Mystery Island is a little sand spit in the lagoon that we anchored in at Anatom. The island is haunted—or so the locals believe—and this makes it uninhabitable for any ni-Vanuatu. The interesting thing is that they don’t mind going over there for the day to sell cheap “made in China” trinkets to cruise ship tourists. They get a lot of opportunities to do this too as a cruise ship pulls in every 3-5 days (in season) to barf out a few thousand pink gaudily dressed tchotchke-hungry consumers. As a result the island has been “developed” into a kind of Survivoresqe theme park, part tasteful thatch shelter, part gauche photo-op, but all very interesting if you happen to go over there when the show isn’t on.
We happened to hit the island the day before a cruise ship was due and the locals were busy setting up for the big day. We got a chance to hang out on the pristine (just raked) beaches, enjoy the “Cannibal Soup” photo-op and basically have a pretty ideal I-can-almost-believe-this-isn’t-a-put-on deserted island experience. I would rail on it a bit more but the pictures tell the truth, we had a great time, it was beautiful, and we didn’t get shaken down for a single vatu (.1 penny).