The Vanuatu Islands
Epi is a peaceful island with beautiful white sandy coves, many white and some black sand beaches, and inshore reefs. The interior is the rugged terrain of recent volcanic activity covered with lush rainforest. There are several small lakes where you can fish and swim and may get a chance to see wild birds, wild pigs and cows. The coastal area is very fertile and covered with coconut plantations. The people live scattered around the coast. Few vehicular roads exist.
There are two airstrips on the western coast, one at Valesdir to the south and the other at Lamen Bay, to the north. Valesdir is a plantation and in the 1920's colonial heydays, it had its own currency. From Valesdir, it is a 6 km walk to Imao lakes, known for their wild ducks. Namuka island, an uninhabited islet off the southern shore of Epi offers white sand beaches, clear water, coral and a fringing reef.
The 1.5 km long beach at Lamen Bay is considered to be Epi's finest. There is plenty of shallow coral for spectacular snorkeling. The beach is an unusual combination of black volcanic sands to the south, then suddenly changing to white coral sands at the northern end. The waters are safe and best of all, there are resident dugongs. One male in particular has taken a liking to people and is an exceptionally friendly, safe playmate even for children (who can swim). He really loves people coming into the water to interact swim and cavort with him. Being a completely wild animal, he is free to come and go as he pleases and may not be seen for a day or two at a time.
About two kilometres away by canoe is Lamen Island, a small but beautiful island surrounded by white sand beaches. About 450 people live here and always delighted to show visitors their traditions. The volcanoes on Ambrym and Lopevi Island can be seen from the northern point of Epi. There is a hot spring accessible on the northeastern tip. Epi has two submarine volcanoes close to its shores, Mt. Nitaia, part of the collapsed Kuwai volcano, 3 km offshore, occasionally steams or bubbles up and Cape Kone, also part of Kuwai, which is intermittently active.
Throughout Vanuatu, magic is believed to work best near active volcanoes, consequently the Epi people are known for their ability to make magic and invoke ancestral spirits. In the past magic was used to harm their rivals. Nowadays young male islanders use love magic to win the hearts of their favourite girls. Around Epi, the waters are safe from sharks and locals swim freely everywhere.
Epi Island is truly one of the gems of the Vanuatu archipelago. A 'must visit' destination when travelling to Vanuatu