A postcard from the South Pacific | AspenTimes.com

A postcard from the South Pacific

Aspen residents Karen Silverman and Karen Ryman on their offseason vacation to Vanuatu. (Courtesy Karen Silverman)

Aspen residents Karen Silverman and Karen Ryman recently traveled to Vanuatu, a Melanesian island nation in the South Pacific for vacation, and sent us this photo. The pair boarded a brigantine ship, the “Soren Larsen,” that was in the show “The Onedin Line” and the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.”

Talk about adventure – these ladies boarded the ship from Aore Island, and were part of the ship’s crew for 10 days while sailing the Banks and northern Vanuatu islands. They checked out some of the most remote locations, with names like “Ureparapara” and “Vanua Lava,” where Silverman said islanders still don’t have electricity, running water or other symbols of civilization.”They are very sweet, gentle, and work on educating themselves. We were greeted by villagers paddling out to the ship in their own dugout canoes to welcome us, sometimes with songs or poems,” she said. “On occasion, the ship traded rice and flour, which the villagers needed, for papayas (the size of footballs), and bananas, and we also brought along clothing, writing paper, and pencils as gifts.”

The ladies’ adventure also took them to waterfalls, snorkeling at coral reefs, and entertainment by dancing natives.

Silverman adds that Vanuatu was formerly the New Hebrides, and was the spot from which James Michener wrote his “Tales of the South Pacific” during World War II. “The remains of US military is still there, with rusted out Quonset huts, and a beach filled with dumped equipment which subsequently created a coral reef,” Silverman says. “There is a well known dive site, the USS Coolidge, a troop ship which was sunk (fortunately no one was hurt).”Did you go anywhere exciting recently, and did you take along your copy of The Aspen Times? Send your photo and some information about your vacation to nhavlen@aspentimes.com to be published.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.