Melanesia Expedition: Mavea Island, Vanuatu

Mavea Island, Vanuatu, looks like (and is) a tropical paradise

Mavea Island is a small island in Vanuatu across a small channel east of Loganville, Espiritu Santo Island (commonly referred to as “Santo”).  The population is about 200, with only 34 speakers of the Mavea language, which is dying out as it is not usually spoken outside of the home, with Bislama (a national language of all the Vanuatu tribes) and English having become prevalent.

A pareo with local flavor, Mavea Island, Vanuatu


One of the “Water Women” on shore, before the group’s performance

We visited Mavea in the afternoon to watch a performance in the waters off the beach by “Water Women.”  These Vanuatu women have developed a program of “water music” where they use their hands (and arms) to “play” the water (like drumming) to make rhythmic sounds, accompanied in some songs with their singing – fairly unique and, as a result, they now travel around the Pacific to perform.

The “Water Women” performing in the surf


Another of the “Water Women” on shore, before the group’s performance


The “Water Women” performing in the surf with our ship visible at anchor in the channel and Espiritu Santo Island in the background


Two young boys on Mavea Island, Vanuatu, happy on the beach after watching the “Water Women’s performance


Sailing back to our ship in the channel after the performance, late in the afternoon, we saw amazing cloud formations (including a “hand” reaching upward from the clouds above the ship)

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