More than just DX News

YJ0TT Vanuatu

YJ0TT Team will be active from Vanuatu, 26 October - 4 November 2023.
Team - YJ0TT (NC7M), YJ0NA (K6VHF), YJ0UC (W6UC) and YJ0ET (NG7E).
They will operate on 160 - 6m, CW, SSB, Digital modes and 23cm EME.
QTH - Port Vila, Efate Island, Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is the land of happy people

A country located in the volcanic belt of the Pacific Ocean, where mangoes can be bought for nothing or simply picked, Vanuatu is home to some of the world's happiest people. Many islands of the state are surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, coastal waters are full of unusual marine life, and the relief of the surface is covered with "awake" volcanoes.

Vanuatu. Author - Richard Corkish.

Since ancient times...

Little is known about the early history of the islands, except from myths and local legends. The most reliable information about the ancient life of the island nation comes from the time of settlement. It took place in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC.
In ancient times the islands of modern Vanuatu were inhabited by representatives of two cultures: Lapita and Mangaasi potters. They were in contact with each other, exchanging traditional elements of ornamentation. Gradually, the Lapita culture faded away: the products of its masters became simplified and the ornamentation was lost. They were replaced by their descendants, the Polynesians, who migrated from Futuna Island. The Mangaasi culture continued to exist, but also underwent changes. This was reflected in the traditional ornamentation, in which there were more drawn patterns, disappeared riveted elements characteristic of this people.
By XIII-XIV on the islands ceased production of pottery. The Efate and Shepherd cultures changed first, and then, by 1600, the inhabitants of the other islands had stopped making pottery, and shell tools were replaced by stone tools.

Emau and Pele from Nguna, Vanuatu. Author - Ian and Marg.

Roy Mata

It's a name the islanders of Vanuatu don't say out loud - it's sacred. Roy Mata was the first known ruler of the Hebrides, who united several tribes. His actions are believed to have been peaceful, but ill-wishers poisoned the ruler. Roy Mata lived on the island of Efate, in the village of Mangaata. This place is now abandoned: the people left it 700 years ago, along with the death of their leader. This place, the Fele cave on the island of Lepele (where Roy Mata is said to have died), as well as the grave of the ruler, located on Eretoka, are considered sacred places. The locals do not go there.
All three sites associated with the historical figure were included in the heritage of the UNESCO Foundation in 2008, becoming the first such sites of the State of Vanuatu.

In search of a southern land

In the sixteenth century, it was widely believed among Europeans that there was a continent in the Southern Hemisphere that served as a counterbalance to Eurasia. In a desire to discover the mythical land and to expand the possessions of the Spanish crown and convert the settlement found to Catholicism, the Portuguese Pedro Fernandes de Quiros was able to organise a sea voyage.
Thus, on 25 April, in 1606, the New Hebrides were discovered by the inhabitants of the "big land". The first island to which the European navigators reached was Mere Lava, where the settlement of New Jerusalem on the Jordan River was organised.
The local population was hostile to the "settlers", and the traveller himself was struck by a severe illness. Thus, after 35 days, the ship set sail from the island to continue exploring the found "continent". But a sudden change in the weather forced the captain to change direction: he took a course to the Solomon Islands, but the route was changed again (this time by the crew) and the travellers went to Acapulco. After the unsuccessful conquest of South Land, Quiros was unable to mount a second expedition. Thus, for the next 166 years, the islands of present-day Vanuatu remained free of Europeans.

Tanna Island, Vanuatu. Author - Samenargentine.

Second discovery

In 1768, Louis Antoine de Bougainville "rediscovered" the Vanuatu Islands, and in 1774, the famous James Cook visited the islands. It was he who named the islands New Hebrides. The XIX century in Vanuatu was a time of active migration. Planters from Samoa, Australia, Fiji, Catholic and Protestant missionaries arrived here. By the end of the century, the Anglo-French Commonwealth had established a naval base on the islands. For the next 93 years, the land was under the influence of these powers.
Vanuatu's independence was not declared until 1980, on 30 July.

This paradisiacal island life

The locals do seem quite happy: they don't worry about the problems of the big world. Even volcanic eruptions, which are not uncommon here, can't upset the islanders. They eat countless tropical fruits and enjoy year-round summer. Except that during the rainy season, you can't be outdoors so often. Only 1/10th of the population lives in cities. These people have some education, wear European clothes, even work. The rest of the population lives in villages, subsistence farming and trades.
Christmas is celebrated here. The population of the island is very religious, and this holiday is special for them. A large number of islanders gather in the churches, happy as ever. Men sit on the right, women on the left. And everyone sings.
The main island, Efate, is where the capital, Porta Vila, is located. Dusty, stuffy... But the people are still happy. The rest of the island, which is half the size of the Russian capital, is practically unpopulated - nature reigns supreme here, just like on many other lands of the archipelago.
And the nature of Vanuatu islands is rich and diverse, especially the flora. Depending on the altitude of the terrain, the vegetation can differ markedly: in the mountains - equatorial species (sisigiums, agathis, metrosideros). In the transition between "dry" and tropical strips - seasonal forests. In coastal areas there are mangroves.
The archipelago is home to about 74 species of birds, but there are very few mammals: only 8 species of bats and 4 species of flying foxes. But the coastal waters literally compensate for this "lack". The coral formations and soft waves are home to countless fish and sea creatures.

"Blue Holes and other island attractions

What can surprise you about Vanuatu? Extraordinary natural creations. One of these is the Blue Holes, natural pools that are formed from underground water. They contain the bluest water in the world. This natural wonder is located on the island of Esperito Santo. Tourists have access to three such "attractions": Jackies, RiRi Blue Hole and the largest of them - Matavulu.
Another interesting place is also located on Esperito Santo. This is the Million Dollar Point National Park, which without too much modesty can be called a "mecca" for scuba divers. The most interesting things here are hidden under the waters. At the very end of World War II, the Americans dumped here tonnes of equipment, tinned food, cars and even cases of Coca-Cola. All this "wealth" has grown into the reef, mineralised and now pleases inquisitive tourists.
Efate can also please with "interesting things". Not far from the capital, Porta vila, if a folklore village where the inhabitants wear clothes made of palm leaves, live in huts with mat walls, are engaged in hunting and gathering.

The best place to be happy

There are no dangerous insects or animals hostile to humans in the New Hebrides. Fruit and fresh fish are plentiful all year round. You won't meet a beggar or a beggar. Stealing is also rare in Vanuatu. Despite the lack of luxury, the people of the islands know how to be happy and generously share their joy with all visitors.

YJ0TT. Where is Efate Island, Vanuatu located. Map.

YJ0TT Vanuatu. Sunrise 07-21-2024 at 19:14 GMT sunset at 06:30 GMT