Espiritu Santo – Part 6

Espiritu Santo – Part 6


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


Crisis at home

Morning baths are exhilarating and refreshing. There’s not too many places I’ve been where the weather is so warm at 5.30 in the morning. Today is Sunday and there’ll be no work on the neighbours properties today.
The local Ni Vanuatu take their faith pretty seriously and most will be off the church this morning.

I look toward the South an notice it very grey and obviously raining in Luganville. The clouds are gathering and moving in our direction. We have about 20 -30 minutes before it gets to our camp.

We frantically move our kitchen utensils and food to higher spots in our makeshift kitchen and quickly devour breakfast as the rain starts and traps us under the trap covering the kitchen.

We make a dash for the tent and remain there for the next hour as the shower passes through. Now the air is humid and sticky. It would be very had to work in these conditions and we decide that we to should take a day off. After all, now that everything is wet it’s going to be difficult to burn the coconut shells along the boundry.

Thoughts turn to recharging our digital media devices and we decide to take a walk to our neighbours Bruno and Jocelyn who live a 10 minute walk up the road to the north of us.

The day is turning out to be clear skies and by 10am the sky is blue in apart from the increased humidity there is no hint it was raining.

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Wayne and “Makita”

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Makitta (our neighbours dog) was the first to meet us as we walked the driveway that only last year was a track through the undergrowth. They have done so much since we visited with Elena’s mother last November.

Recharging is a little slower using solar but the internet is slower still, Bruno mentions that his plan is 3gb per month and he finds in incredible that last month we chewed through over 200gb.

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Crisis Central, Elena tries to get a good connection to the outside world

Messages from home are not good, it appears that our boarder and our son have had a huge argument resulting in our son calling the police. Elena’s now stressed as I am knowing that in just over a wee from now we’ll have another lodger moving into the other spare room and we don’t want an welcoming feeling in the house.

Communication is difficult as our local phone plan is limited to local calls and text messages only. However we can receive incoming international calls. At Our neighbours we have internet but it’s slow and drops out which makes is very hard when using FaceTime (i Phones answer to Skype) to talk to our son and understand the situation.

We feel sick and being so far away, we cannot do much.  Discussions mention that maybe we should ask our boarder to move out to remover the tension, we just don’t know. Elena’s family who live near by are away camping for the week so our son has no one to help guide his decisions.

Bruno and Jocelyn insist we stay for lunch and their neighbour Christof comes over to join us. Having chicken and steak was the first time we’ve had a good portion of meat since we started camping.

Bruno wants to show me his well and is proud of its construction, I’m pretty impressed with it too and glad that he’s able to give me a rough costing and the name of the guy who drilled the well shaft. This will prove very useful in the near future as we prepare our land.

After lunch we are here to witness the disassembly of part of their outdoor makeshift kitchen as with the building of their house the indoor kitchen is almost ready for use. The concrete blocks and wood will be recycled into a chicken coup that Bruno is building by the compost pile.

We sit around and chat into the afternoon and by 4pm we make the walk back home. I ask Elena to make a start on dinner as it will soon be dark while I go on a hunt for wood. Next door I spy some large tree trunks felled by a chainsaw. Many trips back and fourth and not only do we have firewood but I manage to find some timber to build a makeshift bench to sit on.

Because of the rain this morning we didn’t charge the solar light and now it’s flat, so we cook and eat dinner using just our head torches which seem to work fine. The wind has picked up and it’s a full moon tonight. There’s an eclipse in the Northern hemisphere which is giving us massive incoming and outgoing tides this week.
When we go down to the waters edge the was our dishes we notice how big the waves are. We also notice a lot of crabs stunned by our presence and the powerful head torches.

Downing a beer and a few peanuts we watch the ocean in darkness for a while before heading back to camp and turning in.

An hour later we get a call from our boarder, braking our sleep and explaining move events of this evening….. It’s getting worse, tomorrow we’ll have to got to town to get better reception and deal with the situation.
It will put us a day behind but we just can’t let this destroy what we have worked hard for all year.


After a sleepless night anguishing over the events unfolding in our home in Brisbane  we decide that we’ll have to go to town as the communication we have with the outside world is very limited.

After much argument late into the night and phone call from our boarder saying that the problem had escalated we got up this morning with thoughts of terminating our boarders tenancy simply to preserve our home from two hot headed males that simply cannot live under the same roof without us present. It’s not the outcome that we wanted but we have no other choice.

Moses is starting work on the front of the property today at 8am so we decide that we’ll wait until this afternoon before we head into town, this way with the one hour time difference our boarder will be at work when we deliver the news and our son will be at home so that we can pre-warn him of the situation.

Instructing Moses on what we want done and setting him to task is easier that we thought, he simply is a beautiful guy who seems like a gentle soul.  We leave him to get on with clearing while we head back to camp and have a quick coffee before getting ready to plan our work for this morning.

With little sleep and the stress I’ve hit the wall in the energy department. Lethargically I drink my coffee as the phone rings. It’s our boarder calling, he’s decided that given the situation he’s going to move out.

His call couldn’t have come at a better time, it means we don’t have to deliver the bad news and everybody is happy. It also means we don’t have to make the 30km round trip to town to send the message. Somehow Elena manages to message our son to let him know and advises to stay out of each other’s way until our boarder moves out.

We feel relieved, yet exhausted by the last 24 hours and have come to the conclusion that next time we travel for an extended period of time we’ll organise a house sitter and remove any lodgers prior to departure.

As the day was now ours again thoughts turned to removing the old fallen down front boundary fence that had succumbed to nature years earlier and was now camouflaged in a mass of creepers and climbing grasses. With my trusty, rusty and blunt bush knife I slashed my way through the undergrowth.

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Moses working in our jungle
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“Stinky” the Bat

I wanted to check on Stinky the bat, he hasn’t moved, he’s still in the same place. I mentioned to Elena that I was going to wake him as I really want to clear the area he’s chosen to sleep in. Elena said to poke home with a stick gently to which Stinky dropped to the ground. OMG you killed Stinky….. Hmmm no wonder he smelled.

With the pile of undergrowth now firmly taking hold of flame Stinky was cremated atop the pile. A dignified end to a friend’s life that we never knew. Farewell Stinky, may you pong somewhere else…. RIP.

I struggled with pulling up undergrowth for the next couple of hours before giving in and taking a bath in the ocean. It’s been 5 days since taking a shower as all we have is the ocean….. Another 16 nights to go.

Rolling around to 4pm we strolled up the neighbours driveway to check on the progress of Moses. He works from 8am – 4pm, has an hour for lunch and does and a good days work for $15 per day.

He explains a little about some of the plants that will make you itch (like our red veined friend from previous posts). Moses is invaluable in the knowledge he had of this land, there is so much we can learn from him. He’s pretty skilled with a bush knife too, taking minimal swings to fell small trees. He ask what the time is and I ask him if he’s working overtime as it’s already 415pm. He’s found an old coca-cola bottle, a remnant of 1941 – 1946 when Santo was home to over 200,000 American troops. The ocean and surrounding area is littered with little glimpses of the past.

Moses talks about his family  of four children (2 boys 2 girls) as a proud father does and explains where is village is. We discuss when he want to be paid is it seems Friday is payday.he bids us goodnight and we’ll see him in the morning.

A quick gathering of wood to restore the campfire, I never thigh the smell of fresh cut onions could smell so good. The paw paw and bananas consumed earlier just weren’t enough energy today..

Oh on the home improvement side of things we made a small table for resting our coffee mugs….

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Wayne building the coffee table. Kitset comes with 4 pieces of wood and six nails, shouldn’t take too long.

As the light dimmed dinner was done, yup the light dimmed as the solar light from Adli looks like a fizzer, here I was four days back raving about is and now it at it’s end. Look like a trip to town tomorrow for a few more supplies and to buy Moses some gloves, poor guy was pulling everything our with his bare hands.

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