8’o clock flight and was happy to see quite a few number of foreigners around. But a flight departed short time later to some island and I was the only foreigner left in the airport waiting for the 8’o clock flight to Tanna. Got little worried and checked my tickets again, whether I have booked the tickets correctly and have noted the time right. All was fine and they called for my flight shortly later.

Saturday 08:00

It was a Harbin and as expected I was the only foreigner in the whole flight. I was just seated behind the cockpit and could see all the dials and controls. I was getting little paranoiac. The Flight took off and we were immediately flying over the pacific.

We flew over islands with dense forests, rugged coastlines, no settlements visible whatsoever.

Saturday 08:43

After a short while we landed . The landing was rough. People started getting out and I also got out. But to my surprise it didn't look like a airport after all.
People were just standing near the flight and it wasn't a runway either. It was just the fields were cleared for a makeshift runway. I was looking for some board with my name on it from the resort people. But nothing. Everyone was looking at me. I ran to the pilot to check with him.

Hi.. Is it Tanna...
Oh... Thank god...
What island is this then..?
Erramango... oh... the next stop is ours...
Ahhhh. For one minute I thought this is Tanna...

Stopover at the Erramango Island: That's the Runway :)

That's the check-in

After unloading almost 400kgs of cargo and almost all other passengers we took off to Tanna.

Saturday 09:10

To my surprise the landing was very smooth and it looked like a proper airport but didn't see a single official though. I just walked out. My worries were gone after seeing the resort guy standing with a board having my name. Thank god.

... to be continued

Vanuatu, Vulcan, 40 Eridani A, 16 light years from Earth

Immigration Officer: What’s this you have filled in the “Country Visiting”
Me: Vanuatu
Immigration Officer: What?
Me: Vanuatu
Immigration Officer: Is it a city or country?
Me: Country
Immigration Officer: Where is it?
Me: Its near Australia... One of the pacific islands...
Immigration Officer: For What Purpose?
Me: As a consultant to a bank and I showed him the invitation letter.
Immigration Officer: Is it..? Sure..? Please go and meet by boss.

Immigration Officer’s Boss: Where are you heading to..?
Me: Vanuatu
Immigration Officer’s Boss: What?
Me: Yes, Vanuatu
Immigration Officer’s Boss: Is it a city or country..?
Me: Country
Immigration Officer's Boss: Where is it?
Me: Its on the planet Vulcan.
Immigration Officer's Boss: For what are you heading there?
Me: I'm going to meet the Vulcan high command on the request of Mr.Spock...
Immigration Officer’s Boss: What race lives there..?
Me: They call them Vulcan's... I replied and gave him a Vulcan salute.

I thought of replying so but I gave him the usual answers again... I couldn't control my laugh when he asked about the race... He smiled back and stamped my passport and I'm pretty much sure, they both would be wondering where the country is and searching the world map...