Published: March 2nd 2009February 5th 2009
Malaita is the second biggest island in the Solomon Islands group. Its inhabitants are known as ambitious and striving in comparison to people from other islands and I must agree with that. This means that they are not too shy to ask a visitor for any favor (other islanders often are) but in some cases they exaggerate. Anyway, they are all very friendly and ready to help.
I wanted to visit east Malaita, the region which doesn’t see any tourists. “Fortunately”, I caught a ship called Catriona, which visits the villages there once in a week or two and brings the cargo and food packages from workers in Honiara to their relatives in villages. The journey took over 40 hrs instead of 24, because the seas were rough, the engine broke down in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night and the crew got drunk next day. So, enjoy! East Malaita
On the ship, I met a really nice guy Stewart and I spent a couple of pleasant days in his house in a village close to Olomburi harbour. We visited father Leonard, we were playing football with locals, went diving, fishing and kayaking
people on the wharf brought their packages to send them to their families in villages
in dugout canoes. Good fun. We ate very simple food, sweet potato with some vegetables and some canned beef that I brought from Honiara. But that’s what they eat daily - normally without meat.
Stewart found the most acceptable option to take a motorboat further north to Sinalangu harbour, known as a starting point to visit Kwaio people, who live in the surrounding mountains. This ethnic group lives in a forest, isolated from modern life, rejects any development and defends it even with violence. They still walk around naked, hunt with spears and praise spirits of their ancestors. Supposedly, it should be possible to visit them with a local guide, who would make a visitor familiar with local habits and taboos, guarantee his safety and make sure that a visitor pays a sufficient sum to the locals. “Fortunately” again, there was a meeting of chiefs of some Kwaio villages in Sinalangu harbour just a day after I arrived there. I tried to arrange a visit with them, but the price that they asked for was simply unserious: 90 eur, if I visited a village overnight. In the region, where a family often survives with 1 eur a day. So I
we were all in the same boat
stayed in Sinalangu harbour and did some canoeing in the mangroves and surrounding beaches. I was staying in Mothers union resthouse and they took good care of me, giving me much useful advice and offering me as tasty food as they were able to.
I joined teachers in a motorboat to Atori. From there, I caught a truck to Auki, the capital of Malaita. Auki and around
There is not much to do in Auki but nearby, there is very picturesque village Lillisiana.
Afterwards, I was lazing and relaxing at Serah’s in Langa Langa lagoon, where people live on artificial islands made of corals. After an island is built, they build a house on stilts on it. Langa Langa lagoon is famous for building ships and making shell money, the traditional currency still used as bride price and it can still be exchanged into cash all across Solomon Islands.
When I first tried to take a ship from Auki back to Honiara, the engine broke down in half an hour or so, so we returned back to Auki. Next try, we managed it :))
There are more photos below