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Epi Island, Vanuatu report

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    Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 8:57am
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So here’s the story of our recent trip to Vanuatu.  I had not planned to be on this trip at all.  I got an email one week before the plane was to take off saying that a spot was open.  In a few words, I was able to make it happen.  I watched the second Twilight movie on the flight to Port Vila.  It was, um, awesome.

We arrived in Port Vila thrilled at the air temp, not so thrilled with the wind speed.  We then picked up all of our bags.  Except mine (and Kane’s but this is my story).  Our two gun bags didn’t get put on the plane by the Air NZ monkeys in Auckland.  We did the best we could to try and arrange the bags to be delivered to us later in the week and then hopped on the charter flight to Epi.
 
 
 

Over the next week, we dived seamounts, active volcanoes, reef edges and all sorts in between.  To describe the conditions in one word, it would be current.  The new moon tides were big and we drifted some spots at 4-5 knots.  Getting the currents right on the seamounts was very frustrating, and I can only remember two times when we got it right, but both times I was able to put a shaft in a dogtooth.

 
One of the points we dived was a spot where the current would blast on one side, hit the point, then blast out to sea, forming a big eddy on the other side of the point.  When the tide changed, it would switch.  Rambo swears he saw a 100kg dogtooth there, just hanging effortlessly in the current.

We finally found a point with a slow, but steady current and great drop-offs from about 10 to 25 meters.  We saw doggies on every drift and shot a good few of them, one of which was Rambo’s 36kg model he got at 10 meters.

 
There were plenty of other fish to chase too.  Basically, there was pretty much every sort of reef dweller you normally find in this part of the world – big eyes, longnose emperors, parrots of every size and shape, coral and coronation trout, midnight snapper, all sorts of grouper, napoleons, turtles, even dugongs.  Nobody shot a turtle or dugong, but I did shoot a big ass parrotfish.  I won’t be doing that again, although the villagers were epically stoked.
 
 
 

That was one part of the trip that I really liked.  We stayed in some bungalows owned by the chief that were right in the heart of the village.  Every fish we shot went to the folks in “town”, which meant we got to hang out with the locals quite a bit.  It was great swapping stories with them and horseplaying with the kids.  The food was awesome too and the local ladies cooked up a storm for us after a day’s diving.

 
 
 
We left Epi and went back to Port Vila for our last day.  I got to see my gun bag for the first time – oh joy.  We did one last trip out to the Devil’s Point area, where I was able to shoot one more dogtooth.  Beers and a bbq that night and now everyone is back to reality.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Qaz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 9:06am
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Originally posted by kolt45 kolt45 wrote:

 

 

 





Nah, Wink

Awesome TR Kolt , Sounds like you had a amazing time. Vanuatu is definatley A place im going in the future (due to free accommodation with friends) and spectacular diving.
That parrot fish is a monster! When I first saw It I though it was a Napoleon Wrasse till I looked closer.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote G R Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 9:07am
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awesome story and pics kolt looks like you are becoming the doggie expert did you have the use of an outboard motor or just arm power?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote baffled Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 9:09am
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Looks awesome, well done. I must do an Island trip soon, looks far too cool.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote TG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 9:23am
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Epic man, epic.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mjl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 10:00am
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Choice
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mullins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 10:22am
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Sweet! I was worried it was going to be an insipid teen-angst-ridden R-Pat promo vehicle.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Nick. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 11:23am
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mean!  

what did Kane get? or was he just filming?

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 11:26am
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Kane filmed then shot a 14kg coral trout.  Both Kane and I had no guns the entire trip except for the last day.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Nick. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 11:30am
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no guns for the entire trip!  man thats gotta hurt.....................  
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mullins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 11:41am
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I think we'd better go there Nick.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Diver Dan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 12:05pm
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Awesome fish Kolt - that bump head is a monster, nice doggies too. Would you go back? (with guns?)
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote TG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 12:41pm
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Originally posted by Mullins Mullins wrote:

I think we'd better go there Nick.


I want to as well. Not with you though, you'll make me look bad.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sikahill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 12:41pm
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Superb trip report.
 
Why would you not shoot any more parrot fish? Are they rare or just a mean fight?
 
I love the colours on the last photo. That dogtooth looks awesome.
 
Must be a real drag coming home. We currently have tons of mud pouring into Hawkes Bay. I would say its going to take weeks and weeks to clear.
 
Thanks for the report.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 1:06pm
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Originally posted by Diver Dan Diver Dan wrote:

Awesome fish Kolt - that bump head is a monster, nice doggies too. Would you go back? (with guns?)
 
That was my third trip to Vanuatu, so yeah, I'd love to go back.  Having a high sucess rate with doggies requires special gear, so it's frustrating when it doesn't arrive and you have to make due with other stuff.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote TheSnapperWhisperer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 1:20pm
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yeah noice mate

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Unclejake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 1:27pm
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What they ^ said
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote kolt45 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 1:34pm
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I forgot to add that there were a LOT of jobfish.  Burley turned them rediculously stupid.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote daveo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 3:03pm
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Wicked cool.
 
Truely jelous!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Hippi Pippi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2010 at 3:22pm
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Nice story and photos Kolt.
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