Location of Malakula within Vanuatu
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The Maskelyne Islands, often abbreviated as the Maskelynes, are a small chain of low islands that forms part of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. Among the islands are Awei, Avock, Leumanang, Uluveo, and Vulai. Uluveo (also called Maskelyne) is the main island in the group and has three villages.
The islands lie at the southeastern end of Malakula. They were named by Captain Cook after the Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne as he sailed north from Port Resolution on Tanna in HMS Resolution in late 1774.
The islands of the chain are relatively well-inhabited, (1,022 by 2009).which is considered to have historical reasons in part that life on the islands provided protection from attacks by mainland tribes which were not good seafarers, and thus had trouble reaching the island chain. However, the island chain also went through a variety of cycles of population and depopulation (causes not given in reference).
The area is rich with fish and sharks,and Lonely Planet describes the Maskelynes as 'just gorgeous' and recommends them for snorkelling and diving opportunities - though warning of strong currents between the islands. However, as of the late 2000s, there was little tourism in the area, being a very remote part of Vanuatu.
The islands have very little modern infrastructure, even for the local Pacific island environment, though the Vanuatu government and various aid agencies have cooperated with locals to assist some smaller local schools and health facilities.
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Pélé Island, sometimes spelled Pele in English, is a volcanic island located 11,2 miles north of the island of Éfaté in the Shefa Province of the Republic of Vanuatu. It has a total area of 1.7 square miles, Pélé is inhabited by about 200-220 Ni-Vanuatu villagers residing in the four villages: Worsiviu, Worearu, Piliura, and Launamoa. Pélé Island is a part of the MPA Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area, which was established in 2003, and is a popular Vanuatuan diving location. The Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area covers a total area of 11.5 sq. mi., including numerous reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests and intertidal lagoons. The Nguna-Pele Marine Protection Agency is located in the village of Piliura, and mounts an exhibition and sells T-shirts. Income from tourism is distributed by the Village Tourism Committee and supports aims as village water supply projects. The island can be visited daily by boat from the Paonangisu area by the town of Emua on Éfaté's north coast. There are also yachts available both from Emua and Nguna for day and overnight charters to the island. The island is nearly adjacent to the island of Nguna, with a small passage no deeper than 33 yards separating the two. It has a tropical climate and has a maximum elevation of 650 feet at its highest. Much of the island is extremely steep and rocks prevent you from walking along the coastline around the island. White sandy beaches are found in Piliura, Worearu, Laonamoa, and Sake. Overpopulation has led to a steady migration from Pele villages to southern Nguna in recent times.
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Leumanang is a small uninhabited island in the Malampa Province of Vanuatu. Leumanang is a part of the Maskelyne group off south Malekula.
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