Port Vila… and Mount Yasur as final activity on Tanna
You know what is heavenly? The first chocolate bar after three weeks… 😉 I am safely back in Vila and when I arrived at the hotel shortly after 10 they told me check-in was only at 2 PM. The hotels I usually know are flexibel and even if you have to wait for a bit they will clean a room for you. Not at the Melanesian in Port Vila. They made me wait nearly 4 hours and when I went back to reception at 2 they had already forgotten me (although I had been sitting in plain sight) AND my room was not ready. I don’t complain easily but they then realized that I was pissed off. The excuse was that check-out time is 10 AM but the thing is that the three times I am here I have flights at 7 AM twice and the third time I left my room at 8:30… and I don’t think that I am the only one to leave my room early. I don’t usually write reviews in TripAdvisor because you get flooded with emails afterwards but for this hotel I will make an exception. And they won’t like it… there is more from my first week here (the room was not cleaned twice in those 6 nights and the hotel is not cheap so I DO expect them to do that).
OK, let’s talk about more interesting stuff… yesterday I had my last day on Tanna and I went on a special tour – custom-made for me by Wayne. I had wanted to go back to Port Resolution which is on the other side of Tanna and I had stayed there two years ago. Since I had heard that two people had died there during cyclone PAM I wanted to go and see how they are.Before I left I got the news that my flight for this morning had changed so I knew I had to pack my stuff after coming back instead of this morning. My driver asked me if I had a swim-suit with me but I told him that I am not going in the water without wetsuit. 😉
We made a first short stop in Lenakel because I wanted to take a pic of the tree house.
Then we went to the other side and when we got the first glimpse of Mount Yasur we knew he was in a bad mood yesterday. I saw lots of women with head-clothes yesterday which was the first time and Illi (not sure if I spelled it correctly), my driver, said that it was to protect it from the ashes of Mount Yasur.
We went past the entrance to Mount Yasur and continued on the road. First stop (after the photo-stops on the lava-plain) was Shark bay. It is a beautiful, black beach – small though – where we could see the baby-sharks close to shore. Going there we drove through the roots of a giant Banjan-tree.
Continuing towards Port Resolution I could see that most of the forrest in the area is basically intact. There are much more devastated areas on Tanna. The banjan-trees there are all still there (although they might have lost a branch or two).
Before finally arriving at Port Resolution we made a detour to the Hot Springs. It is in the same bay as Port Resolution but on the other side. It is 100 °C hot water coming out of the ground and the locals cook in it: bananas, eggs, potatoes… whatever you can just put in hot water. The women are washing with the water too.
Then we finally went to Port Resolution and the first stop was the Yacht Club where I had been staying two years ago. ‚My‘ bungalow is still there but it didn’t look like anyone can stay in it. Now the rats have it for themselves. 😉 The other bungalows are all gone. They have built three new ones in a more protected place (i.e. without view on the bay).
Then we went on to the wonderful white beach. Leah’s restaurant that so far was on the beach has moved into the village although the house on the beach is still standing.
We spent some time on the beach and Illi went in the water but got back out quickly as he realized that the water (and the wind) were cold… 😀 😀 😀
Then it was time to go back to Mount Yasur and on the pics you can see that he was rather nasty. Initially he stank a bit (sulphur) but then he threw some ash-clouds on us later. This means I will have to have my camera cleaned again after my return. 🙁 I had cleaned it before going on that day-trip but you can see that obviously there had still been dust inside and the rattle of the jeep on the street must have loosened it up. So you will see black spots on my pics that I am too lazy to remove.
What was a first on my fourth trip up Mount Yasur was that we saw a few flashes in the ash-cloud. I would have loved to get this on camera of course but I was not that lucky. Still, it was once again a very impressive experience.
On the way back the wind made it difficult to see anything on the plain of ashes that we had to cross. There were a two or three spots where it was like diving with no visibility whatsoever. We made it back to the ‚real‘ street though without getting lost (seems to happen that drivers get lost and I can fully understand HOW that can happen 😉 ) and then back to the hotel where I had to get ready for my departure from Tanna. 🙁