Pentecost Island has become famous throughout the world for the land diving ritual (Nagol or N'gol) which occurs every Saturday between April and June.
The ritual, which influenced the invention of bungy jumping by New Zealander AJ Hackett, sees local men and boys as young as seven jump from a 20 -30 metre high manmade tower with only a vine attached to their legs. The tower itself takes locals five weeks to build using materials from the forest.
Travelling to view this magnificent ceremony is a once in a lifetime experience. No words can express the feeling of the ground vibrating under the dancing and stomping feet of villages and the excitement of sitting beneath the tower waiting with unease for the diver to jump safely to ground.
The awe inspiring ceremony celebrates the yam harvest and is a fertility rite for men. The story of the festival tells of a woman who ran away from her husband and hid in a tall tree. The husband, Tamale begged her to say sorry and come down. She refused so he climbed the tree after her and as he reached the top she jumped. In his anguish Tamale jumped after her, only to realise that she had tied liana vines around her ankles. The woman survived while Tamale perished. To this day, men jump from the tower as a show of strength to women in the village and as a statement that they cannot be tricked again. When the vine stretches at the end of the dive the land divers head curls under their shoulders to touch the earth, making it fertile for the following year's yam crop.
Penecoste Island is a 50-55 min flight from Port Vila