The Ngol (land diving) is a tradition on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. I learned about it watching a documentary one evening in my little coastal apartment in Northern California. And I thought, what if I could go there? Then, I did! This post describes the adventure.
I've wandered around lots of places looking for the kind of remote you read about in National Geographic years ago and never found it. Until last week.
After my Pentecost Island trip was cancelled last minute, I headed to Tanna to stare down into the belly of a volcano.
My flight to Pentecost Island was cancelled last minute, calling for some creative rescheduling and a new flight to Tanna, an island with much traditional culture and an active volcano you can watch from the rim. At the airport, waiting for my departing flight, thousands from town gathered to see the late president's coffin off to Banks, his home islands. The only indication of "security" was twenty feet of yellow tape condoning off one place in the airport driveway. I arrived about three hours early for my flight--because of the Coffin Procession--and eventually, I felt overwhelmed. All around me, babies were roaming in little friendly gangs, unaccompanied by adults. Every adult there knew every third person or so and the crowd was a tangle of handshakes and salutations. I saw one policeman and he didn't have a gun. Where was the crime? The security threats? The fear? The cultural differences were so many and nonstop.
The Eton Blue Lagoon is fed by an underwater spring and saltwater from the ocean. The rustic and incredibly well-maintained tables, bathrooms, and changing houses are managed by local village guys. Read about how one of them taught me how to climb trees again!
On the way to Vanuatu, three planes and twenty hours in the air, I felt a familiar combination of excitement, self-doubt, and absolute certainty that this was where I was meant to be. I touched down and Port Vila was far less developed than I expected and the people and tourists are open and warm. Click to read more about my first impressions.
It started with a Netflix documentary about land divers on Pentecost Island. Wouldn't it be cool to go there? Many hours of planning later, my itinerary is set! I'll travel to Vanuatu and Waterfall Village to see the Nagol, then off to Fiji to see if I can find some beginner waves. Can't wait to share the photos and adventure!
A friend and I drove up to climb some easy classics in Yosemite on Sunday, but not without encountering "that guy." You've met him: he means well, but he's a little insecure and his unsolicited comments and beta sort of rub everyone the wrong way. Maybe you are him. I've been that guy. I had a friend who was always that guy--it got old. Don't be that guy.
A beautiful Saturday on the Regular Route of Higher Cathedral Spire had me thinking about climbing and life.
I am getting to know my mind again. Is this truly a physical boundary, as it seems? I rarely collapse from exhaustion, but I will crumple under the resistance from my mind. You can't, you can't, you can't.
What if I did?
This is the second update of 2017 and includes a short video from a ski tour on Round Top Peak and discussion of balancing my desire to be politically active with pursuing my career and fitness goals.
This is the first post in a series of updates on my progress. These updates include athletic training, art, and thoughts on career goals.