RAIDERS HOTEL - TULAGI ISLAND Solomon Islands


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Oceania » Solomon Islands » Honiara
November 23rd 2017
Published: August 24th 2018
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ONE OF THE WRECKSONE OF THE WRECKSONE OF THE WRECKS

The airplanes and ships become "artificial reefs," and habitats for sponges, sea fans and myriad fish. This is one of the younger lion fish who call this wreck home.
THE RAIDERS HOTEL

While I was reviving at the Lime Lounge I came to a decision.

When I first arrived I made reservations for the Raider Hotel. It was reasonable and I liked the name because the Raider’s football team is THE football team in my family. My late husband grew up next to the Raider’s home field in Oakland and spent a lot of time there as a boy. My three daughters are huge fans. Then I found out it was on Tulagi Island. I had no idea how to get there so I cancelled my stay.

Now the Raider Hotel looked like the best choice for me until I could get on the liveaboard. I took a taxi back to the hotel for my luggage and then asked to go to the yacht club, thinking I could get a boat to Tulagi, but instead the taxi driver stopped at a beach full of trash and crowded with people, and boats pulled up on the sand. He spoke with one man who said he could take me to Tulagi, but like the jeepnies, local buses in the Philippines, the Skipper would not leave until the boat was
ANOTHER RESIDENT OF THE WRECKANOTHER RESIDENT OF THE WRECKANOTHER RESIDENT OF THE WRECK

The fish are pretty used to divers and make good photo subjects. It is hard to get any really good photos of the wrecks themselves because of their size and the marine growth.
full. I had to pay extra because I had so much luggage and I was a source of diversion since I was the only Caucasian on the beach.

The ride was unreal. Rough water. No bench. I was seated on the leaky floor of the boat and had to jam my feet against a two by four to remain upright. There were ten people in the boat and it took almost an hour and a half to get to Tulagi. I had to talk to myself and embrace the experience…it turned out to be an exhilarating ride despite the discomfort. When I arrived, the owner had not been expecting me, but he agreed to rent me a room. It was more expensive than on Hotels.com but it was clean, really beautiful and restful and I was tired of the high prices and dirt and noise of Honiara.

One of the local men in the boat had pressed me pretty hard to go to his homestay instead of Raiders. I explained that I had already booked my stay. When we got to the Raider Hotel the man left the boat and went to Bob, the owner, and wanted a
SPONGESPONGESPONGE

On the wreck. I wanted to show some of the diversity of sea life. The sponges and corals are so colorful and unique.
six pack of beer on credit. Bob said, “You know better than that. It’s cash.” Then the man got belligerent and demanded to know who owned the sailing vessel alongside the resort. Bob said it was none of his business, and it went downhill from there. It looked like it might become a nasty brawl and a couple sitting at a nearby table pulled me down into a chair with them. The man finally left swearing revenge. Bob later explained that there were conflicting tribal laws about land ownership and this man had a chip on his shoulder.

The dining room/common room was an open air deck overlooking the water. The view was constantly changing and mesmerizing. The people already gathered for dinner were a polyglot of adventurers. Margaret suggested I grab a shower before dinner…did I smell? I stopped and talked to Troy, a visitor from Denver. The other couple was from Missoula. Somehow I didn’t get her name but the woman was a healer and a fire fighter. A tiny, unusual woman who loved horses and was a shaman, I thought she might be from Buenos Aires, but I heard her say she was half Mexican. She
SPONGE SPONGE SPONGE

This sponge is on a reef.
told a story about trying betel nuts in the market place. It was a funny experience (I would never do it because it stains the teeth so badly), and I liked her from a distance in spite of myself.

My room was plain, dinner was good, but expensive. I resolved to live on two meals a day and lots of sweet tea during my stay. I was so relieved to be out of the streets of Honiara.

Friday some heavy drinkers arrived by boat. I felt out of place and wished I had a “crony” to visit with. Instead I retired to my room and my Kindle.

Saturday I went diving with Bob, the owner, on a wonderful reef with two tunnels; a truncated sea mount. I took lots of photos. The water was like a sauna…the only dive where I was actually too warm. After a three hour break at the resort Eve, Bob’s wife, joined us for the second dive. As I started down, Bob tapped me on the shoulder and indicated I should return to the surface. We had lost the mooring line and needed to move the boat and re-enter over the wreck
FINGER CORALFINGER CORALFINGER CORAL

That is what I call it because it looks like hands reaching up.
below. It was a war plane and was so deep we only had a twenty minute bottom time.

The next day my dives were aborted because Bob had an emergency working dive. He and a friend were replacing a buoy. I used the day to catch up on my blogging. I walked to the Telecom office and chatted with Joy, who works there. She asked for my blog and I was really flattered.

The first dive on my final day of diving was really relaxed and easy, and so much fun. Eve joined us again for the second dive. It was so nice to not have to duck other divers’ fins. Back at the resort Bob called the dive boat, the Taka, and arranged for a pick-up in Honiara. “By the way, Bob, why is the resort called Raiders?” He said, “To honor the elite unit of the US Marine Corps who first landed on Tulagi during World War II - The Raiders.”

The next day was transition day for me. I left my big bag containing my dive gear at the head of the stairs because I needed help getting it down, jumped on the boat
LION FISHLION FISHLION FISH

There is a really old lion fish on this wreck.
and forgot the bag. We stopped for gas at a nearby beach and then, thank goodness, I remembered the bag. It took about a fifteen minute to return for my bag, how embarrassing.

After a pleasant three hours at…you guessed it… the Lime Lounge, I got a lift to the Japanese restaurant where the dive boat passengers were assembling. I was pleasantly surprised to discover five of the divers were older ladies like me, hard travelers, strong and capable. We boarded the boat, were assigned berths and dive stations, ate and settled in for a restorative night’s sleep.


Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


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REEF NURSERYREEF NURSERY
REEF NURSERY

There are so many schools of tiny fish.
NEMONEMO
NEMO

I can't resist taking these photos, of which I have hundreds. They are a bit challenging because the fish can be shy, hiding in their anemone, or aggressive, charging the photographer, and nipping them if they are fast enough.
CLAMCLAM
CLAM

These are always fun to photograph because they are very sensitive to light and water vibrations and will snap shut instantly if you move too fast.
SEA STARSEA STAR
SEA STAR

I like this sea star because he appears to have regenerated five arms. If there is just a bit of the center it can grow new "arms."
RAIDERS HOTELRAIDERS HOTEL
RAIDERS HOTEL

Raiders hotel: it has a big deck and restaurant .
ANEMONE FISHANEMONE FISH
ANEMONE FISH

This rich color attracted me. I think he looks a bit disgruntled.


24th August 2018

Enjoying the Solomons
Your photos are outstanding. I"m always sad when the beaches are trashy. We've got to start taking care of our world. You are lucky they went back for your bag. Enjoy the diving photos.
1st September 2018

RAIDERS HOTEL - TULAGI ISLAND
Thanks for the kind words. I love taking photos but sometimes I become too critical.
24th August 2018
REEF NURSERY

Solomon Islands
Amazing reef.
1st September 2018
REEF NURSERY

RAIDERS HOTEL - TULAGI ISLAND
I am so glad you commented on this photo. I like it a lot, but to some it looks just ordinary.

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