While walking along a dirt track skirting the island of Nguna in Vanuatu, I spied a tiny trail leading down to a glimmer of blue.
I can never resist a mystery trail so I clambered down the little hill, stepping carefully over a tangle of vines until I found a gap in the trees and emerged onto this hidden beach.
After the relative cool of the bush, the searing heat hit me like a blast from a furnace as I stepped out onto the sand. But the sight of stark black lava rocks from a long dormant volcano was worth the threat of sunburn and heat stroke.
I investigated tidal pools and scrambled atop rocks and sandy cliffs for great views of the Coral Sea and nearby islands.
Peering through another gap in the bush I saw sheets of rain falling across the bay. I was cutting it close with my ambling, but some things are worth risking a drenching.
I loved watching these island children laughing uproariously as they chased each other hand-over-hand around the boat. They caught me smiling at them and waved wildly, calling out hellos at the top of their lungs.
A bit further down the track I came upon these dapper fellows lined up on a fallen log in their Sunday best. I couldn’t resist having a chat with them and had to laugh as they answered each of my questions in loud unison. When asked if I could take their picture they squished closer on the log and assumed their most cool poses, hollering good-bye as I headed back to town.
I glanced out to sea in time to see rain plummeting into the surf only a few yards from shore. I dashed back to my bungalow as the first drops began to fall.
I was in for a doozy of a boat ride across the stormy Coral Sea.
What’s the wildest storm you’ve ever been in?