We were picked up from the eco-lodge by the 60 ft catamaran, SV Chemistry, to join Gavin, Luciana, and their dog, Luna, sailing up the Western Province of the Solomons for the next week. Here are some maps to give you an idea of where we were:
The map above shows the South Pacific, and identifies a lot of the places we will have been on this trip (Fiji, Solomons, PNG, Australia and Vanuatu). Below is a map of the Solomons, so you can see the location of the Western Province, and specifically New Georgia Islands, where we sailed. We went up the west coast of the largest island (where the words "Western province" are noted) and ended at Gizo.
Houses are usually very simple and elevated off the ground (to avoid the changing tides), and villages varied in size from just a few houses, to those including a school or clinic, like the one above.
We visited one village, to see if we could buy some bananas, and soon collected a following of local children. We felt like Pied Pipers, or the leaders of our own parade.
At another island, we received some curious visitors:
Canoes are hand hewn, and very common means of transport. For the three weeks we spent in the Islands, we rarely saw roads, let alone cars. When we were to be arriving initially, we had emailed our hostess at the eco lodge, asking if someone were picking us up at the airport, or if we needed to find a cab. This was the airstrip we landed on:
Nope. No taxi. We were met at the plane and escorted a short distance to the "tinny" (open john boat) for the 70 minute ride to the lodge.
But I digress... back to sailing.
When anchored off of another island, these men from their Seventh Day Adventist church, approached the boat and asked if they could pray with us and sing some songs. Their harmonies were beautiful.
Next stop - PNG.