The Land Divers of VanuatuPentecost Island, Penama Province
After a short flight south from Vanuatu’s main island Efate and a slightly longer boat ride along Pentecost Island’s wild coastline we arrive at an unspoiled beach with a small opening in the trees. There are only a handful of other travellers wandering up a well-worn path to sit within the shadows of a near 30-metre-high wooden tower.
The villagers have gathered for the Naghol, an ancient local land diving ritual that gave birth to the world wide bungee craze. They are chanting and swaying as one of the villagers, wearing nothing more than a penis gourd, climbs to the top.
There he stands and proclaims all his wants and grievances before leaping outwards and down towards the earth. The vines are supple at this time of year, but they still crack as they snap the land diver forward. His head only slightly grazing the dirt, bringing good luck for the coming yam harvest.
It is an extraordinary spectacle!
An eight-hour day tour to Pentecost Island costs about AU$610, including a short flight with Air Taxi Vanuatu.
It’s a small plane flight, a short boat ride and a quick walk through the jungle to where the Naghol takes place. Not too difficult but is easily a full day.
The tour departs Wednesdays and Saturdays from April to June.