Mystery Island Cruise & Aneityum Island
Mystery Island
Get Stuck on Mystery Island

Mystery Island is a tiny, uninhabited island 10 mn away by boat from the big island called Aneityum situated in Tafea Province, Vanuatu. Tiny Inyeug (Mystery) Island can be reach only via cruises ships, local boats and by planes (Air Vanuatu) 3 times a week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from Port Vila and Tanna landing. You can take a leisurely stroll around the island for about 40 minutes. This incredibly beautiful conglomeration of pure white sand, palm trees and coral reefs provides the perfect place to relax and unwind. The Island itself has remained virtually untouched. The indigenous name of Mystery Island is Inyeug. According to the locals, the island was changed to Mystery Island because a reporter writing about Queen Elizabeth’s II 1974 visit kept asking for the name of the small island that she visited. The reporter was told the name is “Inyeug” meaning “Small Island”. After his own version of “Who is on First” (What is the name of that small island? “Inyeug”, “Small Island”!) The newspaper’s headline read “Her Majesty visits Mystery Island” for sure sold more papers than “Her Majesty visits Small Island”. The tourist that followed came to see Mystery Island not Small Island. The name Mystery Island has stuck and is used widely by the tourist and Cruise industry. Mystery Island itself has some modern amenities for cruises passengers such as newly jetty recently build in April, 2016. With the new jetty, it could now accommodate at least four tender boats that transfer tourists from the cruise ship to the island. The new jetty will assist and ease the movements of tourists from the cruise liners to Mystery Island, and to and back from the mainland. The old jetty used to accommodate only one transfer boat from the cruise ship has been decommissioned. There are no roads and no vehicles but have some tourism products on the island to accommodate the cruise ship passengers on cruise’s days.

When ships berthed, locals from nearby Aneityum island (south of the larger volcanic island of Tanna), will come to sell trinkets, lobsters, Homemade Organic Coconut Oil, Local foods, cold soft drinks, kava, local coffees, local coconuts and other souvenirs items include handicrafts and artefacts so guests can spend his/her day relaxing on the sand while a band of locals play songs for donations. There are an abundance of cooked spiny nosed lobster and flat-nosed lobsters for sale in the island market. On the island the hand painted boards tout snorkelling trips, boat rides, cave snorkelling, ship wrecks, turtle touching and fish feeding surrounded by clear blue waters and sheltered by coral reefs. Local children with their charming dances and singing to get donations for finishing their Kindergarten Building. They are also local dancers from Futuna Island who are voluntarily entertaining the guests on the Island for donation. The people of Aneityum won’t live on Inyeug Island because they believe it’s haunted by spirits. Moreover, no catching of any species around Mystery Island is allowed so the tourists can enjoy its natural state. The surrounding areas from Mystery Island has been secured as a Marine Protected Area.

There is plenty of sand to enjoy and the swimming should not be missed. Locals are lovely, offering hair braiding, massage, markets and great picture opportunities

Aneityum Island
Also known as Anatom or Keamu Aneityum Island is the southernmost island of Vanuatu, in the province of TAFEA. Aneityum has a small Island called “Mystery Island”. The largest village is Anelcauhat on the south side. The island is 159.2 km² in size. It rises to an elevation of 852 meters in Mount Inrerow Atamein. Aneityum consists of two coalescing, dominantly basaltic Pleistocene volcanoes. Both the NW side of Inrerow Atamwan volcano and the SE side of Nanawarez volcano are truncated by large erosional cirques. Volcanic activity ceased during the uppermost late-Pleistocene to Holocene.

Anatom has a current estimated population of 1250 (officially? 550). It is believed to have had a population of possibly as larger than 12,000 prior to the arrival of the Europeans in 1793. Introduced diseases and blackbirding are believed to have been the major factors in the depopulation. [Down to less than 200 in 1930].

Aneityum was first discovered on the 16 April 1793 by French navigator D’Entrecastreaux. In 1844 James Paddon set up a trading station, selling Sandalwood and Kauri. By 1852 most of the forests were cut down. He then moved to another island called Erromango, with the Pacific’s largest single sandalwood forest. Whalers would use Aneityum’s sheltered harbour right up until the 1870s to melt whale blubber into oil in large metal pots (one of these pots can be found in the main street of Port Vila outside the National library) although locals prefer informing tourists the other version; "pot for cooking white people".

The Presbyterian missionary John Geddie arrived in 1848 and proceeded to convert more than three quarters of the population to follow the Christian faith. He built a large stone church capable of seating all of his flock. Wrecked by a Tsunami in 1875, the church remains, although most of today’s villagers have no recollection who built it and why. The main island is home to 84 species of orchids, the largest collection in Vanuatu. Aneityum’s climate is even better than its northerly neighbour Tanna. Temperature ranges between 23°C to 30°C from January to March (wet season), and 16°C to 23°C the rest of the year with little rainfall. The people are friendly but less traditional than other islands but are just as super friendly and are easy to communicate with. There are a couple of basic stores, telephones, and a medical dispensary. There are also guests’ houses and bungalows at Anelcauhat on the big Island (Aneityum).