Espiritu Santo – Part 8

Espiritu Santo – Part 8


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


Exhausted, no energy…. must press on….

have no energy this morning, I went to bed at 4.30pm yesterday with a really sore stomach and hoped that this morning it would be over. The stomach is still grumbling and I’m hoping that my little hunting for bears expedition will release the pressure.

I lithsrgally stumble toward the kitchen and plonk myself down on the little makeshift bench seat. Elena make me a mug of black tea and the only thing I can stomach this morning is a can of creamed rice we bought in LCM Supermarket on one of our Luganville supply runs.

I lie on the mat in the kitchen floor as I know that the heat in the tent will soon be unbearable and the breeze coming up from the beach is gentle enough to cool me.

Elena makes for the beach and takes some tools with her, I’m not sure what she has planned but I can only assume she wants to work on yet another project. I stir lying on the mat feeling tired but knowing that I’ve had enough sleep and I really should push myself to keep going. Today is going to be a test of mind over mussels.
I walk to the beach expecting her to be in the hammock but instead she’s busy loping branches off trees on the rocks overlooking the water.”this is where I want to build a deck” she explains “with a walking path to the pond and the other to the beach”.

” It looks look a fine idea.” I tell her before raiding her place in the hammock for some more rest. I’m no sooner comfortable when I spy two people walking down our freshly built path to the beach.

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This is what I believe made my stomach sore. It’s a fluffy substance found in coconut seedlings, you can eat it and it tastes like crushed coconut you put on cakes. It has a sweet taste.

“Salut Bruno”
Bonjour Jocylene”

Each day Bruno and Jocylene are giving us a few words in French, I know in time were gonna have some great neighbours here in Espiritu Santo, with only 2 blocks left if you want to be our neighbours you better act fast.

We return to camp for coffee and Bruno notices how little the wind effects our campsite, on the beach there’s a a breeze today, yet at our camp it’s so still. With all the large trees between us and the beach were quite sheltered.

We’ve been drawing some rough sketches of what we would like to build and Our neighbours are keen to take a look, Bruno is fascinated in our design and with is background in physics he analyses who at we propose in great detail. The more he looks at our plans the more excited we both are on getting started.

On Espiritu Santo there is nothing like what we are proposing to build. Our home will be unique and totally individual. There is no way we ever wanted to do the Aussie thing of going to a builder picking a pre-designed plan, choosing our preselected colour scheme and calling it our new home.

We showed Bruno our new path that with the little bit of energy found today we managed to start the construction of. Jocylene was impressed that we moved all the rocks by hand. The paths are not finished, but it’s our goal to complete them before we leave.

Toward late afternoon my energy levels start to increase and I’m starting to feel better, I don’t know what I might have eaten or what came over me but. I’m glad it’s gone.

It’s Friday, which means it’s payday for Moses. He’s worked so hard this week and were really pleased with his work and gentle nature. He just gets on with the job, no complaints and works tirelessly to get the job done. He’s happy to be paid and today he’ll head home to his village, a 15 minute bus ride to the north. We’re north sure if Monday is a public holiday so we tell Moses that if he takes Monday off it’s ok with us, to our surprise he say “I come to work Monday is Ok”. This afternoon Moses made a start on the track that will lead to the cam through our bush. No more walking down the neighbours driveway.

We’ve decided that our drive will only be 3m wide as we will only be bringing the quad bike down the track. We want to minimise the environmental impact that larger vehicles can create. Elena marked our where she wants the container to sit on the front of the property and with a couple we talked to on Facebook before we left Australia having a container arrive this week we may be in luck of securing a container before we leave in a couple of weeks time.

Getting my appetite back Elena makes a huge dish of choko and potato with cherry tomatoes and onions, I’m so full that is a rare occasion that it offer what’s left on my plate to Elena who quickly takes what’s left.

It’s early (6.30pm) but time is slowly becoming irrelevant, we get up when the sun rises and sleep when the sun goes down….. Time for bed.


Yay it’s the weekend, no sounds of construction from Romans resort today. The sunrise so spectacular this morning, rising at 545am I just missed it but you can still see the golden light across the calm ocean. Elena is still sleeping while I hammer out these short note each morning.

Moses won’t be coming to work today so I might head up the front of the property and burn the grass that he cut on the start of our track. We’re super excited about the track and can’t wait now the see it’s completion.

Breakfast this morning consists of fruits and we need to eat the Paw Paw we bought at the market before it goes off. Living without refrigeration means you choose what you buy carefully and note based on the fancy packing that catches your eye.

Burning the grasses that Moses cut yesterday proves hard going as they’re still green and the fires take a bit to get started. Out bodies and clothes stink of smoke but it’s better than the B.O. that I can normally smell.  In the last 10 days I’ve had little need for soap. The ocean is all I need for cleaning and cooling off when needed.

I haven’t used the ocean just for lazing around and swimming yet, I’m sort of in and out and back to work. Even Elena is surprised at the minimal amount if time I’m spending swimming. I guess I’m too consumed at all the work that needs to be done. There’ll be plenty of time for swimming once the property is developed.

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Burning the grasses on the front of the property.

As we manage to burn all the grasses on the path cut by Moses our thoughts turn to moving more rock off the beach and collecting clam shells that we’ll use later in our building project. So much of what we want to build is right here on our land.

This afternoon we’re hoping to catch up with Chris and Sue, our neighbours who own and operate Hidden Cove Eco Resort. We met Chris at the front of our place the other day, he mentioned to come over before Sunday as they will be busy with guests after then.

Greeted by their two massive dogs at we entered their place we were soon sitting on their porch discussing dreams and the realities of what 10 years of experience has taught them. We really like them, they’re honest straight up people. They, like us camped on their land before deciding on what to do, and what they have done is breathless. Their luxury tents are incredible, Sue’s vision and creative flair is impeccable.

This combined with Chris’s craftsmanship in the building of these magnificent structures. If you’re really wanting to get away from it all and want sea views and total seclusion then this is the place to be. Check out Hidden Cove Eco Retreat.

After showing us through their gorgeous tented pavilions Sue needed to get some work done in preparing for their guests tomorrow, so with a reconvene set for 6pm a dinner at Turtle Bay Resort was set.

Turtle Bay Lodge is just 10 minute drive to the north of our place and a mere 20km from Luganville is a great spot to grab a pizza and bottle of wine,which is exactly what we did. Although a little windy on the night the resort still played a great host we we know that we’ll be visiting again.

With darkness now deeply set, Chris and Sue dropped us at the gate and we donned the headlight torches that have become the nightly ritual around the campsite.

Walking toward the camp in the darkness takes on an illuminating dance of fireflies. We turn off the torches and Stand in the middle of the drive simply awestruck as the fireflies dance through the trees on our property in total silence. We believe we are truly blesses to have such a place and can’t wait to share it with our friends.


We are now past the halfway point in our time here.

Have we built a shed? No.

Have we got a container?No, but we have built on friendships and knowledge that will prove invaluable in what we’ll do to develop the property.

Our build concept is unique and will take many more moths of carefully planning and reevaluating before it’s completion.

Each day here brings new challenges and goals to achieve. The last couple of day have been incredibly windy and the gas stove now struggles with the wind getting to the flame, we have to shied it with the mat from the floor to increase the heat should we  be eating pasta nay time soon.

Today bought us the challenge of continuing the coral path building project. With a 20l bucket for carrying the coral and a shovel we have trudged on building this path. It’s getting harder now as I have to carry the coral further distances to reach the end of the path that tapered into the rock garden. One more mornings effort should see it’s completion.

On our last visit to Santo we came with Elena’s mother and while the girls swam in the ocean I started a little path made of old coral rocks that had washed up on the beach. I didn’t manage to get to far and never knew if it would last or weather is would succumb to nature and be reclaimed. To our surprise it was still here when we returned, so today’s plan is to continue with the building of the path toward the Rock Garden.

Simian breezes through camp on his way to work. This morning he delivers two fresh coconuts and opens them for us. There is nothing sweeter first thing in the morning to drink. Simian also shows us the parts of the coconut that I never knew you could eat.

When a coconut starts to seed and take root, if you cut it open the center where you would normally find coconut flesh clinging to the inner side of the coconut. this area is full of a white soft fluffy texture that if you closed you’re eyes while  eating it you would swear you’d been eating shaved coconut that Aussies put in their Lamington cakes.

Simian says he finishes work at 4pm and will come by to help me take out a few of the stinging nettle plants down by the Rock Garden that are now metres into the air, we bid him a great days work and start on Breakfast.

Mission accomplished, I managed to place all the edging rock for the path, now all I have to do is fill the center with crushed coral and the path is done. Its back breaking work placing every rock by hand. The best time to do anything that is excessive manual labour around the property is before lunch. The sea breeze by the beach and wafting into the Rock Garden makes it a little more pleasurable, but its still hard going.

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We set about building our biggest fire yet as there is a huge dead tree branch that will obstruct any pathway that we would have to build into this area. Elena fetched the bucket and started wetting down the surrounding trees in the vein attempt to keep this raging fire under control.

Im now pushed for time its almost 4pm and Simion will be coming and I really want to see how Moses is getting on and make sure that he finishes onetime, yet this fire on the beach needs to be watched. Elena takes over the fire and I head to the front. Moses has started another fire and as he leaves for the day I work the fires for another 1/2 hour. using a makeshift hook that Moses has made from one of the branches.

I meet Simion on the path as I head back down to the beach, he’s seen the fire on the beach and left Elena guarding it. We get stuck into the nettles, I’m sure Simion is trying to impress me with his cutting skills. His bush knife is razor sharp and smaller that mine. I joke that it’s not the size of you knife its the way you use it. He laughs and sees the meaning behind the joke. We make a pile of nettles ready for burning, and Simion says he’s call by tomorrow to help me trim the overgrowth off an orange tree and Lemon tree that are only 20 metres from our camp.

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Looking toward the beach
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Looking toward the rock pool

As the darkness closes in I find Elena smelling fresh, she’s found a bucket and been collecting fresh water. We both have a wash down with fresh water and soap. It’s the frost time I’ve had something the represents a shower since leaving Hibiscus.

Feeling clean its a quick dinner in the now darkness of eggs bread and fish, washed down with a shared beer before turning in for the night.

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