It was Monday, and the weather forecast for the day was for showers. Fortunately, today was the day we’d booked for our adventure-type activities.
After breakfast we were picked up by the good people from Big Blue diving to go out in the underwater scooter. We hired a double scooter, and I was duly instructed in its use – how to steer, go up and down, and also basic hand signals to give and receive from our scuba-wearing guide, Alex. We sailed out into the middle of the harbour and jumped overboard and swam around for a bit whilst the crew manoeuvred the scooter into the sea. Once it was in the water, we had to dive under and resurface inside the scooter. As we descended, there was a bit of nose-pinching and blowing to be done to make our ears pop, but otherwise we were in a bubble of air, looking out through the windows. As I’d been instructed in the driving, I sat up front – but in fact I didn’t need to do anything as Alex guided us around the various reefs in the middle of the harbour. We saw loads of tropical fish and coral reef formations. We didn’t see a dugong, but then that’s only if you’re lucky. Nor did we get any pictures – we need to get one of those waterproof camera covers. Or a waterproof camera. Oh well, next time! We were in the water for half an hour before we had to resurface. More nose-pinching was required on the way up, and then once the scooter had been winched aboard we returned to the quay.
Back to the resort for a quick change, as this afternoon’s activity required enclosed footwear. We stopped off at the Jungle café for a bite of lunch, then went back to the Jungle Zip-line kiosk and sorted out our payment. We were then driven into the jungle with another Australian couple from Melbourne, Dan and Steph. Once there, we were equipped with harnesses, hard hats and gloves, and walked out into the forest.
The first step was to climb a tall scaffold into the canopy. At the bottom, we attached our safety harness to the rail – this is attached all the way from now on, so even if you fall, you can’t fall far. Then we climbed up, were given a quick tighten-up by one of the crew, and off we went, one by one, along the zip line. The first one wasn’t very long, and the second one a mere hop skip and jump, but these are really just to get you into position for the final four, long, zip line rides through the jungle, and culminating with a crossing of a deep canyon in the side of the hill. One of the crew, Esikal, had volunteered to take my camera and photograph us as we went along, so he captured all the pictures of us. Steph had a Go-Pro with which to record her trip – unfortunately, when we got to the end, she found it hadn’t been on! So she’ll just have to go back and do it again.
|First, climb this...|
At the end of the ride, as we were just about to get out of our harness, one of the crew found a large spider, so he set that on Dan whilst we happily snapped away. Of course, we would have been happy to hold the spider as well, but as we’d covered ourselves in insect repellent before setting out we felt that it would’ve been cruel to the spider to put him on our bare arms.
We got out of our gear, then rode back into town with the guys. As we were approaching Port Vila we could see it disappearing in a mist. “that’s either smoke or a really heavy downpour” I said and, sure enough, when we got there, it was coming down like stair rods, in that way the tropics manages so well. We waited around a bit for it to clear, and it did that too –shutting off like a tap rather than gradually petering out – so we caught a bus back to the resort for a well-earned cup of tea.
In the evening we had a quick cocktail in the bar, and met up with Les & Roma, two Aussies who are planning a round-the-island trip on Thursday, which we’re keen to tag along with. They’d also recruited two Kiwis, Dave & Renée, to the cause, so it shouldn’t cost too much. We walked down the road to the restaurant at the next resort, CaféVila, and ordered steaks there. To be honest, they weren’t as good as the one I’d had the previous night. We’ll maybe try a little further afield when we get back from our next adventure, which is…