Blogs from Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Oceania

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Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 23rd 2012

Now fully recovered from a serious illness during my overseas holidays at the end of 2011, I eased back into the world of exploration with a short and necessary break to the Solomon Islands. It was with a greater deal of excitement than normal, for this marked not only my return to travelling, but also affirmed that my experience with scrub typhus had not dissuaded me from “exotic” destinations. The drive from the International Airport to the capital of Honiara saw me pass palm trees that towered over tired buildings and people languidly strolled or lazily congregated into groups; all images that confirmed my preconceptions of a Pacific Island. A popular pursuit is evidenced by the bright red grin worn by many, for chewing betel nut is a seemingly addictive habit that sees a large portion ... read more
US War Memorial -  Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Bonegi Beach - Kinugawa Maru
The lasting legacy of war - near Ilu River, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal October 14th 2010

I have had the luck of pretty much being able choose my jobs at sea. Last year I had the pleasure of conducing a beaked whale survey in the tropical waters of the coral sea. This year I would be sailing from Cairns to the Solomon Islands. The trip started as most trips to sea do; rough and with about half the crew spending most of the trip lying down, praying that the seas would calm and they can again resume some sort of normal life. The rough seas started a few hours out of Cairns and didn’t stop until we rounded Guadalcanal and headed into Honiara many days later. While in the Sol we had the great opportunity of spending a considerable amount of time in the Russell Islands, a beautiful part of the world. ... read more
when in Rome
sink me if you can
jumping ship

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal February 26th 2010

In 2003, the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) arrived in Honiara. Foreign troops and police quickly stopped the violence, restored security and disarmed the militias. RAMSI's nation-building efforts, however, have been less effective. Australia is now trapped in the Solomon Islands for the long haul. A new strategy is required and I propose a more decentralised government. For all its troubles, the Solomon Islands receives much foreign aid and assistance. Like many developing nations, the Government has become aid-dependent. 2008 estimated GDP for the Solomon Islands was US$642 million (nominal GDP). url=http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/islanders-look-for-ramsi-exit-strategy/story-e6frg7e6-1225804532935Australian aid was A$223 mil... read more
Marovo Lagoon

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 25th 2009

On Monday 24th August, Carl,Michael - the two men and I - left the Wyuna and decided to check into a hotel to get ourselves sorted out, cleaned and laundry cleaned etc. We all shared the one room. It is amazing how after spending 3 weeks together on a boat - how intimate one gets. You may be wondering who shared with who??? I will keep you guessing!! It was Sooooo…. Nice to get a bath and use as much water as we wanted with out hearing the captain say don’t waste water!!! I got my laundry cleaned so I had clean stuff to put in my suitcase. The other thing I really enjoyed was not having to cook a meal!!!It was great. I have to say I will always miss the rocking of the boat. ... read more
Sue in the Galley on Wyuna

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 22nd 2009

Yesterday, we have arrived back in Honiara and the adventure here in the Solomon Islands is coming to a close. We had 10 glorious days diving and swimming in the Russell islands (group in the Solomon’s Islands), Salvo Island and in Mboli passage between big and small ngaela Island. Most days, there was an afternoon dive followed by a night dive. Some of the dives were spectacular and other were totally different to what I had ever experienced but all with the aim of finding shells. My most impressive dive was a small cave dive which was on a sea-wall. The wall was breathtaking with loads of fish, saw a turtle and a few sharks. There were loads of different types and colors of coral, sea anemones, fans etc. I wish I could capture it on ... read more

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Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 15th 2009

Again? Couldn't we have stayed in Malaita? No? Well, okay... as long as I get to learn some more tech stuff and have fun afterwards. Let's do it! In the military, days seem to begin earlier and earlier, and I find myself unable to sleep past 6:45 or 7:00 am. I think, again, back to my Papa and how he could never sleep past about 5:30 or 6:00. Am I doomed to repeat that? Is it from being in the Navy? My poor husband is in for some early mornings, though he can sleep anywhere, anytime. I definitely envy him that. So, most days, I have my alarm set for 0700 to get to breakfast at 0730. With the volunteering projects, I usually have to be on the gangway by 0700. Well worth my time and ... read more
My first IV catheter. Mission Complete.
Dog attack
MREs are the yummiest!

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 10th 2009

So what is Guadalcanal like? Well, it's a bit difficult to explain, but I began to have some appreciation for it. Anchoring out, I stayed on the ship for the first couple of days, but after meeting some people and getting out of the main area, it was actually pretty nice. There's loads of history and even if the locals don't give a super warm greeting at first, it got much nicer as the days passed and meeting the RAMSI folks certainly was worthwhile. I really enjoyed their company and their graciousness as they took us around to some interesting spots. You can see a couple of photos here of local "flora and fauna" (yes, that includes beer). :) ... read more
Our First View of Honiara
The Fishing God
Lime Lounge

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 9th 2009

We have spent the past 5days in Honiara, not my favorite place in the world waiting for the rest of the guest to arrive - which they did today Sunday - we now have 6 onboard. The plan was to leave as soon as they arrived however, the dingy had a mishap yesterday and we have to get the outboard fixed before we head out. Fortunately, Brian’s father-in-law owns the Yamaha dealership and we will get preferential treatment tomorrow. So we are hoping to be off Monday afternoon. This weekend, Honiara was guest to the US navy and South Pacific Australia and New Zealand navy. They have been remembering the victory of Guadalcanal by the US in 1942 - during the Second World War. They had a reception at the Point Cruz yacht Club where the ... read more

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 7th 2009

The Solomon Islands have a very rich history that has intertwined with the United States and many other westernized countries. From its beginnings (again, from a Western viewpoint) as a land full of savages and cannibals, to headhunters, to holding the legend of King Solomon’s mines. Some people here still believe that the sharks are their ancestors! I read my Lonely Planet guide and was shocked at how many things could happen in these little islands. Thinking of Guadalcanal Day and actually being here for the day itself, it makes me think about my grandfather and his days in the Navy. These are places where his generation took a stand during WWII, made a difference and gave the islands back to its people from the Japanese. So many ships were attacked on the coast of ... read more
By the Dawn's Early Light
Sea Fan
Purple Clownfish

Oceania » Solomon Islands » Guadalcanal August 6th 2009

On Tuesday morning I walked with the children to school. What an adventure and again another insight to their culture. We started our walk to school about 6.20am as school at 7.30am. Madu called me at 6.15 to leave for school - we headed out over a well worn path. To set the scene - it is light but the sun is not up yet, three children 8, 9, 10, yrs head out on their own- no parental supervision. On our way there were a few streams which we crossed by walking on a 6” plank or a long log. To the kids it was hop skip and a jump but when I was confronted with it I hesitated and very gingerly crossed the stream - once I actually walked in the stream rather than on ... read more




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