Getting away from the crowds in Madang

Madang is one of the best places to visit in the South Pacific that you may never have heard of. Being part of Papua New Guinea puts off most tourists, they fear crime and gangs and all the bad aspects of Port Moresby. It is also expensive, it costs another $U350 to get a return flight from the capital to the north coast town. Yet it is beautiful, having great diving (with lots of WWII Japanese ships and planes close to shore in shallow water), long sandy beaches nearby, great seafood and a picturesque colonial centre.

Confusion at the Stadium. A Football Cup Final in Port Vila

Note: This was written before Cyclone Pam ripped through Port Vila and the other islands of Vanuatu. It is to be hoped that all players and those involved in Vanuatu Football survived without injury, although as the images show the destruction was terrifying. The stadium will be closed for some time while repairs take place on the damaged stand, and debris removed from the pitch.  

A Saturday afternoon in Port Vila and what to do. Picking up the Vanuatu Daily I read that the TVL Football Cup Final is on at Port Vila Stadium. That sounds like a must see, so I grab my camera and walk towards the stadium. The first thing I notice is how many people have gained vantage points on the hill outside of the ground to watch the action for free. Admittedly binoculars would make it easier to see, but through the branches you can glimpse two thirds of the ground.

The Master Wood Carvers of Ambrym

Ambrym is one of the most fascinating islands I have traveled to in Vanuatu. It is dominated by the active Volcanoes of Marum and Benbow, in the centre (so active that there is an eruption in progress at the moment) surrounded by a huge ash plain and caldera where nothing lives, with the population inhabiting the coastal fringes. The island is steeped in ancient beliefs and Black Magic, and has a very distinct culture apart from the other islands of Vanuatu.