After our relaxing day at sea, we were ready to hit the Vanuatu island of Ambrym running! The two incredible volcanoes were what first drew Captain Cook to its shores and our warm welcome was probably much the same. Our visit to the village started off with the traditional pig slaughter and a gift exchange ceremony with Little John, the Captain, and the local leader. We were then treated to the amazing Rom Dance—the performers, covered from the neck down in volumes of dried banana leaves, wear huge elaborate masks and stomp in rhythm to chanting and drum-beating. It’s such a hypnotic experience, and the opportunities for photography were fantastic.
We were able to really experience the local flavor of island life when we walked down the little dirt path “Main Street,” and visited the local school and looked inside local houses. We also tasted the traditional baked coconut “bread.” In the afternoon, the birders set out to look for the elusive megapode—which they didn’t find, but did get to see several nests. Many of us went snorkeling or diving in the 83-degree water and the color of the coral against the black sand was other-wordly!