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Noumea, New Caledonia

Volcano page updated too

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Flew into Noumea 2 nights ago. It's expensive here and the town could be like anywhere in France. We went snorkeling on Duck Island off the coast yesterday (fish and coral were 9 out of 10 but the ocean is colder) and we wandered around town today. We decided to skip Auckland, NZ due to a fuel disruption at the airport and switched our flight to Wellington. We're also looking at Bali alternatives due to the Mt. Agung volcano eruption warnings. The last time it erupted 1000 people were killed and the Denpasar airport was closed for a week. If it happenes it could be similar in size to Mt. St. Helens (you wouldn't want be viewing it from the crater's edge).large_IMG_2066.jpglarge_IMG_2062.jpglarge_IMG_2059.jpglarge_90_IMG_2055.jpglarge_IMG_2047.jpglarge_IMG_2039.jpglarge_IMG_2036.jpglarge_IMG_2035.jpglarge_90_IMG_2026.jpg

Posted by lhuff35204 20:07 Archived in New Caledonia Comments (2)

Tanna island

Mt Yasur volcano

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Arrived Tanna, leaving for the volcano now.


There are lots of videos of Mount Yasur on You Tube but nothing can match being there in person. We drove 1 1/2 hours by 4x4 and climbed up the 300 meter crater to look down into the 4 active volcanic vents. The vents erupt every 5 minutes, with a major explosion every 20 minutes or so. The major blasts are hard to capture unless you record your entire time (2+ hours) standing on a knife edge cinder cone that drops 300 meters on both sides; one side into the caldera and the other down to the ash plain below. The guide drew a line in the ash with his foot (that is your guard rail) and his advice was "don't run" when there's an explosion. That was important advice because you are comfortably watching the constant small eruptions, like in the video we recorded below. Then suddenly there is a deafening explosion, percussion that shakes the ground beneath you, and lava being thrown high above you. Jan's first reaction was to crouch down, but she did not run and risk falling off the edge. It was quite humbling to experience such a powerful act of nature. After many weeks (months?) of concern and trepidation (outright terror) I, Jan, will admit that it was a very exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime event that I won't soon forget.

If you can't see the embed, here is a link.


If you want to see the whole experience here is a Youtube video shot from the "safe area" (we were briefed on this as a place of refuge, but we moved on to the higher exposed ground above). And here is a video-be patient-of the most exposed area that we did not approach because of fumes Youtube


We climbed Mt. Yasur, visited a local village and a market, swam to the Blue Cave, snorkeled turtle reef, stayed at White Grass resort.
Most of the natives had colds, I assume from meeting us tourists. Tanna and Port-Villa suffered a direct hit from Cyclone Pam in 2015


Posted by lhuff35204 22:30 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (2)

Vanuatu Port-Villa

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Arrived Vanuatu, fly to the Yasur volcano in the morning. Phone troubles so limited communications until we can work that out.

Staying the PP motel (Jan hates it). It was closest to the airport, but run down, no bed net, and on a "scary" street with no restaurants nearby, so we took a "bus" down to the waterfront. A bus is a small van full of strangers with a sticker in the window that you hail from the street. The cost is $1.40 flat rate. I certainly wouldn't do this in a kidnap/terrorist area but it seemed OK here. On the way, Jan asked about buying wine and they stopped at a bottle shop and waited before taking us to a restaurant at the marina. Woke up at midnight to club music that lasted until 4 AM. The port looks nice and we wished we had had more time to explore.

Bislama, a creole Pijin language is the official language here:


Posted by lhuff35204 02:25 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (1)

Journey to the Yasawa's

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Drawaqa Island, Yasawa Fiji about 3 hours by catamaran boat from Port Denarau. You transfer by small boat to the beach.
Barefoot Manta Resort--best snorkeling so far with lovely rustic "glamping" in our waterfront safari tent. Lyle outdid himself on this spot...
The Yasawa Flyer provides daily service out and back.
Passengers are transferred to small boats.
Supplies come ashore the same way
Diesel barrels for the generator are dropped overboard and floated ashore.

Posted by lhuff35204 14:32 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Bula from Fiji

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Bula means welcome and hello in Fijian.
Flew an ATR 72 turboprop 3 hours to Nadi (pronounced Nandi) Fiji and are now in a hotel that Jan calls "the barracks" (it looks like an old army barracks or prison block) and it is backpacker central for Fiji with multiple 30 bed dorms, beach, pool, bar, 24 hour restaurant, and also our very spartan en-suite accommodation that includes wi-fi and electric. Nadi is the jump off point for the outer islands which I just booked at the tour desk. We'll be going to the Yasawa islands, about 3 hours east of here via fast catamaran boat, in a few days. In the mean time we'll be exploring the city, stocking up on supplies, and getting some rest. We had originally planned to stay on the Coral Coast of Fiji, but after looking at reviews it just didn't seem worth the isolation or cost. So we are 4 days here instead.

Posted by lhuff35204 14:15 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

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