October 26, 2013

Lamen Bay and Peanuts, Epi, Vanautu

There are so many islands to explore in Vanautu, eighty three in total. But, unless you have a yacht you are constrained by the Air Vanuatu schedule. Epi was the choice this time, not a live volcano, although the island itself is the remains of one, and underwater volcanoes, and the cone volcanoes of Lopevi and Ambrym are neighbours.

Traveling on Air Vanuatu is always enjoyable, they do operate a bit on ‘island time’ and would not win awards for punctuality, but they are safe, comfortable and reasonably priced. And if you are in the front seat, as I was, there is no safety door and you get to see the pilots in action, which is getting rare in this air security obsessed world.

We took off from Port Vila, and flew over the island of Efate, landing on the grass runway at Lamen Bay in Epi only 30 minutes later. This time we were traveling as a family, and my wife and son, were in tow. We did not know a lot about Epi, except that it was an island paradise of about 3,000 people, far away from the ‘hustle and bustle’ of Port Vila (which is so laid back compared to Sydney) and that our favourite peanuts, sold in the markets at Port Vila, came from there.

And what a peanut, a 30 Vatu packet of nuts (stuffed in a small sealed bag) was a meal in itself. Cracking the lightly roasted shell, the crunchy fresh peanuts tasted unlike anything I had eaten before. No chemicals, no fertilizers, just the island soil. Totally addictive.

As we made our way to our small hut by the beach the first question to our host was where could we get some peanuts. After 5 minutes unpacking we heard a knock on the door, and we were presented with a huge bag of peanuts blong Epi (made in Epi). It may be impossible to leave...

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