By Tim Foster
I seem to remember that in 1977 there were only four or five international flights per week into Bauer Field but I stand to be corrected. One of our pastimes was to go to the Airport and watch the flights come in and leave and if we were lucky there would be a BAC 1-11 of Air Pacific and a Boeing 737 or 727 of Air Nauru on the ramp at the same time and occasionally a Fokker F27 Friendship turboprop of UTA. Sometimes the Air Nauru plane would stay overnight and on one occasion caused quite a bit of excitement.
The sound of jet planes taking off could be heard quite clearly in Vila and early one Saturday morning we heard the familiar roar of a departure but instead of the noise gradually fading it continued for some time, faded slightly for a short while and then roared out again. This happened a few times so I got the family together and we made for Bauer Field to see what was going on. Quite a few people had had the same idea and a fair sized crowd had gathered at the airport. It turned out that an Air Nauru 737 was doing circuits and bumps as part of a training exercise and even carrying out single engine flight which struck me as a bit risky at such a small airport. The event was reported in both English and French news sheets so it must have been noteworthy
We also used to go to the wharf and watch cruise ships berthing and leaving so you can see we were easily diverted. Three which I remember were Oriana, Arcadia and Ellinis. We thought the ships were enormous but they would be dwarfed by some of the vessels which call there now.
On one occasion one of the cruise ships was open for visitors so Audrey and I went aboard for a look around. We found the below decks accommodation claustrophobic and it put us off cruising for good.