Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sola

After two days of rest in Lusalava, Gaua, and as the stinging and aches subsided after Dina’s failed waterfall hike, we sailed about 4 hours to Sola, on Vanua Lava. Sola is the capital of the northernmost province of Vanuatu, Torba Province, consisting of the Banks and the Torres Islands. Ashore we found a small variety of stores and a “Yacht Club” that was also a guesthouse.
The "Yacht Club"

The locals were friendly and assured us that the saltwater crocodiles were further north and rarely ventured out of the river. These crocodiles were said to have either been introduced in the last century by Bishop Patterson – although it is unclear what purpose the Bishop thought the crocodiles could serve to the people of Vanua Lava – or there is belief the crocodiles swam to Vanuatu from the Solomon Islands after getting lost during a cyclone.

We were told there was a weekly Friday market, the next day, and we saw flyers about a school fundraiser that included food, dancing and music on Saturday. The Friday market failed to materialise. As there is but one road on Vanua Lava and few vehicles, it is difficult for people to bring their goods to market. We were told the market would “open” sometime in the afternoon once everyone arrived. Fortunately, a few people were selling prepared food so we ate chicken, pork and rice while we chatted with the locals.

The school fundraiser, held at the Sola school, was to raise funds for the primary school on the island of Mere Lava. We arrived after the water music performance and cooking demonstrations, but in time for lunch and to see the students dancing. We found a good place to sit, watch and take photos. Malcolm's camera received a lot of interest from the children in the audience.
Local girl looking at the photos Malcolm has taken
Thanks to Laurie of s/v Free Spirit for this photo


The Sola school is a boarding school for secondary students of the Banks and Torres Islands. To raise funds, the students from the various islands got together and performed the traditional Kustom dances from their home islands.





------------------