Beach Breaks Vanuatu

Land Diving in Vanuatu

By on July 12, 2015


Each country has their own unusual traditions, in Vanuatu it is land diving.

Just as the name suggests, the act of land diving is just that. Diving towards the ground. A 30m drop to be precise. A 30m drop that locals plummet down with just a liana vine tied around each ankle. Greeted by solid earth bellow there is no harness or OH&S officer nearby to assist the jumpers. Witnessing the jumps make your heart drop. But it is an annual tradition for the people of Vanuatu and how different really is it to the modern day bungee jump? (Besides the comfort of course)

large_VANU_10The diving is also known as ‘naghol’ and you can witness it for yourself on a trip to Pentecost Island, just north of Vanuatu’s capital, Port Villa.

The jumpers are boys aged 10, right up to 30, wearing waistbands and sheath across their manhood. The jump is a coming of age for the boys.

There is a great story to explain the tradition about a wife who ran away and climbed a tree during a dispute with her husband. As he followed her up the tree she sneakily tied a vine around her own ankle and jumped to what her husband thought would be her death. He dived after her in anguish.

It sounds like your typical women-are-more-intelligent-than-men analogy.

Traditionally the women were the ones to partake in the land diving but due to grass skirts being slightly to revealing. So now the boys have taken over the tradition, trying to convince the women population that they won’t be tricked again.

Watching the sound boys climb the rickety timber tower and prepare from their jump makes the crowd tense. But after every jump there is a sigh of relief from the crowd as another young local becomes a man.



About Me

Kat Knapp

Hello! I am a 22-year old Australian currently training to be a pilot and studying journalism and sociology I have visited 69 countries across all 7 continents and love to explore. Here is where I share my adventures.