Just the Pictures (Vanuatu) Looking at the resort on Iririki Island in Vila Bay. Vila Bay at sunset. The Cessna 206 (painted yellow) that would serve as my air taxi for the day (seen here at Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila). Port Vila and Vila Bay seen from above. Rugged landscape on Ambrym Island. Another view of the landscape on Ambrym Island. Coming in for the landing at Lonorore airport on Pentecost Island. Driving through the tall coconut palms on Pentecost Island. whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup . . . . . . . . . whup-whup-whup-whup-whup-whup The tower used for land diving (or “Nanggol”). The first diver for the day, a young boy, starting at the lowest platform – the land diving ceremony starts with divers at the lowest level and ends with a diver from the topmost level. Men preparing for the next diver. The second diver, another young boy; for boys, land diving is a rite of passage and divers can be as young as 5. The third diver, a man, who had jumped from the next level above the boys. Men and women dancing and chanting to provide support for the divers – they danced and sang practically nonstop for the duration of the ceremony (roughly 90 minutes). The fourth diver, parallel to the earth. A man helping the fourth diver up after his jump. The fifth diver. Sequence of photos showing the sixth diver’s fall. The seventh diver. The eighth diver. The ninth diver preparing for his jump. The ninth diver falling toward the earth. Men preparing the tower for the next dive. A man tilling the ground to soften it up for the next diver’s impact. The tenth diver just about at his furthest point from the tower, before the pull of the vines snaps him back and in to the ground. The eleventh diver; his elbows are out with palms against his face to help prevent injury to his head. The twelfth and final diver lunging off the topmost platform. The twelfth diver falling to the ground. With the land diving ceremony concluded, everyone makes their way back to the trucks. Coconut palms sticking out above the rest of the vegetation on Pentecost Island. Flying along the western shore of Pentecost Island. Western shore of Pentecost Island with the land diving site barely visible (the tower is on the left side of the clearing near the shore, in the center of the photograph). More of the rugged landscape on Ambrym Island. Peering down at the lava lake in Marum crater on Ambrym Island. The southern coast on Ambrym Island. Our sister plane flying past us. Coming in for the landing on a grass airstrip on Epi Island. The planes parked on the grass. Interesting looking fruit found on the beach at Lemen Bay. The beach next to Lamarou town, located on the northern end of Lamen Bay. The beach at the southern end of Lamen Bay, where we had lunch and went swimming. My lunch on Epi Island. The small fishing boat that transported me (as well as others in our tour group) across Lamen Bay. Looking toward the northern end of the bay. An outrigger canoe on the beach. Another view of the beach at the southern end of Lamen Bay. Another outrigger canoe on the beach. A few plastic chairs on the beach. Up in the sky again, looking inward at Epi Island. Triangle-shaped coconut palm plantation on Epi Island. Coral reef with Emae Island in the background. Nguna Island, located just north of Efate Island. Moso Island with Nguna Island in the distance on the left, and Efate Island just across the narrow strait on the right. A valley on Efate Island. The terrain just north of Port Vila, on Efate Island. Coming in for the landing (and the close of our day-journey) at Bauerfield International Airport. The market in Port Vila. Head dresses used for various ceremonies, on display in Vanuatu’s National Museum in Port Vila. Tree fern grade figure from Fanla, North Ambrym (1984 AD). Various masks in Vanuatu’s National Museum. Small, traditional sail boats. “Nivinmusi” mask, which denotes the rank of the deceased man whom it is placed in front of during the Nalawan Nemasien mortuary ceremony held 100 days after his death. Tamtam (a slit drum) carved by a high chief from North Ambrym; on display in Vanuatu’s National Museum. Vanuatu’s Parliament building. Artwork on the side of a building in Port Vila. Main street in Port Vila. Pool of water toward the bottom of Mele Cascades. Coconut palm tree with notches carved in the trunk to facilitate climbers in their quest for coconuts. Small field recently planted at Mele Cascades. Trail through banana trees. Flowering plant from the ginger family. Slide worn in to one of the tiers at Mele Cascades – unfortunately it was the dry season and therefore there wasn’t any cascading water. Waterfall at Mele Cascades. Closeup of the waterfall at Mele Cascades. The jungle at Mele Cascades. Clear, blue pool of water at Mele Cascades. View of Mele Bay. Emten Lagoon. Starfishes in Emten Lagoon. Smoke in Ekasup Cultural Village. Man blowing into a shell trumpet at Ekasup Cultural Village. Our guide at Ekasup Cultural Village demonstrating how a banana is scraped on a piece of coral; the scrapings are then dried and preserved for emergency use. Small trap that uses coconut shavings as bait; it is designed to catch chickens or other small animals. Split bamboo shaft with spider webbing between the split – this is used to for catching fish. A woman weaving a basket while two men sleep. Woman scrapping out the contents of a banana with a seashell. Roasted food available for us to eat at the cultural village. Large banyan tree at the cultural village. Shelter inside the large banyan tree; banyan trees are used as protective shelters when cyclones hit Vanuatu. Looking up inside the large banyan tree; many roots are cleared from the center of the tree to accommodate the shelter space inside. Traditional dance at Ekasup Cultural Village. The men at Ekasup Cultural Village playing a song for us. Women weaving baskets at another cultural village at the southern end of Efate Island (near Narpow Point) – this was a stop during a tour around Efate Island. Men dancing at this cultural village. Shell ankle bracelets around a dancer’s feet. The Blue Lagoon near Eton Village. Platform and rope swing at the Blue Lagoon. Schoolhouse at Epao Village – where some of the children sang a few songs for us on our tour around Efate Island. Various fruits and nuts found in Vanuatu; drawn by the schoolchildren, this was on display in one of their classrooms. Restaurant on the northeastern edge of Efate Island (near Onesua Village), where our tour group had lunch. The coral with Emao Island in the distance; at the beach next to the restaurant near Onesua Village. Fruit on a pandan (or “screw pine”) tree. Pool at the hot springs near Quoin Hill. Muddy flats at the hot springs. Stream at the hot springs with Quoin Hill in the background. Abandoned U.S. tank from World War II; located at the northern end of Efate Island. Another U.S. tank from World War II, being overtaken by mangroves. Beach just north of Manga’asi Village. Looking out from a tree house at the beach north of Manga’asi Village. View of Mele Bay at sunset.