#Bauerfield Airport

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


Boarding the plane at Brisbane International Airport was exciting for the Vanuatu crew and officials. We were boarding a brand new Boeing 737-800 that Air Vanuatu took delivery of on Wednesday 3rd February 2016. It was the aircrafts first visit to Brisbane … we even had the fire trucks spray the aircraft as we taxied towards the runway. That was a new experience.

We landed late Friday night (11.10pm) safe and sound at Port Vila International Airport. It wasn’t a soft landing either! Thought the pilot would be focused on executing a soft landing because of the “breaking up” of the runway as reported by Air New Zealand, Qantas and Virgin. That was not our experience, we landed with a thud!

We had an experience at Port Vila International Airport that was so Vanuatu. We expected there would be a line of taxis at the airport that would be able to take us to our accommodation – no luck. Once we realised we were in trouble, I chatted with the transfer company that was taking two (2) other passengers to Chantilly’s on the Bay. After paying him Vatu3,000 we boarded the transfer coach with twelve (12) other people. Turns out it was one transfer bus for all the resorts in Port Vila.

We were all sitting … sweating on the bus about to leave and there was one couple standing on the curb as they shut down the airport. Turns out they were waiting for Evergreen Tours to pick them up. Our bus organiser went and helped the couple for the next 20 minutes, while we all sat sweating on the bus. He explained to us once the couple was sorted, that normally there is a line of taxis, but for some reason that was not the case tonight. He wanted to help “his friends”. That highlights a part of Vanuatu we love.

We checked into our room at Chantillys on the Bay just after midnight. A few weeks ago Trip Advisor had sent Darleen an alert to a deal at Chantillys on the Bay, pay four (4) nights @ AUD$199, next three (3) nights for free. We grabbed the deal straight away.

The air-conditioning was running in the room at 16 degrees, it was sensational stepping out of the humidity and heat into a cool room and climbing into bed.

Waking hungry, we wandered down to The Moorings for breakfast. Ironically where we ate breakfast was on decking under a natangura roof (grass roof), the same as we want to create at Mangaliliu. After a yummy omelette we asked for the name of the company that completed the construction after the cyclone – Island Constructions – we plan to have a chat with them.

Saturday morning after collecting a Suzuki Jimny from Europcar for the week, we picked up some basics from the supermarket. Darleen was thrilled to see Pauls fresh milk on the shelf! We grabbed some for our neighbour Bob as well.

Arriving at Mangaliliu and seeing our blocks, now cleared thanks to Bob and his team of local Ni-Vans was great. It gave us a much better feel for the what we have to work with.

We discussed our plans with Bob over a long lunch at his home, which looks great.

After lunch we walked around our beach block and went for a swim. The temperature of the ocean felt 28c. It was lovely.

Arriving back at Chantillys on the Bay, we grabbed two Tusker Lemons and watched the sun set over Port Vila Bay.

Tusker sunset, divis vanuatu

On Sunday after another beautiful breakfast at The Moorings we headed back out to Mangaliliu.

It was time for Darleen to drive. In all of our trips to Vanuatu so far, I have been the driver. Darleen jumped into the left side driver’s seat and off we went. We drove past the Mangaliliu turn off the main road travelling up to Havannah Harbour. We wanted to check out the amount of new development. We didn’t notice any new work. But work that was in progress on our last visit (November 2015) had progressed or been completed.

With tape measure and red and white marking tape (like you might see at an accident or building site). We marked out the lines of the beach block from front to back tying the tape at eye height on the trunks of trees, then finding the 30 metre markers from the high water mark, and measuring in four (4) metres to the front corner of our proposed bungalow. From that point we measured out the complete outer structure.

We duplicated this process for the bar and tapas building.

We have a vast amount of land to work with. The effort we are going to have to put into the gardens is daunting. There are certain natural features on the block, rocks and big trees, and an amazing tree canopy over the proposed bar and tapas and bungalow, and they are what we had hoped for.

We had big grins over our faces all day.

Returned back to Chantillys on the Bay for a relaxing dinner of tapas and Tusker Lemon watching another beautiful sun set over Port Vila Bay.

Scott in paradise


Tusker is the local beer in Vanuatu, and they make a “Tusker Lemon” beer that Bob (neighbour) introduced me to while in Vanuatu last November (2015).

I enjoyed the flavor, consuming quite a few in the week I was there checking out the block at Mangaliliu, Vanuatu. I am looking forward to having another Tusker Lemon next weekend, after arriving in Port Vila. C’mon Air Vanuatu – please keep those planes flying into and landing safely at Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Earlier this week after hearing about Air New Zealand, then QANTAS, and now Virgin Australia not flying into Port Vila Vanuatu because of the condition of the runway, I started scanning the web searching for any information I could find to gain a better understanding of the situation. While much of the information reported was simply comments from one government agency blaming another government agency for the issue, I couldn’t find any actual steps being taken, other than planned meetings and visiting delegations, that was leading to the outcome wanted by all – every airline being able to fly into and land safely at Port Vila International Airport Vanuatu.

But I did come across the Tusker Road Movie, and I LOVED IT.

Check it out for yourself …

BUT … the locals are not happy!

The Vanuatu Daily Digest said:

Video: Tasteless Tusker promo plumbs new low in Vanuatu advertising

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but they were not convinced that is entirely true.


Whether you have been to Vanuatu or not, I would love to read/receive any comments you might have about the Tusker Road Movie.