Stranded on Espiritu Santo

Fact: one broken down plane can halt the whole Air Vanuatu network.                       Silver lining: Getting a couple of extra days on Santo, courtesy of Air Vanuatu.    Other silver lining: the Matevulu Blue Hole, Santo.

Matevulu Blue Hole, Santo, Vanuatu
Matevulu Blue Hole, Santo, Vanuatu
Things to do in Santo.

Santo is an amazing spot for divers – there are numerous wrecks and many coral dives. The coral also makes for wonderful snorkelling. The ocean water is a warm bath. Unfortunately for me it has poured torrential rain for almost two days solid, reducing my snorkelling visibility quite dramatically. The tiny local town of Luganville is fascinating to just wander around, there’s a local produce open air market as well as a good cafe to hang out for a coffee and meal.

The boat wrecks which are half submerged just off Beachfront Bungalows (where I am staying) are still interesting to snorkel and kayak around, but it’s all shades of grey – the sky, the sea, the horizon. I want a punch of colour, and boy, does Santo have just that.

The Blue Holes of Vanuatu

Santo has a number of blue holes, as do other islands in Vanuatu, but I go to the largest (and probably most accessible) one, the Matevulu Blue Hole outside Luganville of the east coast road. It is grey and raining, and with not as much as a single beam of sunlight, the colour of this natural freshwater pool is stunning – the most vivid azure blue I have even seen in a natural environment, blending to a teal green around the corner. With of course a touch of bright red plant growth in a mass of brilliant green foliage to set it off. I feel I may be blinded if I ever see it in bright sunshine!

The four of us have the whole place to ourselves, except for a couple of million ferocious mosquitos, and our taxi driver with his funny little bubble taxi of the type found everywhere on this island. The mosquitos are not a problem until we get out of the water – those couple of minutes of drying off and re-coating with mossy repellant are enough for them to have a substantial feast on me.

But it doesn’t matter, because we are swimming in clear blue water, watching our bodies morph into the Na’vi of Avatar – cool! The natural pool is surrounded by the the greenest of leaves and some massive trees. The largest has a rope swing for those who are willing to climb the roots up to the branches and then swing high over the water. Snorkelling is surreal in this blue tinged world, watching schools of fish flash silver through the blue. The water is cool but not cold. We don’t want to leave.

Have you been to this blue hole in sunshine? Share your photo, I’d love to see how it looks.