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Milestones & Cooking Stones

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

There has been a lot of water under the keel of Strannik since my last newsletter. We are now in Vanuatu, having left Fiji in late July. Before leaving Fiji, we spent two weeks in the Yasawa Islands with friends who were very focused on diving, snorkelling, and fishing.


One of the many highlights for me personally was snorkelling with the Manta rays. I must confess, though, I was a little shocked at the lack of guidelines and crowd control. The Manta rays come into the shallow water at this particular spot on the high tide, presumably to feed. However, guests from all the nearby resorts, yachts, and cruise ships in the vicinity descend on the site in runabouts, RIB’s, and canoes, and it becomes a free-for-all. I can't help but think it must be impacting the animals' behaviour.

Manta Ray, Fiji

It was an uneventful three-day trip from Fiji to Port Vila, where we met up with my family. Aaron, Nathan, and their families flew in for a week to join me in celebrating a significant birthday. I had arranged for a family from a small village on remote Malakula Island to prepare a traditional feast. They invested a lot of time, energy, and love in the preparations, and despite the rain, it was hugely successful and a lot of fun. The menu included a spit-roasted suckling pig with yams and taro, fish, and the one item that intrigued the grandchildren the most was Fruit Bat cake cooked in an underground pit lined with hot stones.

Fruit Bat cake with coconut milk
Fruit Bat cake with coconut milk

Land Diving site - the origin of bungee jumping

We finished our family exploration with a visit to Pentecost Island, where I was able to take my family to a land diving site that I had visited some 35 years ago as expedition leader on the “Explorer” and met the family of the chief who had organised the event for us. On that visit some 35 years ago we were amongst the first visitors to witness this unique cultural ritual that is the origin of modern day bungee jumping.


My family have headed back to New Zealand and we have now been joined by friends from our mailing list on a special expedition through Vanuatu, which will be followed by an expedition to the Santa Cruz Islands, after which we plan to head to Tasmania for the summer.

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