Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…raising a toast to Champagne Bay

Before we get to Port Vila, we go to Champagne Bay. This bay is on the northern edge of Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit), the largest island of Vanuatu*. If you go at the right time, which we didn’t, and the tide is low, you can apparently see the sea bubbling, which is where its name comes from.

Of course, we wouldn’t just go straight to our destination. First there’d be a potential cyclone brewing (I’ve had one of them disrupt my travel plans before, yawn) so the captain decided to skip Champagne Bay for our safety and head straight to Vila. Then the cyclone changed its course, we spent an extra day at sea, and we made it to Champagne Bay a day later than originally planned. To make up for this we didn’t go to Wala, which may be amazing, but I’m going to guess it’s not as nice as where we went.

Champagne Bay is one of those places where they take all the pictures for travel brochures and postcards. The sort of place that although might appear Photoshopped in some way, really doesn’t need any help to look appealing. While I may have only just finished belittling the quality of beaches in Noumea, there’s not a thing I’d change about this island’s beaches.

The nature of a cruise holiday is very relaxed. Twin that with a load of old people on the boat (who’ve seen it all before, only when it was much more amazing, obviously), means that not many people are very adventurous when they step ashore. While Champagne Bay itself is incredibly beautiful, we could see from the boat that the island had many other beaches. From around 2000 passengers, almost all of whom would’ve got off here, there was never more than a dozen people at the beach we found two minutes along the road.

Some people did do more than just sit on a pristine beach, swim in the crystal waters and laze in a hammock under palm trees, and this is an island that I really would’ve liked to spend a few days at. As well as just spending more time at the beaches — and wandering around the myriad stalls all selling exactly the same things — I want to go back to see the blue lagoon. Snorkel and sea the bubbles. Just sit and wait for the next ship to come and pick us up.

*Or, to James Cook, the New Hebrides. Really, James?

Filed under: australia, ,

2 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    But did these old white people have suspiciously young Asian girls hanging off them? Those are some of the key memories I associate with boat trips I’ve taken, as well as the ace scenery.

    I’ve not done a cruise yet, but if you can get Wi-Fi on board I’ll definitely consider it (I’m so boring). But first I have to find an Asian girl 40 years my junior, so I don’t feel left out.

    • Oliver says:

      I don’t think there were any of those couples (myself excluded, obviously). The staff was made up almost exclusively of Asians, mainly Filipinos from what I could gather (good English and cheap rates, it’s almost perfect), while the cruising clientele was made up of white Australians and pretty much nothing else. I guess the couples that you’re so fond of spend nearly all their holidays going back to the wife’s home country so they don’t have time for this sort of thing.

      There was internet, but it was the most expensive I’ve ever, ever, ever seen. It’s also probably excruciatingly slow.

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