03 October 2010 | oyster bay
We took the boat around the corner to Oyster Bay making sure to time the tides properly or we wouldnt be able to clear the shallow pass. Getting from where we anchored back into town (Luganville) involved rowing our dingy through reef, tying it to mangrove roots, hiking a dirt path to the nearest road, then hitching a ride with a local copra truck. Copra is dried coconut and the biggest crop in Vanuatu (if you dont count kava). We would sit on burlap bags of the stuff with nothing to hold on to except the bags themselves praying that they were stacked so they would stay on the truck. On the 20 minute ride in we passed row after row of coconut trees just like the endless rows of corn or soybeans one would see in Indiana and on the side of the road would be copra drying stations where the inner meat of the coconut was spread out over a tin sheet with a fire of coconut husks burning beneath it. The rich smell of coconut was everywhere and could still be smelled in our cloths when we got back to the boat. After finishing boat projects and provisioning we had time to do some river exploring. We heard of a wrecked world war two U.S. fighter plane by the river mouth and snorkled its remains before heading into the wild. The river winded and twisted to the extent that we could never see more than a couple hundred feet up the river and each bend brought and even more lush and thick palm studded jungle with the opening path of the river luring us deeper and deeper. About a mile up the river I noticed some watercrest and we stopped to munch on some fresh salad. Vines hung from the thicker parts and Isaac had to stand at the bow of the dingy to open the natural curtain that led us to the next steamy jungle room. We finally reached a near perfect circle blue hole where the river came to an abrupt end. The water was crystal clear and after jumping into the refreshingly chilled fresh water with our masks we discovered the bottom which looked like only 10 feet deep was actually 50. At one end of the hole was huge banyon tree with one of its branches extending over the water with a rope swing tied to it. It didnt take us long to be swinging from high up in the tree out over the water doing dives and backflips. The sound of our splashes attracted the attention of the locals and before long we had a full on blue hole swimming party with locals climbing all over the tree to jump in and show there stuff. One particular chap, named Nixon, about our age climbed to the highest spot on the tree (about 40 feet up) where Isaac and I had previously jumped and we noticed everyone go quiet and focus on his soon to be jump. Nixon waited for what seemed like minutes, clearly focusing on what he was about to do, before jumping off of his perch. He jumped and as he flew down towards the water the rope became taught and began to swing him out. At his lowest point he was still 15 feet off the water before ascending again to his previous jumping point height. At the apex of the swing he released the rope and his momentum sent him flying even higher into a superman flight (dont worry i have a picture of this) before catching a branch high over the water. The locals, having seen this before, cheered wildly while Isaac and I silently stared in awe at Nixon dangling from the high branches of the Banyon over the water. He hung there for a while and then with perfect form swung his legs up and dove into the blue. We decided that one of us must try this tarzan swing and having injured myself to the point of thinking I might not be able to have children on my previous jump from the same height Isaac was elected and up he went. It took several minutes and lots of encouraging but the flying eskimo took to the air and his first attempt at catching the branch he was successful. He stayed there for quite some time not sure how to make his decent, even climbing upside down, before finally swinging around and diving (although not as graceful as Nixon’s).