The paranoia about catching my connecting flights from Santo to Port Vila and then home to Auckland has left me unable to sleep. A storm wakes me up in the middle of the night, and sparks a lucid dream where my flight is cancelled due to weather, and I’m running around the airport in a captains hat, urgently trying to charter my own plane. I have become Jeff with a J.
I wake up to a faint rumbling that lasts a few seconds, settle back in and just before I fall asleep, it happens again. Could it be a giant truck driving past? I’ve stayed here 3 nights now and haven’t experienced this before so it seems unlikely. At breakfast, everyone else says they felt the shaking as well so we give it a quick Google to find it was, in fact, an earthquake. A 5.2 magnitude from Tanna – maybe I did make the right choice by coming to Santo. Yikes. Google doesn’t pull up any articles about fatalities though, so fortunately I don’t think it was very serious.
I caught a ride back to Luganville with the German couple from Port Olry this morning. Since arriving at 11 I’ve been pressed to find something to do, but it seems most activities start around 8:30. I’ve heard (there’s never any definitive information, everything is word of mouth) that there’s a free ferry over to Aore Island, just a quick trip from Santo. I ask at my lodge for some information or a timetable but there’s nothing – just multiple ferries per day.
I’ve met some nice French girls at my hostel who are hitting the blue holes today (which I’ve already done) but are kind enough to give me a ride to town. I’m kicking myself because I haven’t made any strong decisions yet. I’ve kind of been puttering about trying to figure out what I want to do, and I’m really just wasting time.
Yesterday was mostly driving from Nelson to Greymouth along the beautiful west coast highway, making lots of stops along the way.
First we stopped to do the 1hr Braeburn track to a small waterfall, through a forest with black-mould covered trees and burnt orange leaves falling along the path.
My wonderful family has come all the way from Canada to be with me on Christmas, which has become somewhat of a tradition since my first time living away from home in Australia 6 years ago.
We have been picking up some shells to bring home because Tonga has some rad shells, and they’re free souvenirs. One from yesterday keeps going missing. I found it in the corner of a shelf last night and thought maybe it had rolled away so I put it back with the group. When we found it on the floor this morning, half way across the room, we realized there’s a little guy livin’ in there.
We have a full day to explore Vava’u on our bikes, so decide to cycle out as far as we can to make the most of it. The Botanical Gardens are at the furthest east end of the mainland and seem like the only real thing to do today.
One last boat ride through the crystal clear waters between Kapa and Vava’u mainland. The sky is overcast and it’s windier than ever so I think we’ve really killllled it with the weather. Our poor boat driver is getting absolute smacked by waves and is soaked by the time we reach land. So sorry mate.