Environmental Vandals at the Blue Hole

Blue holes are abundant all over Luganville Island in Vanuatu. These fresh water springs are delightfully cool and a magnificent soft blue.

Our current anchorage in Petersons’ Bay allows us access to two of these beautiful springs. We are in convoy in our dinghies with Aquilon 3 and new friends on Waterhorse - Chae, Annalise, Amelia, Noah and Libby.

As a group we slowly meander our way down the fresh water river, which we assume will eventually open up into a Blue Hole.

In our dinghy we have Jamie, myself and Hannah (my current BFF from Aquilon 3). It is a joy to have Hannah on board with us, as it allows me to see the journey through the eyes if a 12 year old, and she delights in things I would probably miss. A huge seed pod hanging from a tree, the possibility of a tree fort and a low hanging branch that could be a swing.

The trip down the river is an adventure in itself. Clear fresh water, with numerous trees hanging over the river, large rocks, fresh water fish and an abundance of obstacles to manoeuvre around. All is quiet except for the gentle putt putt of our outboard engines as they idle away.

As we head further and further down stream the water becomes clearer and clearer, and although logically I know that we are not that far away from a small town or village it feels like we are travelling in the remotest part of the world, perhaps a river in South America? A monkey swinging from the trees would not surprise any of us, it is truly magical. The trip up the river takes about 20 mins and eventually opens up to an amazing pale blue waterhole, surrounded by huge banyan trees, dense jungle type foliage and a few rope swings which delight the kids (and the adults if we’re honest).

A group of canoes pulls up just before us (Australian tourists) and launches into a diatribe about how un-environmentally friendly we all are for using our dinghies to get to the Blue Hole instead of paddling. (The other way of getting here is to DRIVE which many tourists do)

They are both rude and brutal in how judgemental they are being, we are all taken aback (especially as they are doing this in front of all the children (6 of them) that they are with.

Now, on the surface you could look at this situation and think, meh - maybe they are right. But this group of cruisers know one thing for sure, we are extraordinarily environmentally sensitive. To start with we sailed here on boats from Australia using wind, none of us own cars (although our dinghies are our cars). We all create our own energy using a combination of solar, wind and hydrogeneration. We use sustainable reusable packaging for all our food and we waste almost nothing as we are all to aware that the next food shop could be weeks away. We recycle nearly everything and our carbon footprints must be close to that of an ant. These people however own cars and flew to Vanuatu on a commercial airplanes. Who knows what type of recycling, packaging etc that they use. Annalise and Chae give it right back to them and they leave shortly after, it does however sour what should have been a magical morning.

We pay our 500 Vatu ($7AUD) per person to John who looks after the Blue Hole and he tells us that our money goes to support the local school (this Blue Hole is on the schools property).

We shake off this bad feeling by snorkelling, swimming, paddling and swinging off the rope swings. It is delightful! The water is cool and refreshing. We lunch with food we brought wrapped in reusable containers, drinking water that we produced ourselves out of our drink bottles. Take that environmental Nazis!!

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