I can't believe it's already been a month, living on the Lil' Explorers Catamaran! We finally made it to Ambrym, an island with 2 active volcanos. Shannon, Cassidy, 2 of the kids and I had a guide take us on a very rigorous 6 hour hike up to the mouth of Marym, with level 3 activity (out of 5). We left in the morning and didn't reach the top until after sunset, when the glow of the volcano seemed unreal. After quite some time just staring into fog and orange glow, the clouds finally blew away and we saw the most amazing display of lava bubbling and bursting deep into the mouth. Unfortunately with the wind it was becoming too dangerous to stay too long and we had to begin our 1 hour hike, in the dark, straight down the side of the volcano back to our camp where we stayed the night. We were all exhausted for a few days but it was every bit worth it!
Since my last update we've just about done everything: hiking with beautiful views, snorkeling, exploring caves, playing some beach volleyball, paddle boarding with Sea Turtles, spotting dolphins, finding new islands, and even picking up a few island boyfriends along the way ;-)
We are currently anchored at a tiny uninhabited island that a local chief is convincing Courage to buy and call home, so for the time being, it's ours! We're used to drawing in crowds of local villagers so it's nice to have a private island for a few days. The phosphorescence in the water is spectacular at night so Cass and I took advantage of the privacy and went for a late night skinny dip in the glow of the beautiful 80 degree water!!
With only a week left I'm trying to enjoy every second I spend out here!!
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Playing the Tam Tam
Tree carvings at the Rhom festival
This is the sacred dance here. The festival was to bring in new young men to the group. They each brought a pig for sacrifice. Those with the smaller pigs also had to pay a cash donation. This buys them the right to dance, receive the mask from the more senior members, and be allowed to carve the traditional wood carvings. We thought maybe 4 men joined, but they clubbed 6 pigs in front of us, so we aren't sure, we were still a little shell shocked when they handed out the masks. They will eat all the meat, but in western society we are certainly a few steps removed from the clubbing our meat stage.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
We took local transportation (hiking) to the top of the Ambrym volcano last night at sunset and got to see the boiling molten lava in the caldera. It was really cool!! If you look at a map, its just about in the center of the island, so we've effectively hiked completely across this island in 24 hours. Unfortunately, the only way to get there is walking uphill for 4.5 hours to a camp sight, then we hiked about 1.5 hours up to the rim of the volcano, enjoyed the fruits of our labors, then hiked down a steep ridge with drop offs on each side under flashlight ( fortunately a guide had each of the children by hand), and 1.5 hour hike back to camp. We cooked dinner on the fire, then we slept like champions (5 of us in a 4 man tent). This morning we mustered up all of our energy and walked back, about 3.5 hours since it was finally downhill. Innocence and integrity are champions!! They, really hung in there! We are all spent now. Tomorrow is a Rhom festival (native dancing) in a village about 30 minutes away. I hope my legs can get me there!