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  • Day7

    Windy Beach Time

    February 2, 2020 in Vanuatu ⋅ 🌫 31 °C

    Another surprise addition to our itinerary was Mystery Island. A small, uninhabited island, just 1.5sq km in size, the most southern part of Vanuatu. It's uninhabited, allegedly, as the locals believe it to be haunted after dark. Instead, they travel from a larger neighboring island whenever a cruise ship is in town, to sell goods/tours/services to make a living.

    Everything happened at a snails pace this morning. My throat kills and kept me awake a lot but I'm hanging in there. Ryland slept in a little so we didn't get to breakfast until 9ish.. Everyone else was on the same schedule so there were delays getting tendered and we didn't set foot on Mystery Island til around 11am.

    Nat and I traveled here just under 3 years ago. That day it was two of us, first ashore on a still sunny morning. Today was a much different affair. You can walk around Mystery Island casually in about 45 minutes. In our circumstances, with our luggage and dual-towing little lordling around in his pram over sand-paths like overworked huskies, in strong winds, we may have met the evening spectres of local legend. It was also hard to find a tree without 4 people under it. Nat was quick to find the spiders though, I calmly noted a large white stowaway climbing down her dress. She was quick to ask him to disembark.

    You could easily call the location spider island. Every other tree has a giant network with tropical eight legged occupants the size of your hand. We eventually mushed our way around all the local salesmen and tour guides to a beach on the far side of the island, still packed, still very windy. Nonetheless we set up camp here under a palm tree to enjoy some family swimming. The water was perfect, though the winds made it very, very choppy and... full of seaweed, pulled up from the seabed.

    Ryland still loved his time here swimming with us in temperate turquoise waters. The weather remained windy and rotated from clouds, to sunshine, to some scattered showers which were actually warm and refreshing.

    I did take the opportunity to test out my snorkel here again for half hour or so, managing to reduce leakage. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of fish I saw, just standing distance from the shore.. Angelfish, parrot fish, large white, and blue ones.. at least 20-30, from 15cm-1m in length. Way better viewing than Isle of Pines, much less quantity than Vila, but a few bigger ones.

    At this point, Nat had her fill with snorkeling and her burns, so we moved on to wander the market stalls on the island. I picked up a nice seashell that you can hear an echo within (sound of the sea). Ryland loved it as expected. I paid a couple dollars to hold some local lizards, which was fun. We tendered back relatively painlessly to be back aboard by 2.30pm, burn free!

    It was a low key afternoon, some lunch, a small snooze and a wander around decks. I was in awe of the larger vast island on our port side, named Aneityum (opposite Mystery Island) - sparse homes scattered the shore, but beyond, dense tropical jungle that stretched on for miles to the base of a looming mountain range. There was little to no signs of habitation beyond the shore, it looked almost untouched wilderness.

    Rylands late nap meant a few laps of the ship were required to get him to sleep. I decided I'd get some sleep after dinner to get up and watch Arsenal play live at midnight in the sports bar. Turns out it was a 1am kick off... and with the game goalless at half time at 1.50am right now (and FINISHED 0-0), I'm more than half regretting that decision. We're up at 8am tomorrow to do a tour on the Tchou Tchou train in Noumea.
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