Vanuatu – Turtles Bay and the coolest taxi driver in the universe.
On our 2nd day in town we caught a taxi, and as most taxi drivers do, suggested that he would be the best person to show us around town for the rest of the trip… he also gave us a good deal. 😉 He not only drove us around but also showed us the sights, told us about his family and his lifestyle and hung out with us. We became good mates!
Turtles Bay – This place is hard to find information on – it’s only new, so it’s not swarming with tourists. The focus is on conservation of the turtles. They incubate the eggs and keep the hatchlings for about 6 months before releasing them into the wild. This way the survival rate is much higher.
They have an enclosure that holds turtles, including a 60 year old loggerhead turtle, reef sharks and a few giant clams. To enter the bay it costs about 1800 vatu (about $18), and for an extra fee you can also swim with the large turtles and sharks in the enclosure.
Feeding the turtles was pretty amazing. Did you know that when they chomp down on their food (in this case pawpaw) a stream of water is pushed out of both nostrils?! Also, their flippers are so much lighter than I ever expected. The scales around their eyes make them look like they have gorgeous eyelashes. I was quite taken by them. 🙂 Miss3 was too – Everytime she sees pawpaw now she mentions Turtles Bay. 🙂
Along the foreshore on the bay: these are examples of the sculptures you see all around Vanuatu. However, most of them aren’t pregnant hermaphrodites or a dude with a raging hard on! 😉
After feeding the turtles they gave us handfuls of dried bread to feed the fish in the ocean. I’ve been to coral reefs a number of times and this was absolutely my favourite coral reef experience. We walked out to hip deep water and there were insanely colourful reef fish surrounding us in perfectly clear water. It was astounding how many fish species there were. If you go anywhere in Vanuatu – please go here!
Miss3 and me and my big belly!
A note for the mummas and pappas out there – arm band floaties are the best invention when your toddler is not yet a confident swimmer. They made all our swimming experiences on holiday completely low stress. We still held on to her and looked after her the whole time, but I didn’t need to have her hanging on to me, or worry that her face would go under the water at the wrong moment.
This is young Sam, our taxi driver. He lives just outside of Port Vila with his mum, brothers, sisters and new girlfriend. She works in town as a waitress. Turtles Bay is his favourite spot in his homeland, so he hopped into the water with us!
On the way home we got a flat tyre … and there was no spare! Sam was mortified that this had happened with us in the car and with no mobile reception had to walk to call for help. His uncle (also a taxi driver) came to rescue us with a spare tyre. But the nuts on the flat tyre had been wound on so tight that even 3 burly blokes could not get the things to budge! So, into Sam’s uncle’s taxi for the ride home. For about 20 minutes Sam’s uncle recited a long and frustrated monologue in his language to a very quiet Sam. You certainly don’t need to know a language to know when someone is being told off!
We and Sam became great mates over the course of the holiday and on the last day, his one day off, he said he would come to say goodbye and we would swap contact details. We waited, hoping he would turn up. We needed to catch the coach to the airport, and as we pulled out of the resort we saw him in his uncle’s taxi drive in. Poor timing indeed! It’s funny when these things happen.