They arrive shortly after we throw the anchor. The scout boat stands off, cautiously waiting for our cue. If we don’t notice them right away they start to sing or softly knock their paddles on the canoe to get our attention. We wave and ask “You got someting?” Our enquiry is met with bright smiles and whispers as they two girls in the dugout canoe tentatively paddle closer. Once they finally reach the boat the girl in the bow holds onto the toe rail and there are more whispers and giggles. This shy stalemate could last forever and so we ask “What you got?”
“Lemons!” they declare and they hold up a small plastic bag filled with limes, the words interchangeable here.
“Yes, we like. You want trade, you want money?”
“Lollies?” they respond.
They, like kids the world over, want candy. But unlike children from wealthy countries these kids likely don’t have access to toothbrushes and toothpaste and oral hygiene lessons. We’ve seen too many kids with outstretched hands and rotten teeth asking for lollies. We never give out candy, we don’t even eat it ourselves.
“Mefella no got lollies,” We don’t have candy, I tell them, “sugar tu mas, bad lo teeth.” Too much sugar, bad for your teeth.
We haven’t been moving much recently, haven’t budged for 17 days actually except when blown around on anchor in passing squalls. We’ve been hemmed in by a weather that is being kept over the Solomon’s by a couple cyclones that formed in the coral sea. Days and days and days of rain. It started off as showers but for the last few days it has been bucketing. Nothing to do but collect water and watch the mold grow.
We’ve been anchored inside the protection of the lagoon that boarders Laipari island, just west of Ghizo. This is our intended cyclone hole, in the unlikely event that the shit really hits the fan, but it also a nice place to stop. The island of Laipari, an old coconut plantation, is owned by a friendly Kiwi named Noel who has lived in the Solomon’s for decades. With an extensive workshop, slipway and dock he welcomes yachties, either for work or for pleasure.
Two weeks ago we had five yachts here, record breaking for us this season, and although a few have moved on, constrained by time more than weather, there is still a few people around to keep us company through the long grey, wet days. Continue reading
After over a week of heavy rain and sometimes very blustery winds the weather has finally broken. We are taking this sunny opportunity to escape from the dirty little town if Gizo and start exploring the surrounding islands in the western province of the Solomn Islands. Our first stop is to check out a cyclone hole just 12NM to the west of us at the island of Laipari. From there we’ll head east to check out the Marovo Lagoon, the Diamond Narrows and the town of Noro.
The charts are full of potential anchorages, but not many settlements…perfection in our books. Unfortunately the rains seem to have taken the winds with them so it might slow going.
SPOT is on.
The Solomon's are beautiful when it is not raining.