Part 6: Vanuatu: Beam me up Scotty
Bislama word/phrase of the day:
Yu ting you likim solwata – Do you like the sea?
When I woke up at 6am this morning I couldn’t hear the sea. How could that be? As we drifted to slumber land last night it felt as though the ocean was about to come crashing through our door. And now, nothing, not a whisper. I slip out of bed leaving sleepy one and his pet hergut (my new name for his oesophagus issue) and dash out of the door and onto the beach. There’s no sea. It has completely disappeared. Where the powder blue waves licked at the pockets of narrow white beach there is nothing but jagged exposed black remnants of a volcanic history and a huge carpet of broken dead coral. I sharply inhaled with surprise and wonder, my simple brain searching for an answer. A tsunami perhaps? A fine tuned creature of evolution with a sense of survival would exit the scene stage left, preferably up an incline, hill or mountain.
I, on the other hand, am clearly not a great example of Darwinian perseverance as I walk towards the receding ocean regardless of the potentially perilous giant Odysseun waves. Stupid? Nay, brave and valiant (ahem).
I walk out over the coral graveyard until I reach the pitiful shallow lappings of the sea. The ground beneath my feet crackles and popslike a bowl of Rice Krispies and the brittle marine skeletons crunch underfoot. Stranded sea cucumbers squeeze themselves into tiny puddles gasping for water, mud-skippers and tiny eels slither and flip across the damp surface and sea snails plunder the stocks of tiny bemused crabs.
As it turns out, it was in fact just low tide but in my imagination I was stepping across the face of an unexplored planet. A wasteland of a world once luscious and vibrant in colour and sound. As I skip across the puddles of lonely sea water, I imagine that I have been sent to this ancient and forgotten planet to study this peculiar environment for signs of life and ultimately for the possibility of human habitation. I deem it unworthy as I discover an area of the death carpet where the petrified corpses are covered in some green substance. It must be radioactive! Perhaps the result of over-mining. In their folly, this advanced race of space creatures sought to plunder the ground for all the fuel they could find and unwittingly they bored a hole straight into the radioactive center of their savaged planet. Thus, they unleashed a noxious green gas that caused their forms to twist and shatter into the tiny the fragments that litter the now liberated cosmic ball.
A lesson perhaps for planet earth not to strip our land to it’s core in our hasty greed. Or the substance could be the ectoplasm of some cruel alien enemy that raped and pillaged a highly developed peaceful race. The warring enemy used the planet as a training ground for their new breed of young warriors. Their initiation into the most terrible and feared army in the cosmos required them to devour and destroy with reckless abandon. Where have they moved onto next? The ectoplasm is still warm? A lesson for earth not to knock to loudly on the space telegraph but to hide in the shadows silently, safely.
Errr, how embarrassing. I seem to have exposed too much of the inner workings of my puny mind. Clearly too much Star Trek as a child has damaged my sense of reality. Damn you William Shatner, Will Wheaton and Patrick Stewart!
Life is hard at Turtle Bay Lodge. We have walked across the emptied sea bed to a tiny jungle island and listened to bird choirs and insect orchestras that are too much like those cheesy ‘sounds of the rainforest’ to be real . We have snorkeled in the extensive coral gardens a stone’s throw from our room and gawped at the different types of trigger fish, anemone fish and angel fish. We have chatted to and learnt from ex-pats, listened to their hilarious stories, interesting origins and ideas for new beginnings. We have enjoyed the pool, the sunshine and glorious daily thunderstorms. We have been spoilt with an epic show of musical wizardry and comedy by Nicky Bomba. But most of all we have felt welcome. We haven’t done half the things that we could do here. Every day we are given suggestions of sights to visit but it has just been too lovely kicking back and enjoying our setting.
P.S. Chris wanted me to call this post ‘Call the Nerd Police’. Uncultured heathen!