Sunday, February 15, 2015

An extinct volcano’s sweet challenge

By Alcina Charlie, Senior Communications – Website & eMarketing: What an adventure this was going to be for this team of 4, and especially for our student intern from France, Noemie, who attached with us for 6 weeks before finishing the following week. Our activity for the end of January was trekking up to the top of an extinct volcano on Nguna Island. We left Port Vila on a generously discounted Hertz (thanks Bernie and team!) that took us to Emua landing at north Efate, cruising in full comfort, style, and speed. At the wharf we then got on a feisty boat ride, feisty meaning we needed to boat fast so cutting through choppy waters wouldn’t be a tad unpleasant for the stomach (hopefully), prior to arriving at our destination. Luckily, yes the sea was quite rough that day, the closer we got to the island the calmer the waves became and soon after, we got off at a beautiful location on the western side of island. The beach was combed with tropical greenery and what seemed an easy, almost asleep village, plotted immediately after the fringe along the beach. Wow! it was so peaceful where we were.
We were met by Ms Emma who owns a bungalow on the island and she organized 2 young lads to take us to our destination for the day. Before challenging ourselves to a fit-for-the-fit hike, we visited a few bungalows. Some needed improvement and others were soon going to add business to the island’s economy as they were currently getting built. We arrived at Emma’s bungalow, refreshed, grabbed a bite, and then got ready for our hike. We left her bungalow, and just 30 minutes into it, I began to realize that it’s going to be a hilly trek which ended up for another hour until we got to the top. We felt like champions when we arrived at the rim of Mt Marow. The landscape had transformed into grass plains which shimmered from all angles and created a picturesque panorama. The view was stunning! I could clearly see a thin lining between the blue contrasts of the Pacific ocean and the sky which that day was crystal, spotted with a few clouds amidst the horizon. Wow! after all the uphill hiking, the view was definitely worth it all and it literally took my breath away. There went Rex (my digital Sony) taking shots here and there, again and again. We wanted to stay slightly longer but were pressed for time so after a good half hour enjoying the view and ocean breeze, we left our wild cane benches and started to make a descent. The entire trek took nearly three hours in total but I must confess that because we were hiking across a wide scope of landscapes from coastal shrubs right up to thickets and dense jungle where mushrooms, orchids, succulents, gingers and miniature bamboos sprayed across the floor, this excited me with plenty of photo opportunities. Hence, it would have been my capturing of these precious gems, especially on the way back, that made us took longer than usual but I guess my colleagues would thank me for it because it was a perfect opportunity for some minutes rest before continuing on the journey. When we finally arrived at our starting point, a golden sunset had fallen across the entire island which gave us a beautiful send off. Thanks Maina, Michaella, and Noemie for a great day. Enjoy photos here