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Presenter : Ian Wright

Pacific Islands: Fiji, Vanuatu & the Solomon Islands

Ian Wright visits the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, once infamous amongst explorers for head-hunting and cannibalism. He begins his journey in Fiji, Ian Wright, coming up for airwhere he is welcomed by a local tribe with a Kava drinking ceremony.

The mild narcotic is often offered to guests as a sign of friendship, and is also used to seal alliances, start chiefly conferences and commemorate births, deaths and marriages. He also goes diving on the Astrolabe Reef, which stretches unbroken for 30 kms along the east side of the small island north of Kadavu. With a vertical drop off of 10 metres in the inside and 1,800 metres in the outside and a visibility of about 75 metres, it is known as one of the finest dive destinations in the world.

On the Fijian island of Manna Ian goes feeding sharks with a local man named Api. Api comes from a family that believes it has an affinity with sharks, and has been training the sharks to fed from him for the last two years.

From Mana, Ian flies to Vanuatu – a group of islands christened the New Hebrides by Captain Cook in 1774 , because it’s ruggedness reminded him of the Scottish Islands. On the island of Ambryn he meets with the chief of a tribe that used to practice cannibalism, and witnesses the traditional Rom dance, where the dancers pretend to be a spirit Globe Trekker Pacific Islandswhich lives inside their costumes.

These costumes are burnt after the ceremony in case the spirit takes it over and haunts the dancer. He also visits the hot spring on the island of Sesivi, andTanna island, where he climbs the massive Yassur volcano. It’s the most accessible active volcano in the world, and has three large vents which bubble away at a temperature of 4000 degrees Fahrenheit, constantly showering the crater with red hot pumice and lava.

Ian continues his journey to the Solomon Islands. During World War II the islands were used as a battle ground between the Americans and the Japanese, and thousands of abandoned ships and tanks now litter the country and the seas. IanGlobe Trekker Pacific Islandsgoes to Gizo, where he dives down to the Tao Maron, the most intact of all the wrecks, which still has bottles, typewriters and other everyday items which were on board when the ship went down.

On Busu Island Ian watches shell money being made. This traditional currency is still used for bride prices and for settling disputes. Busu is one of the many artificial islands made of boulders and coral by people fleeing the inter-tribal fighting of the headhunters.

Places Mentioned - Fiji, Pacific Journeys: Santiago to Pitcairn & Tonga to New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu

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Pacific Journeys: Santiago to Pitcairn & Tonga to New Caledonia

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