Luganville, Vanuatu,

Luganville is on Espiritu Santo Island in Vanuatu, formerly the New Hebrides.  James Michener was stationed here and on the Solomon Islands as a naval historian during WWII. His life here was the  inspiration for Tales from the South Pacific  and later South Pacific. Espiritu Santo is the largest of the islands that make up Vanuatu. It was a large US military base during WWII. In autumn 1942 the SS President Coolidge, a military refitted American luxury cruise liner accidentally struck two landmines and sunk.  The wreck is famed for being the largest accessible WWII relic and is popular for experienced divers. Much WWII military equipment was dumped off Million dollar Point.  The snorkelling is excellent and it is said to be the most scenic island in Vanuatu, with stunning beaches and Blue Holes for swimming.  The main export here is copra but the people survive mainly on subsistence farming. Our guide said that because of the ability to survive by farming, there could be said to be no unemployment on the island. Today I took a tour out into the countryside to swim at one of the blue holes.  This island is very pretty and we travelled on an excellent highway built by New Zealand.  The water in the lagoon is blue due to the limestone under the water.   It was also quite cold and refreshing in the heat.  After the tour I went into town to see the local market which was filled with many vegetables I have never seen before. I found it very interesting. To get there I had to pass by a handicraft market set up for the occasion of our visit which was at least 1 kilometre long.  I attach photos of the countryside, including a picture of a large, but friendly spider we saw along the roadside, the Blue Hole, the markets, including some bats that were for sale presumably for eating, and some of the people I saw along the way.  The people, like those in the previous few islands we have visited were very friendly and we enjoyed the visit.  Our next port is Lautoka, Fiji.

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