Torba province is pretty remote and does not get
many visitors. Of the few yachts that do come this far north, very
few go past Sola, that motivated us to go further north. The next
stop after Sola is the island of Ureparapara. The island was formed
by an ancient volcano, and the north east portion is “missing” so
the crater is actually a large bay.
|Satellite image of Ureparapara|
It took most of the day to sail from the northern
edge of Vanua Lava to Ureparapara. It was somewhat surreal pulling
into the bay, surrounded on three sides by steep jungle-covered walls
rising out of what used to be the volcano crater. The only spot to
anchor is just off the village at the end of the bay. The village is
typical, perhaps a bit prettier than most. Everyone we met was very
friendly and curious about us. The village chief told us that about 5
yachts visit every year. There are probably about 150 people living
on the island, and nobody has any electricity other than an old
car/boat battery and some donated LED lights.
|The main path includes a bridge|
We found the school and were welcomed by the
teachers. We met some of the students and showed them our route on
the world map hanging in the classroom. The “Sports” list showed
that tomorrow’s activity was frisbee so we made a plan to return
the next day to play “Ultimate”. Malcolm had an idea, so we stopped by the chief’s
hut on the way back and confirmed that none of the children have ever
been off the island.
|Largest hut in the village (not the chief)|
|Pretty sitting area|
The next morning Malcolm grabbed the camera,
then put all of our ice cubes into a large thermos and we headed to
the school for a bit of science before frisbee. At the school, we
told the teacher what was in the thermos and he was excited. He
confirmed that none of the kids, ages 10-15, had ever seen ice. With
about 30 kids and two teachers around us Malcolm started to explain
that we brought something they’d not seen, that we have a machine
on the boat that makes things very very cold. So cold that water
changes to a solid, just like you’ve heard about in science class.
Malcolm pulled out an ice cube and showed them it was hard. It was
melting fast, so Malcolm let the drops of water fall into his mouth.
The kids were amazed, and Malcolm handed out ice cubes while Dina
operated the camera. Some kids were afraid to touch the ice. It was
so strange for them to handle anything that cold. A lot of them were
very reluctant to drink any of the water that ended up in there
|Malcolm handing out ice cubes|
In the tropical heat, the ice cube adventure was
over quickly. We asked about the frisbee and were told they don’t
really follow the posted sports schedule and they don’t know what
to do with the frisbee. However, a student ran and got it so it was
time to play.
Before we knew it, the kids were splitting
themselves into two teams, not caring about gender or age, and
Malcolm was looked to for guidance. We played a modified
soccer/ultimate game with all of the kids at once. Only Malcolm ended
up playing because Dina is smarter(?) and took photos.
|It's good to be tall|
After running around for 30 minutes, the teacher asked about drills, so Malcolm made up a few for them to use for practice. By this point, Malcolm needed to get back to the boat and rest with a nice cold drink. But he had given out all our ice!