Day 3: Lelepa Island - somewhere near Eden
Port Vila Travel Blog› entry 52 of 89 › view all entries
I spent my third day in Vanuatu on a day-tour to nearby Lelepa Island, so named because lepers back in the day were sent to live in isolation in a cave there. We travelled around the island in a fishing boat driven by Moses and his sister-in-law, eighteen-year-old Matilda. They both lived in the present-day village on the island.
We started the tour with a short bush walk through the wilderness where Matilda explained to us the uses of various plants in nature. Her English was not great but then again, she speaks more than two languages, which is more than I can say.
We then emerged from the forest on the other side of the tip of the island on a pristinely white beach.
After a filling non-oatmeal lunch, the group went for a walk up the hill to see an old WWII airplane wreck, which looked like a heap of metal. The hill opened up to an amazing view of the other side of the island with the reef exposed at low tide.
The walk was followed by a visit to the cave where the lepers went to live. Moses went in before us to light the candles lining the way.
The second snorkelling site was between the main island and a large rock. The water was absolutely clear and Moses threw our lunch scraps into the water, bringing tons of fish to us. The chicken bones weren't very popular.
The last part of the tour was afternoon tea in their village, which was really nice because it was not touristy at all. We basically walked through their village to an aunt’s home (it’s hard to tell because everyone seemed related and everything was communal). While snacking on coconut, we had the chance to buy some of their handicrafts.
On the way to the village from the snorkelling spot, Moses gave me and the one male tourist fishing poles with big colourful lures to trawl through the water.
It was an amazing day in a beautiful country. On the way back to the main island, Moses took us down a small river (outside of the promised tour) and a little clearing where they had filmed one of the Survivors.
That night, I splurged by having dinner at Hideaway’s restaurant run by the charismatic Chef Bruce. I had a delicious steamed fresh poulet fish with lemon parsley butter sauce followed by an enormous slice of coconut cake and scoop of vanilla ice cream. A fine ending to a fine day.