Espiritu Santo – Part 4

Espiritu Santo – Part 4


The Santo Story

Our love for Vanuatu is incredible, the people and culture and the pure essence of happiness. This is our raw honest  and humble experience of over 3 years of owning land in the tropical Pacific Island of Espiritu Santo

Prologue– 123456789 – 101112 –13Epilogue


Our first day of camping on our land!

Today we’re on the move, it’s finally camping on our land time but before we can do that there’s still a few items that we have to secure before we track the 15km from town.

We decided that the best way to move everything to our block was to hire a car. We returned to a place we’ve hired from many times before. The Espiriu is one of the larges hotels in town and is hard to miss being 3 stories high. Not only do they rent cars but also this is where Wrecks to Rain-forests have their office. Mayumi is a wonderful lady and if it’s any tours your looking to do then she’ll have a contact.

All packed and ready to head off to our land
All packed and ready to head off to our land

After grabbing the car early (8am) we returned to Hibiscus and quickly loaded our tent and what we had bought the day before. With promises to catch up with Marie and Lois as soon as we had made base camp, the hugs and handshakes aver we set off to set up our tent on the cleared land that we had organised with Moses (Brownie, our neighbors gardener’s cousin) to clear a couple of days earlier.

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We’re finally here. Now to set up camp
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Our Home for the next 3 weeks is built.

After grabbing the car early (8am) we returned to Hibiscus and quickly loaded our tent and what we had bought the day before. With promises to catch up with Marie and Lois as soon as we had made base camp, the hugs and handshakes aver we set off to set up our tent on the cleared land that we had organised with Moses (Brownie, our neighbors gardener’s cousin) to clear a couple of days earlier.

Setting up the tent was easy as once we arrived Brownie and Moses jumped in to lend a hand. Brownie offered to keep the gate unlocked on our neighbours driveway so we could bring the car down to were the campsite was set up. The as fast as we had arrived we bid the guys farewell as they were off to work on the neighbours property and we needed to get back to town for a few more supplies.

We needed to buy a gas cooker and we thought that this would be an easy process. After spying a sign on the window at Santo Hardware recommending Pacific Fuels as the place to get a gas bottle we set about trying to find a cast iron gas ring for cooking. I had seen something similar as our friends place and was convinced that I could buy one in one of the three main hardware stores in town.

Sadly I couldn’t find one anywhere! We wasted a hour running around town. So we headed to Pacific Fuels in the hop that they might have what we need. Grant the owner (an expat from New Zealand) said they only sold the gas bottles and the shop we were at only sold petrol, if we needed LPG then we needed to go to his other store on the other side of town.

Elena suggested the petrol station next door, which was a surprise to find a hardware section way in the back. Finding a small single element cooker that looked decent enough we bought isn’t on the spot, then headed off to the other side of town in search of the gas bottle, only once we got there they had no regulators to fit the bottles.

If you’ve ever watched “Come Fly with me” you”ll understand…. We got milk, we got coffee, we got sugar, but we got not paper cup… We got to close the shop, which is what will happen to most shops in Santo as they all close for lunch.

“We got no Paper Cups – “Come Fly With Me”

We drive past Origin Gas and I said to Elena we gotta try this place before everyone closes.. Success! Not only did they have the regulator but the filled and sold bottles as well.

Ha, you think the saga’s over. I bought the gas cooker in to show Elizabeth the lady who we so helpful and found that the connection between the stove and the hose wouldn’t work. I asked Elizabeth is there any way to make the gas cooker (a cheap Chinese brand) fit? In true Vanuatu style she suggested what every one else here does, just cut off the end that doesn’t fit and buy a hose clamp. In Australia that would break every health and safety code, yet here in Santo it’s what you do.

Now, it would be simple to fine a hose clamp right? Nah, not here in Santo, three hardware stores, the original place we bought the cooker and a supermarket and another hour of our time and we finally have what we’re looking for (and the next size up just in case).

We are done!

Time to head back to the land and settle in.

Me being way too eager to set up I was just not concentrating, first it was cutting the ropes for the tarp over the kitchen, one slip with a brand new knife and I’ve sliced open my knuckle. So it’s off to the trusty first aid bag. Then, as I’m not tall enough, Elena ties a rope to a length of wood to through over a branch, I throw it over, it recoils and hits me fair in the face!
Now I’m bleeding everywhere. Feeling hopeless I let Elena finish stringing up the tarp.

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The battle scared face.
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Nice one! – Sliced Knuckle on the first day of camp!

The nights close in quickly here, it’s pitch black at 6.30pm and it’s now 3pm.
Surveying how we were to set up out little kitchen saw us scouring the campsite and the waist woodpile lets by our neighbor. A few pieces of timber and we had the makings of a kitchens bench, although the rusty old nails were not voting to support much. As we would have to return the rental car to The Espiritu in the morning we saw an opportunity to buy some nails and remodel Elena’s kitchen.

Dinner was simple, Elena prepared a tomato and Bok Choy salad with canned tuna while I did the caveman thing and build a fire before assembling the gas cooker. Thank goodness it worked! Firing up the kettle for our first cup of coffee as the darkness took over the campsite.

We had bought a solar light with us from Australia, and like all the Aldi special it worked a treat. Combined with our helmet lights we we we’ll illuminated (although it’s funny to watch as you head off into the bush “looking for bears”).

We were buggered and bed couldn’t come soon enough, all tucked up by 7.30pm

Apparently I cracked while Elena lay awake for hours listening to bats and other wild animals in the night. I only woke to the sound of rain in the early hours on the morning.

We are here. On our land, living our dream….

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