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Freedom and Adventure: Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu

by Andrew & Clare Payne 30 Jul 01:58 UTC
Entrance to Forest River © Freedom and Adventure

So our next stop was the Blue Holes at Peterson Bay north of Santo's main town of Luganville. It certainly is a peaceful spot and it has two fresh water rivers to explore by way of dinghy, the Forest River and Nalaiafu River.

Our River Run

Last time we were here in 2019 the village community at the mouth of the river was charging $5 to travel up the river by dinghy. However the 2022 tourist season is having a slow start after Covid shut down and there was no mention of a charge. We travelled up both the Forest and Nalaiafu Rivers. The rivers are peaceful and the bird life plentiful. Any stress you might be carrying just dissolves as you travel up the river, one with nature. It really is a magical place.

These blue holes are found in several places in Vanuatu. I think they are formed when a fresh water spring is filtered through limestone and the blue cast to it is from the dissolved calcium carbonate. It was a grey overcast day and so this time we did not go for a swim, however it was still nice just sitting in the river enjoying the quiet.

Unfortunately the forest is partly choked by a vine which was introduced during WW2 from south west of the United States. It was introduced to camouflage gun emplacements and war equipment should the Japanese every make it to Vanuatu. We think the vines would have been a very effective camouflage, but sadly, years later they are just choking the forest.

At times the weed was almost covering the entire river and we had to pick our way through and clear weed from the dinghy's propeller.

Port Olry

We stopped at Port Olry which is at the northern end of Espiritu Santo. The weather was very calm and so we had to motor the 25 miles to this beautiful bay.

Warm, sunny and stunningly beautiful, we spent four days exploring this area and walking the beaches There is a small village close by with houses, a school and a few shops.

The island we anchored off had a fresh water lake and so we had a swim in that too.

Our time in Port Olry was relaxing and very pleasant. For us, it is definitely one of the best spots in Espiritu Santo.

Yesterday we sailed back to Luganville in light wind. We re provisioned and stayed in the harbour off the township in preparation for leaving this morning. Last night, the wind dropped out and the current put us side on to the swell, so Eye Candy rolled all night, I didn't sleep well. This morning the weather was very unsettled and so we changed our plans and went back to our calm anchorage around the headland from Luganville. It is very still now and we have two Dugongs and a turtle swimming around the boat. So all is not lost

So What's Next

As soon as the weather suits, we will continue south to Port Vila. But for now we will just chill. So until next time stay safe and our love to all.

This article has been provided courtesy of the Freedom and Adventure.

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