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Sweet Dream - Day 186 July 20, 2019

We met in the morning with our dinghies, made a caravan, and went to visit the cave of skulls. The Chief’s son was our guide to this sacred place. Here we learned that something like only 200 years ago the people of Erromango were still living under rocks for protection from the elements. They had not yet learned the skill of thatching with palm fronds or building houses. They lived in hollowed out spaces under the rocks, and when cyclone, or warring tribe threatened them, the women and children were herded into this cave and the warrior men stood guard at the mouth of the cave to protect them. Some where along the line, the cave became a good spot to keep future dinner guests that had been acquired from neighbouring tribes, and still later, the cave became a convenient place to store the bodies of the dead. The chiefs had their own cave, higher up on the hill overlooking the common folks’ cave. We were emphatically reassured that even though white skin is very tasty indeed, the missionaries have taught the people of Erromango that they should enjoy eating pigs and cattle, and not people. So now, we had nothing to fear, in this day and age, we are friends, not food. It was quite difficult to keep a straight face during this earnest speech, and we welcomed being able to visit the caves.Our guide asked permission from the cave spirits for us to enter, then gave us the go ahead. Several folks climbed up into the chief caves, I was content with the lovely photo that Sophie from Manihi shared with me and just visited the common cave. Oy Vey....this was the real deal, bones, bugs, bats and all! I shuddered to think the nightmares those poor children that had to stay in there for refuge suffered, and I was very happy to come out and breathe fresh air again! It was a creepy, eerie place, and with bats singing past my head I climbed back out into the light! So hard to grasp the concept that 200 years ago Americans and Europeans were building ships, machines, lovely mansions and castles and the people on Erromango were just crawling out from under the rocks! Some folks snorkelled off the beach on the reef, then we took the dinghy home, had lunch, and Lars went back to the village to take our gifts. We managed to get the boat into sailing order by 16:00, and took off with most of the other boats for Port Villa.


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