Saturday, June 20, 2015

Teen Crew Members Come Aboard

So excited to have Cassidy and Miranda onboard!! A little provisioning, load up some more water tanks to deliver, and we're out of here!! Got the whole crew warm showers today! It was a battle getting them in there, but getting them out was even harder!

Happenings -

It all started a couple of days ago with the land diving. The tower is 60 feet high, and they start the jumping at about 25 feet. The first jumper hit pretty hard on his face and lost his Nambas. So cupping his hand in front of himself he raced up the hill to the other male dancers.

As the land divers continued going higher the vibrations of the tower shaking as the vines yanked on them could be felt in the ground, along with the dull thud of the land diver hitting the ground.
The chanting by the throng of dancers grew more excited as the jumpers got higher and higher. The men clad in their Nambas stamping out a rhythm on the ground, and the women shrieking and whistling.

From the land diving we started working our way back to our jumping off point. This required a 3 hour beat straight upwind in 9 foot steep seas, and 25 knot winds. It was a rough 3 hour run and as the waves broke over the bow, the ladder between the nettings broke in half.

We did though catch a giant sailfish. He jumped out of the water many times and swam towards our boat at first, but when he started running away the line snapped! He kept jumping out of the water, and one of his sailfish buddies joined in the sport by jumping out of the water next to him. What a spectacle!

We now are in Jumasume waiting for a weather window to jump to Port Vila. This was one of the villages that we dropped off one of the water tanks at. We also had some more food aid that we were given to distribute to the ravaged villages, so we dropped it off here also.

The whole village was working to get the gutter on the church, the pad made for the water tank, and the water pipe going from the gutter to the tank. When they finished they had a large ceremony, put flower lei's around our necks, gave Shannon an island dress, and me an island shirt! Such wonderful people!

While heading out in the water to get the dingy, I had my sandals on, and did not feel the stingray as I stepped on it. Hence he jabbed his stinger way into my foot and pumped it full of poison! Wow did it hurt! I sat for over an hour writhing in pain, having my foot soaking in a pot of hot water. Then as suddenly as the pain started it was gone!

And the adventure continues!


Rough Seas

A wave broke our front ladder on a rough passage today. Granted, it was already cracking.

Rough day, everyone threw up in sloppy seas today!! But we are anchored in another great place and working our way back to pick up Cassidy Grant and Miranda! I guess this is why they say don't sail to a schedule Winds and seas are not favorable in our direction right now.

Nap Time

Long day on Lil' Explorers. Now it's cuddle time to wind down and relax.

Local Fruits and Veggies

Cooking with local fruits and veggies. The wonderful locals have gifted us pamplemousse, these snake squash, green peppers, yams, corn, papayas, which goes perfect with our dorado that we caught on our way to Malekula!! Usually in exchange for clothes or medical clinic visits, but the exchanges are so nice!! Learning what to do with these great, fresh foods.


The clinic setting in Namaram, Pentecost on 6-10. This is the Nakamal, where the men gather and have their meetings (and often kava).

Land Diving

The Legend of the vine jumping festival tells of a woman who ran away from her husband who beat her and hid in a tall tree. The husband, Tamale begged her to say sorry and come down but warned he may beat her a little more.

She refused so he climbed the tree after her and as he reached the top she jumped. In his anguish Tamale jumped after her, only to realise that she had tied liana vines around her ankles. The woman survived while Tamale perished. To this day, men jump from the towers as a show of strength to women in the village and as a statement that they cannot be tricked again. When the vine stretches at the end of the dive the land divers head curls under their shoulders and touches the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop.

Land diving was first given international exposure when David Attenborough and a BBC film crew brought back footage of the ritual during the 1950s.
Queen Elizabeth II , visited Pentecost in 1974 and witnessed a land diving ceremony, during which one unfortunate islander died because the jump was performed too early in the year, when the vines were much less elastic than usual.