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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > There's This Place...
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There's This Place... Articles on Destinations for Cruising, by Cruisers, for Cruisers...


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  #11  
Old 12-23-2009
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
The Solomons are on our list, and then onto Palau.......i2f
Palau I2f??

Wow! The pics I have seen of Palau are just unbelievable. My ultimate do It before I die, is to cruise the Rock islands of Palau.

Sadly I don't think we will be able to get there just yet, the cruising kitty is such that a year away from Oz is probably all we can manage for the moment.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2009
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Our destination is the Philippines. My wife is from Davao. Palau is along the way. I read recently that Palau is the first shark sanctuary. A member from another forum left the west coast of Canada. Also sailing for Davao. They enjoyed both the Solomons, and Palau...........i2f
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OziDude View Post
A few of my friends have spent time at Savo. I have heard so much about it and seen a lot of the pictures that they have taken. It will be a must see for me during my time there.

Smackdaddy - I think I remember where Gnossi Ridge is (so many ridges) between Panatina Ridge and above White River. I use to love getting in the 4WD and getting myself lost only to find my way out again. I use go up past Borderline, past the Japanese War Memorial until I had a great view out over Henderson Airfield to Iron Bottom Sound.

I have a bit of an interest in World War 2 history in particular the falling of Singapore and battles in the Pacific. I had no shortage of things to do when I wasnt working.

As for the current political situation, it does change from time to time. It mainly affects Honiara but if you avoid large gatherings that can pop up from time to time you are less likely to be involved in anything. I cant see that many people would be staying in Honiara because the Solomons have so much more to offer.

There is so much to see and do and as Smackdaddy has said the Western Province is a pretty good place to start.

The weather is great, the water warm, and if you get to the outer islands, crystal clear.

OziDude
Oops - wrong ridge. I went back and looked and it was Tavioa, west of Town Ground.

You're right that Honiara is really not much of a tourist destination. And there are absolutely no BVI-style accommodations anywhere. But if one likes crazy natural beauty and can rough it just a bit, it's a place they'll never forget.

BTW - I was there during the 50th anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal. We were good friends with the Japanese volunteers our same age, so when the US and Japanese soldiers came in for the anniversary it was a very, very interesting time talking with both sides. For the most part, the veterans had set aside all the bitterness and were very interested in each other. Lots of tears and apologies. It was really amazing.

But man, when you drive through the coconut groves on the way to Bonegi, and see 8-10cm holes blown in the trunks of all the standing coconut trees like Swiss cheese (the same trunks typically used as bunkers due to their density and strength) - and you think about being an 18 yo kid (on either side) marching into the face of that fire...it will give you shivers. Brave men.
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  #14  
Old 12-24-2009
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Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Oops - wrong ridge. I went back and looked and it was Tavioa, west of Town Ground.

You're right that Honiara is really not much of a tourist destination. And there are absolutely no BVI-style accommodations anywhere. But if one likes crazy natural beauty and can rough it just a bit, it's a place they'll never forget.

BTW - I was there during the 50th anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal. We were good friends with the Japanese volunteers our same age, so when the US and Japanese soldiers came in for the anniversary it was a very, very interesting time talking with both sides. For the most part, the veterans had set aside all the bitterness and were very interested in each other. Lots of tears and apologies. It was really amazing.

But man, when you drive through the coconut groves on the way to Bonegi, and see 8-10cm holes blown in the trunks of all the standing coconut trees like Swiss cheese (the same trunks typically used as bunkers due to their density and strength) - and you think about being an 18 yo kid (on either side) marching into the face of that fire...it will give you shivers. Brave men.
There isnt much to keep you in Honiara but as you said Smack it has a kind of crazy beauty about it. It is a melting pot of people coming from the outer islands to try and sell their wares. They are skillful wood and stone carvers. People from different areas have different skills and the prices differ so much but they will and can always haggle. Its always good to go into the carving shops get the price and then find a street vendor to buy the same or similar carving for a fraction of the price.

I managed to get some great stone carvings of their fish god and other sea creatures. I do recommend though that nothing fragile is posted back to your home country, no matter how well its packed. I sent a package to myself for when I returned to Oz....everything was smashed. I was not happy. I will have to buy them again when I get back to the Sollies in January.

The jungle lime juice (at the Lime Lounge) is something else after a hot day walking the markets or after a day of snorkelling Bonegi 1 and 2.

You are right. There were some amazing battles and I know what you mean about the coconut groves driving out to Bonegi. We befriended a few local villagers and they took us to a few spots that had tanks and downed aircraft. Did you get to Tetere to see the Amtraks? It was pretty amazing to get off the tourist track. It cost a little bit but that was more a donation than an expectation for us to pay. I was there for our ANZAC Day Service it was very moving watching the sun rise over Iron Bottom Sound...as you said Smack...Brave Men

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Old 12-26-2009
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The Solomans are without doubt the most interesting place I've sailed. We spent ten days there on BR (then Belle in the Australian registry) as guests of the PO and his wife. We flew into Honaria and left the next day spending a couple of nights in Morova Lagoon. Highlights of this stop included meeting a fellow who called himself "Feral Philip". He came out to our anchorage after sunset on Saturday night to trade his carvings. We struck a deal on some smaller items. We asked if there was a church we could attend the next day and he volunteered to take us, if we bought the gas for his outboard. (His boat was a 30+ foot dug-out log with 20 hp outboard on the back). Sunday church was at a logging camp village. The Chinese Malay superintendent didn't want us noseing around but some locals came to our rescue and invited us to join them for a two plus hour service with more singing and music than one can imagine. Later Philip took us to his "village" to meet his family. Scenes right out of National Geographic -- coming around a bend in a jungle trail we met a small boy from Philip's village who, from the look on his face, appeared like he'd seen a ghost. We might have been the first white people he'd ever seen -- and I guess we would look something like ghosts to him.

Before we parted Philip and I shook on a deal -- he would carve and send to me a Noozu-noozu (spell? -- it's a figurine that at one time graced the bows of village canoes) with a bird (peace symbol) rather than the much more common skull (war symbol). In return I agreed to get him a set of Marple carving knives -- (yes, he asked for them by their brand name). To make a very long and involved story short -- Philip got his carving knives about 8 months later after two attempts to mail them to his village agency. I got my carving adorned with mother of pearl about 15 months after we "did the deal". We later traded other goods via the post -- he needed an alarm clock (so his kids could get to school on time) and snorkeling gear. He sent me lots of things he'd made in return and once sent a box of stuff he wanted me to sell locally and send him the money.

From Monrova we sailed south of New Georgia and spent two or three nights in a small bay on the north coast of Rendova Island about a mile from where John F. Kennedy's PT 109 was based in WW II. I could go on a long time with more stories of life in this village, but one of the more interesting aspects of our visit was being escorted by two teenaged girls to the site of a crashed American bomber. Not much was left, but the engines were easily recognized and one of the bits of aluminium I found was a radio case with the serial number and "Philco Radio Corp., Philadelphia, PA --1942" on the name plate.

In another spot along the way to Gizzo we snorkeled on the wreck of a small Japanese coastal freighter --- I could go on.......

In short, it's a facinating place, but it has it's downsides. Specifically, it's wicked hot -- 90s air temp and humidity, water temps high 80s to 90+ in some of the small basins and bays we anchored in. In 1996, malaria was still a real problem -- we met a villager who's wife went from good health to death by cerebral malaria in 72 hours. She left him with 5 small children to raise. He asked me if I could get a headstone for his wife's grave -- as I later found out getting the stone was easy. Getting it to his village was impossible. (It would have taken a yacht willing to go way off the beaten path to get it there -- I couldn't find anyone going that way.) With the malarial mosquitos out and about sitting in the cockpit at night is risky business -- so you go below where you sit and sweat in the humid heat. The nights we spend the Soloman "outback" were not a lot of fun.

Since we were there I've read of security problems that have created other risks for cruisers. Those considering a visit should investigate the civil situation carefully.

Long and short of it is it's a unique place -- home to some wonderful people who welcomed us with open arms and, in one village, serenaded us from the shore at night. The heat and humidity you quickly forget. The memories of the land and folk remain with you forever.

PS -- I almost forgot to add to the list of downsides -- a few years after we were there a cruiser was taken by a saltwater crocodile in the small bay where we had snorkeled on the wreck of the Japanese ship.

Last edited by billyruffn; 12-27-2009 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 12-27-2009
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billyruffin,

Not only does the beauty of the pics I have seen attract me. From a car forum one of the members had just returned from the Solomons. The artifacts of WWII draw my interest also. How many years ago was it you sailed the Solomons?...........i2f
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2009
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billyruffin,

Not only does the beauty of the pics I have seen attract me. From a car forum one of the members had just returned from the Solomons. The artifacts of WWII draw my interest also. How many years ago was it you sailed the Solomons?...........i2f
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Old 12-27-2009
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BR - that's a great write up. I have several carvings as well - an ebony gnuzu-gnuzu, kerosene wood slit drum, and several others. It is phenomenal work. And, like you, I found the Solomoners to be very honest in trading. They're great people.

I think you nailed it too in describing it. It is not, by any stretch, a "vacation" spot as you'd think about with the Caribbean. There are very, very few conveniences. No real "resorts", etc. It is wild. Utterly and truly wild. When you leave the main town areas (Honiara, Gizo, etc.), you step back 1,000 years. But that's it's beauty.

We took a 3 day trek across Guadalcanal, over the mountains and through some of the most amazing jungle you'll ever see. We walked through the razor grass, saw ants that were almost 1" long, stumbled upon "bush people" that had absolutely nothing but still invited us to sleep at their homes, came upon foxholes still bounded by barbed wire with hand grenades hanging from the wires. Just incredible stuff.

Also, the diseases you'd see and sometimes catch were insane. However, malaria is not really as bad as it's made out to be. Both my housemate and I had malaria (falciparum - the deadly one you mentioned) only once during the 2 years we were there. And we were not taking any precautionary medicines (we blew that off after 3 months or so). As long as you hammer the malaria the moment you get the symptoms with the heavy duty chloroquine, etc. you'll be okay. It's a hell of a headache, a crazy fever, and some interesting "visions", but it passes if treated. And a nice thing about the falciparum is that once it's gone - it's gone. It doesn't stay in the liver and come back later in life.

Anyway, it's an adventure - it's not a vacation. But it is definitely one of the best adventures you'll ever have.
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Old 12-27-2009
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SD, what took you to the Solomans? Two years in that heat is a looooongggg time!
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Old 12-27-2009
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Peace Corps. Walked and/or biked everywhere we went. And it wasn't the heat as much as the earthquakes!

Oh yeah, Ozi, if you can - hit Mataniko Falls on your next trip. It's right outside of Honiara. It's a pretty good hike but it's insanely beautiful.
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