Saturday, September 6, 2014

Guadalcanal and Honiara, Solomons

Honiara, May 2014

After leaving the beautiful Marova Lagoon we sailed overnight to the Russell group which used to house a PT 109 base and you could still see the quonset houses and remains of docks.    We had a good weather window for the next passage so headed out to Honiara.  We arrived too late to make our way into the anchorage area in front of the yacht club so anchored to the east of the fuel wharves for the night and moved in the next morning.    Honiara is barely more than an open roadstead with just a reef for protection from the swell.   It is a busy place with space for hardly more than just a few boats. The jetty is pretty much occupied with the Chinese fishing boats, some tour boats and other regulars with lines criss crossing all over the place so we chose to anchor off the western breakwater.  You can see Kelaerin bouncing up and down in this picture.

  The yacht club had a few amenities like a laundry.    Showers, some food and drinks at the bar made life a little more bearable in Honiara which is generally not been a cruiser favorite.    I would suggest however the nice little Lime Lounge which had some good choices for food and great thick mocha shakes.    Down the street aways was the Frangipani ice cream parlor with cheap cones and acceptable ice cream.   Most people stop here long enough to restock and then head out again.

The banana boat taxi stand was just next door to the yacht club and was a busy and dirty place.  The garbage piled high along the beach and the constant betel nut spit on the streets made Honiara pretty unsanitary at best.   So we left and headed over to the Florida group to visit Rodrick Bay and the Ruka family.

Solomon Island, Marova Lagoon 2014

Marova Lagoon

We stopped on the way to Marova on the North side of New Georgia Island in Lever Harbor.   Its a very large harbor and we had to go in quite a ways to find a place that was shallow enough to set our hook.     Almost immediately we were "canoed" by a group of young boys and a couple of men, led by Presley.    We felt a little uneasy with these guys as they were quite rude, demanding and I felt we were being made fun of by them.    They did, however, bring us a lot, and I mean a lot, of fruits and veggies for trade.  

Presley did offer to lead us up to a nearby waterfall where we could get fresh water if we wanted to.   I asked if it was ok to swim.  Did we have to watch out for crocodiles.   He said "no, no crocodiles,"  then, "well, sometimes."   I took a chance and went in for a quick dip.

Later we invited Presley aboard for a chat in our cockpit.   After he left the younger boys came back out to the boat and were pretty demanding for gifts.    One insisted we give him sunglasses and I told him we don't have any.    He said, "You gave Presley some sunglasses" and that's when I realized Presley had stolen a pair from the cockpit.  Fortunately they were a cheap and fairly worthless pair (which makes a point for having "decoy" items around).   That night while I was asleep in the cockpit I was awakened by a loud clatter.    Near the boat was a canoe, its occupant had just tried to steal a towel off the cushion but made too much noise.  

We entered Marova Lagoon by Uepi Resort.    The resort owner, Graeme, an Australian, has a reputation for not being too friendly to yachts and that proved to be the case for us, however, his guests were very friendly so we had a nice visit with a few of them.

James Michiner visited this lagoon and modeled some of the Tales of the South Pacific after his time there.    We stopped at Telina, known for its wood carvers.    The quality of the carvings was first rate, however, so were the prices.   $100 US for a small box with inlay was a bit too much for us, but we did find a couple of things.  Jim bought a canoe paddle which came in handy later on and I bought a beautifully carved walking stick.   All the villagers were involved in some sort of craftsmanship.

Joseph shows us a paper weight.  The women make purses from plant materials.   Below that Gary had some beautiful items but very expensive.   Rocky competes hard for the business.  He's a great carver and also sells some of these interesting WWII pieces and shell and bone jewelery.
The ground around Rocky's house was magenta with flower blossoms.

Kids, I love them.

John Wayne is a famous carver who lives just behind Telina on the larger island with  his family.   He and his wife visited with us and swapped WWII stories for Jim's stories of Vietnam.    His wife makes flags with embroidered pictures so I offered to give her some of my yarns and embroidery floss and she swapped me some saga palm carvings and a purse.