Edit Blog Post
Published: August 23rd 2018
Guaranteed a shore day with Honiara having a port berth, we looked forward to seeing some military sites on some sort of tour. This cruise with PNG and Solomons being the shore destinations has meant less chances for us to do our own thing ashore with most destinations having little infrastructure such as taxis or buses to take us independently to where we wanted to go. Today was no exception. Honiara which means place of east wind is the capital of The Solomon Islands, population 80,000. Rich in WWII history with much of the major fighting between the Japanese and the USA and its allies occurring in this area.There was a lot set up on the wharf with stalls and maps and the advice from the information desk to seek a tour outside of the main wharf near the gate. We were approached by a young man and directed to a tent and it all looked schimko with brochures and buses etc. Most companies here and in PNG expressed the prices and took AUS$ rather than local money, which we always seem to have not enough of, as we thought we were clever in getting local money. So we
chose Guadalcanal battlefield and scenic tour company and picked the Eastern tour which included Bloody Ridge, Henderson Airport, US memorial garden, Japanese Peace Bell, Heroes Wall and USA War memorial. $80AUS per person. Similar tour with P&O is $116-. The "guide" and driver were a combination of dumb and dumber at times with them utterly unable to find Bloody Ridge, neither having been there before. We drove out of town for what seemed forever, asked multiple times for directions, drove down a goat track which frankly I am surprised we never got bogged in and eventually made it. Judi our guide gave us no commentary, or offered any explanation about anything. But we saw so much of Honiara, past multiple schools, markets, universities and housing and villages. Things looked dusty, this is the dry season and everything needs a lot of rain to wash away the dust. Most roads are rutted and potholed, rubbish just dumped everywhere, with streams and rivers choked with plastic. Distressingly there is a huge logging industry with beautiful old 100 year+ trees being cut down and exported leaving naked hill sides just ripe for mudslides. People still live in very basic dwellings, neat gardens producing
food for themselves and some sales, much unemployment, many children not attending school, the capital a mix of old, new and developing side by side. We managed to convince the tour people we wanted to see relics and set off for Vilu museum a bone jarring 30km journey along the beaches. And when we got there to be told it was an additional $20SD per head which is only $5AUS but not included in the price we already paid the tour people so we said no. Martin managed to read the map and locate a tank, and again by asking directions we managed to find a USA tank rusting away down a little overgrown lane. Pretty disappointing, yes we saw what we paid for but it could have been so much better and informative and professional. Back to the ship at 3pm
for much needed coffee and food, with the night ending in a hilarious revue show brought to us by the crew. Very well done, hilarious and a great way to end the night.
Tot: 1.958s; Tpl: 0.054s; cc: 12; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0427s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb