SY Dog Star

A family sailing the Pacific

Having fun in Vanuatu!

Hello everybody!

We are in Vanuatu!

We arrived around a week ago in Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu and we put up a yellow flag which means that we want to check in to the country (Vanuatu). 

A boat that we are now sailing with, called Gonyonda, arrived the day before us and had explored the village.

In Port Resolution, the place where we checked in, the people live off the land and don’t use very many artificial household appliances. Most of the houses have no running water and the only electricity comes from solar panels, the size of a square foot. Their houses are made of straw, flax and wood including bamboo and the roots of the banyan tree.

The banyan tree has lots of roots and villagers take roots and tie them to the ground so they grow straight and into poles so they can make their houses.

When we went for a tour of their village, Willie, Sheila, Sarah and Jack (some very nice villagers from Port Resolution)  took us up the hill and we ate sugarcane, coconuts and corn and bananas, which were roasted over a fire that Jack made by rubbing a stick into a log and making smoke and embers. One of the things I really admire about Vanuatu, is that they have banned plastic bags, which is pretty cool!

We went up a volcano which some of the locals believe houses a god called John Frum and they think that one day he will come out and give the people washing machines, dishwashers, clothes and furniture among many other things. 

We got up there in the back of a truck, which was very bumpy, especially considering we driving up dirt roads.

The volcano was magnificent. We were up there for a few hours and all through that time, I was freaking out and relaxed at the same time. Every five to fifteen minutes, it would erupt and we would be coated with volcanic dust. When it got dark, the eruptions were even more thrilling. Blobs of lava double the size of Dad would fly up and we would all step back and cover our heads.

A few days later we went to a party with some Vanuatuan locals invited us to there restaurant (a house with a thatched roof, concrete floor, no walls on one half and a kitchen) and we had taro, fried rice, chilli stew, coconut rice and some chocolate cake that a kid called Freya from Gonyonda and I made. At the end, Freya and I were gifted choco each, which is a very nice fruit (or vegetable?) that they grow.

Yesterday, we left Tanna and sailed to an island called Erromango. On the way, our main sail ripped and we had to motor. We are probably going to fix it when we get to Port Villa.

Well, that’s what’s been going on on Dog Star! Please leave a comment about how it is at home! 

Thanks for reading!

Iris 🙂

The baby in this picture is called Sabai and she lives in the village with her family. She’s so cute!

Mum and I at the market in Lenakel. We went their on the back of a ute and it was very exciting, whizzing along the dirt roads, right next to an active volcano.




  1. Hi Iris… Wow! Love your blog. That is one fascinating blog post. I think “Double the size of dad” should now be an official measurement! I have heard of Cargo Cults before but it must be amazing to meet people who have so little contact with the rest of the world. How did John Frum get his name? I think you are going to have to write a sequel to this post because I have too many questions 🙂 xx

    • Hey Bek!

      Thank you very much for reading my blog (personally I think it was one of my best posts) and thank you for complimenting on it!
      I think that John From is called that because he was a traveller from the USA and he brought the people lots of “white goods” so he was like a hero and the people made him a cult and he somehow became an god (???). John Frum or John from the USA. I think that the story is quite interesting.

      I will hopefully write another blog soon. Hope everything is going GREAT!

      Iris 🙂

  2. Hi iris clare and robin nice to see ur enjoying your travels,looks nice and warm where u are compared to us still in the grips of winter and the start of spring conditions,is mum on sail repair duty lol or is this best left to another,hope ur keeping up with school studies among other explorations and safe travels to you all

  3. Hi
    I’m glad your having fun!
    I know that some cargo cults get the names of there gods from pictures and sometimes brand names found in washed up crates hence the name cargo cult.
    ps have fun the whole class misses you.

  4. Dear Iris

    Greetings from Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine! It is even hotter here than in Vanuatu .. 32.C today, but not humid. Ukraine is one of the countries which has had unusually elevated summer temperatures and the local people find it very hard to cope with! We, like Bek, want to hear more and more about the village people in Tanna and that amazing excursion up to the vent of the volcano. Scarey ! We love the photos of you with the villagers. I think that you might be at Port Vila now so please write and give your impressions of the town and of the marine life near there.

    Lots of love

    Granny Bardsley XXX

  5. Hi Iris…how interesting and exciting all that sounds. You bring it to life in your well written. It’s very cold and wet in Perth at the moment so it’s lovely to see your sunny photos. I show Evie all your pictures so she knows who her big cousin Iris is. She also knows “Bobbin”. You would love her and she would love you. Keep having fun. Love Granny Barbara xx

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