Darleen’s Blog

The Beach

A video request from Glenn at Palm Beach Motors on the Gold Coast, Glenn was my Mechanic for the 11 years I lived on the Gold Coast, great team of guys working for him. Best, most honest Mechanic you could hope for.

So Glenn, here is a couple of videos down at the water’s edge for you.

The tide was a bit low, but it was a nice morning. Enjoy…




Darleen in paradise



A couple of nights ago we heard a big crack in the bush beside our place (Bob’s place we are renting). I noticed there was a coconut tree hanging in the branches yesterday at lunch time. When coconut trees fall, usually from old age in the wind, the locals have a saying that equates to “The tree wants you to have a drink”.

I went up to see Josie in the afternoon to let him know there was some fresh coconuts available. Josie lives in a house he built at the back of Bob’s place. He has been working with Bob for over 2 years. He helped Bob find the perfect block of land and helped him build the house and now looks after the grounds.

Josie’s kids, all boys, (pikininis) his nephew Carl, eldest Odino, middle Yano and youngest Oniel, appeared on the patio this morning after breakfast giving us 3 drinking coconuts, peeled and ready to pop. Carl had climbed up a tree yesterday and they came down to give us some! How sweet is that!

Josie was there a few minutes later to check out the fallen coconut palm. He borrowed our bush knife to slash a path into it. I followed him in and threw the coconuts out to Carl.

Josie and Darleen

Scott and the kids watching Josie

Then Josie grabbed a stick and sharpened both ends and peeled one for us, I got it on Video, check it out…


Then he showed us how to get to the coconut water once peeled, another video for that…


Josie and Darleen

Josie and Darleen

And then Scott had a go at the peeling thing, a bit of practice and he’ll be a wiz

Can’t get fresher than that on a Sunday morning! Yum…

Darleen in Paradise.

Excitement in the Village…

There has been excitement and anticipation in the village for a few months, with weekly fundraising activities. 30 people from Mangaliliu Village, mostly ‘Mummas’ with a few younger girls and a couple of young boys have been planning a trip to Fiji. I understand it is for a Cultural Exchange… learning about each other’s village life and handicrafts they make.

Our house lady, Leisong, is one of the Mummas going along. When she was here last week I asked her how she was getting to the airport on Sunday and if she would like a lift. She said that would be great. I asked her what time I should be in the village to pick her up and she said 9 in the morning. So I set a reminder to ensure I was there by 9!

At 6am I missed a call from her, then got a message saying she was ready now… so off I went (even before I had had a coffee, apparently 9am was a guess…), the village is only a couple of minutes’ drive up the road. When I got there the grounds outside the church were a hive of activity. All the Mummas were in matching blue Island dresses for their adventure, they were loading all the suit cases into the back of a public transport vehicle. These are usually 4×4 utes with a cage and tarp over the back part, and act as buses for the locals to get around the island. They were also waiting on a couple of Island buses to transport most of them to the airport.

Mangaliliu Village

Mangaliliu Village outside the church

Waving goodbye Mangaliliu Village

Waving goodbye Mangaliliu Village

After about half an hour the buses arrived and everyone had said their goodbyes, and off we headed in a convoy to Bauerfield airport. 2 public transport vehicles, 2 bus loads of Mummas and someone from the village driving a duel cab ute like ours, all full of the excited travelers and some family to see them off. The 4 ladies in my car chatted and laughed all the way, I wish I understood their language. We arrived at the airport all at once and the buzz was palpable. Most of them have never been in a plane before let alone gone to another country!

There were small group photos being snapped all around me, I asked the apparent team leader if we could get all the ladies together for a big group photo… It took a few minutes, but we did it… how wonderful do they look?

Arriving at the airport

Arriving at the airport

at the airport

at the airport

It was smiles all round, and possibly some nerves among the group, but mostly excitement. I feel privileged to have shared a part of their special day and I’m looking forward to meeting them at the airport on Sunday when they arrive home, and hearing about their adventures.

Cheers for now

Darleen in Paradise

Crowd Funding, Glamping, Divi’s…

New words for the vocab? Absolutely! So by now you know our place will be called Divi’s… and I spoke about the Glamping Huts in an earlier blog (Glamorous Camping). Have you heard of Crowd Funding yet? If not, here you go…

Crowd funding is one of those new great ideas that would not be possible without the internet and social media. The Idea is that you engage one of the crowd funding websites, we chose ‘GoFundMe’ and write your story and invite the people in your circles to fund whatever your cause is. Some people use it for charity, some for helping out a person, or a family who has gone through a tough time, and some to raise money for a new venture or business. I am sure there are more, but they are the ones I know about.

For us it is about a new business. If you have not seen our blog please check it out ( www.divergent.life ). We have purchased the leases of 2 beautiful blocks of land near Mangaliliu in Vanuatu. We decided urban life on the Gold Coast Australia was not for us anymore. We wanted a new adventure!

We are building a bungalow to live in, or rent out as a premium B&B offering, a Wine and Tapas Bar and some Glamping Huts in the rainforest. So where does the GoFundMe come into play? We are offering a heavily discounted 2 night stay in one of the Glamping Huts including Breakfast for just AUD$100, that’s per room not per person! Once we are up and running and the Glamping Huts are taking bookings, they will be about AUD$250 per night.

By spending AUD$100 on our GoFundMe campaign, you will actually be helping to build a Glamping Hut! You will be part of the adventure. So come and share a little piece of paradise with us.

Check out the GoFundMe page… I have just added a short video, they will go up quick so I’ll keep you posted with more photos when I can, as Scott has mentioned the internet is very slooooowwwww…. and it it almost impossible to upload photos. https://www.gofundme.com/27a6ex2s

See you soon


It’s getting very real now!

The buildings are out of the ground…

Pictures are the best way to tell this story… We have been here for a week as of tomorrow afternoon. When we got here the Bungalow slab had been poured and had a couple of rows of blocks in place. The foundations had been poured on the Tapas Bar. A week later the Bungalow has 9-10 rows of blocks and the walls are up to floor level on the Tapas Bar and the fill is arriving tomorrow.

We spent a day clearing the areas for the first 2 Glamping huts, Scott did a fantastic job with his ‘kinfe’ (machete) slashing through the bush. I’ll do a separate blog about that day!

So here you go…

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow 8

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow Monday 4

Bungalow Monday 

Divis Vanuatu Bungalow Monday

Bungalow Monday

Divis Vanuatu bungalow 10


Divis Vanuatu Bungalow 9

Bungalow Monday

divis vanuatu Bungalow Thursday

Bungalow Thursday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar 2

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar1

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas Bar 3

Tapas Bar Monday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 4

Tapas Tuesday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 6

Tapas Wednesday

Divis Vanuatu Tapas 7

Tapas Bar Thursday

Another update in a few days to follow, they are going really quickly! I guess with 10 guys on the site it is do’able.

The slab for the tapas should be down by the end of this week.



It’s full…

It is the 19th of June today, I flew back to the Gold Coast on the 5th of June. It was strange being back. Right now I am in Sydney with my eldest daughter Sam, visiting my parents, and my lovely friend Melissa, who I’ve known for 30 years. We also hand lunch with my brother Scott and his partner Jo.

My Scott worked this week just gone and we both fly back to Port Vila on the 20th June. This time we both have one way tickets as we are activating our residency visa’s! Very exciting.

I spent most of the 10 days on the Gold Coast shopping and seeing friends, I think we were out for dinner all but 2 nights. We also took delivery of the solar panels and Scott had to work his magic again to fit them in the container. I had not been out to the container since flying in and when Scott opened the doors that morning, I thought ‘there is no way we will fit these panels in…’ Scott pulled about a third of the container back out as he felt it could have been packed better. So we had the flatpacked kitchenette and half the stainless steel flatpacks, and heaps of other stuff out on the driveway. The guy arrived with the box of solar panels on the back of a ute, we had to take them out of the massive box one by one to unload them, lean them against the container and then squeeze the box into it’s spot in the container (up ended), then load them all back into the box. All but one got back in the box!

Darleen in the container with the solar panels

Darleen in the container with the solar panels

The panels themselves are not as heavy as I thought they would be, only about 15 kg each. But when you have to handle 30 of them twice, they get very heavy!

Scott then went to work finding the right bits for every nook and cranny… he really is the 3D puzzle king! He got it all in and then we had room left so he said I should order the chest freezer… it arrived 2 days later and it got in too! So the container is now officially full and ready to be shipped to Port Vila.

In my next blog I will have lots to share with the progress of the building, will do that in the next day or so.




In and Out of my Comfort Zone

Being an another country is always exciting for me… so many new things to see, taste, experience… We arrived on the 6th of May this trip and Scott flew back to the Gold Coast on the 16th. So I have been here by myself for almost 3 weeks. Before he left we bought our car/truck and like it or not I have had to drive around on my own, on the wrong side of the road, up steep slippery hills in a very large Ute (it is a 3Lt Manuel Diesel Isuzu Ute).

I have to say it has been a little lonely being here by myself. I fly back into Brizzy this afternoon, I quite like having time to myself, but 3 weeks is too long without Scott. We will both be back on about the 20th June and we are renting Bob and Kelly’s place as they have to go back to Gladstone for a few months to sort out some business stuff. It will be so good coming back here and living at Mangaliliu, with Scott.

Food shopping here is different… if you can find things items you need you automatically find yourself converting the prices back to AUD. I guess that will wear off eventually…? A very large portion of the community is French, so many of the stores carry French products, which is great, but sometimes it is hard to work out what it says on the packet! I speak no real French and no Bislama. Most of the Ni-Van’s speak at least 4 languages, French, English, Bislama and their village dialect, which apparently can be completely different to Bislama.

Some of the fruit and veg is foreign, some just a little different to home. You can buy things that are imported from Australia and New Zealand like Broccoli and Zucchini and Capsicum, but they are very expensive, so we will have to grow whatever we can and find ways to use what is available instead of buying whatever we want at any time of the year.

The bugs! In the room there was a constant invasion of teeny tiny brown ants, they would be all over a plate in a matter of 10 minutes unless you rinse the dishes straight away. There was a Gecko living in the room, I did see it a couple of times, I don’t mind their little chirp and hopefully it chomped up any rouge mozzies that found their way in. Centipede’s let themselves in under the front door every night. It was a little disconcerting to crunch one underfoot in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.

Out at the block I have been fascinated by the garden skinks, they have iridescent tails in blue and green, so pretty. And when you go down to the little coral beach and stay still for a while you will see the ground moving with hundreds of small hermit crabs.

So things are really underway now, the foundations have been dug, we are moving again (out to the block when we came back) and we have put in our application for an Environmental Impact Assessment for Divi’s, which apparently we should have done when we applied for the building permit, but no one told us that. It should be almost done by the time we get back.

Our shipping container is almost full and should be leaving the Port of Brisbane on the 1 July.

All in all I think we have made huge headway in the last 4 weeks, I don’t really want to leave when the building is about to come out of the ground, but it was booked months ago, before we had a builder. It will be good to catch up with family and friends for a couple of weeks, but when we leave the Gold Coast on the 20th, I have no idea when I will be back in AU. We will activate our Vanuatu Residency visa’s when we come back next time.

It just challenges your mind when there is so much new stuff happening around you constantly… and I love it!



See you in Paradise…

The build has actually started!

So exciting to see something that we designed come to life… almost like having a baby!

The builder and his first team arrived on site on Tuesday morning. They had dropped off a few materials to get the site shed started on the Monday afternoon. By Tuesday after noon they had created a shed to lockup to keep all their tools in (and our new generator) and were able to lock it up that night.

I was there for an hour or so yesterday morning and they had marked out the location of our bungalow. I had some admin stuff to do in town this morning so I did not get there till about 1pm.

Wow! They had the foundation trenches dug and by the time I left at 4pm today, the steel was in place and they will be ready to pour concrete in the next 2 days. We have been waiting on a Building Engineer to draw up plans for the footings and stuff… still waiting. Richard cannot pour the footings until the engineer has checked it all.

And in amongst all that action the surveyor arrived to check our boundary lines. Maurice is a very swave dude! And such high tech equipment in the jungle.

Anyway pictures speak 1000 words, so here you go… happy days!

shed almost done

shed almost done

Cuting Tin Island style

Cutting Tin Island style hammer and a knife!

Bong bending steel with his hands

Bong bending steel with his hands

Checking the lines...

Checking the lines…

the footings...

the footings…

love the OHS over here...! no shoes, thongs or sandles at best

love the OHS over here…! no shoes, thongs or sandals at best

Tom tieing off the steel

Tom tying off the steel

Maurice the surveyor

Maurice the surveyor



See you in Paradise…


The plans…

It looks like the internet situation at our apartment has been sorted out!

Where is divi’s and what is happening there…?

here is a google earth shot of the Island of Efate and a pinpoint of divi’s location on the north west coast.

Divi's Mangaliliu

Divi’s Mangaliliu

Google earth close up of divi's location

Google earth close up of divi’s location

I have been able to load my little Youtube video with the plans, so here you go…

We have signed the contract with the builder Rabco Construction, Richard and his team will start on Tuesday morning…! Exciting… woohooooo



See you in Paradise