Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ureparapara


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 market

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 hands.

Malcolm handing out ice cubes

Excited students

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. 

Frisbee game

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!