We anchored off the volcanic island of Ambrym this morning. The volcano is still active and has two craters near the summit while the rest of the island is covered in dense jungle vegetation. Captain Cook anchored off the island’s black sand beaches in 1774. The volcano was featured in Werner Herzog’s documentary, Into the Inferno.
For our morning activity, guests traveled roughly two miles on foot or hitched a ride in the back of a pickup truck to watch a traditional Rom dance. The custom is held annually on the northside of the island and was traditionally an all-male event. When we entered the performance area, we were greeted with gifts of woven palm leaf necklaces and fresh flowers. There were several large wooden carvings of figures and drums in the performance area. Six of the performers, known as Rom dancers, wore elaborate masks and dresses made of dried banana leaves. They danced in a circle around the local chiefs and high-ranking community members. The chiefs wore two pig tusks as a necklace. Traditionally, Rom dance outfits are burned after the ceremony. After the performance, the community offered a fruit tasting featuring pomelo and cacao.
In the afternoon, our local agent Chloe Morin gave a talk about the Rom dance and answered questions about life and traditions in Vanuatu. Afterwards, guests boarded Zodiacs to go for a quick dip in the ocean.