Eleven years ago we set sail around the world. A year was spent on the Atlantic Ocean as we crossed the Panama Canal towards the vast Pacific Ocean visiting many islands including the Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotu, Cook Islands, Samoa and Fiji. In June 2005 we arrived in New Caledonia, where our friend Patrick Durand Gaillard had been living for 20 years. Patrick immediately told us about the Vanuatu archipelago, and one place in particular–a jewel-like island whose location was kept secret.
Our voyage across started on July 6, 2005. From Vanuatu’s famed volcanic island, Tanna, we sailed north to Etafe and the capital Port Vila, then to Epi, Ambrym, Malekula and finally, Espiritu Santo. One after the other, each island put us under a spell; here time stood still, tribal communities had kept their ancestral ways, nature was unspoiled, and consumerism had yet to reach this part of the world.
Finally, nestled between Aore and Malo, south of Espiritu Santo our destination - Ratua. What we saw stayed with us - the lush green of this most stunning beautiful isle – a preserved sanctuary, wild yet accessible. Right away we decided to adopt the island and after a few meetings the local elders entrusted their treasure to our care. In safeguarding the sanctuary, we pondered during the long hours of sailing back to civilization, how to live in harmony with nature without destroying its rich beauty.
At last, we recreated a living environment without compromising the integrity of the place by renovating forty antique Indonesian houses for our Vanuatu resort in total respect of their ancestral architecture. Two years later, each house had been carefully blended into its natural surroundings so as to preserve the sense of our first visit in such an exceptional place.
Life in Ratua is fashioned on a barefoot philosophy infused with a rich cultural experience. It’s about being self-sufficient with the aid of the nearby tribal communities and their subsistence farming.
The life we aspired required that we shed our usual consuming habits and learn an authentic lifestyle, again without taking too much from our environment. Thus, our fishing and farming is local. In our workshop, we work with coco and local wood, which, together with Natangora palm thatching, is at the base of our construction.
Living the dream and keeping the secret amongst family and friends was idyllic, however, we decided to share Ratua with others. In this way, travelers and visitors who come to Ratua are able to contribute towards the protection of the site and the preservation of our neighbouring communities. We have carefully, yet selfishly disrupted this place, our duty eventually will be to give it back, and to this end we have to be vigilant and ethical.
WELCOME TO RATUA!