Happy new year from the Solomons!

In Crew, Voyages on 11/01/2011 at 03:07

After spending several weeks in Tuvalu (more on our stay there on another day…), we decided to look for some more adventurous travelling. Instead of going to Kiribati, we thought of spending the rest of the cyclone season in the Solomon Islands. However, this would be a 1200 miles long passage with a not-so-reliable engine due to bad fuel from Tahiti and in the middle of the cyclone season. This meant looking at lots of rain, unsteady winds and potentially rough seas. Suffice to say, we were not really looking forward to doing this by ourselves…

On Tuvalu we met two stray aussies, Tony and Caitlyn. Tony is an auditor for the government and Caitlyn was working as a volunteer for a local NGO. This couple was dreaming of sailing around on the pacific ocean themselves, but they lacked any experience at sea. Therefore they asked us if they could come along and we were very happy to take them. It turned out to be a easy, difficult, calm, rough, sunny and rainy passage. Yes, really. We had pretty much everything from the calmest seas we ever had on the pacific to the roughest with very high short waves, from blazing hot days with sunshine and blue skies to neverending thunderstorms and the worst rainfall ever! Even though we were with the four of us, the last couple of days went by without any sleep whatsoever and after we made our first landfall in the southeast tip of Malaita, we ran the generator all night with the airconditioning and all woke up after a full 12 hours of sleep.

As soon as we came out we were approached by many canoes with curious local islanders. They just came back from the jungle with fresh fruits and vegetables that they were happy to share with us. In return we shared some liquor and milk powder with them so we all were happy with the encounter. We were also for the first time confronted with a somewhat ehh… well, nasty habit. Almost all the locals are chewing something that is called “Betel nut”. This nut has a similar use as tobacco and gives a reddish look around the mouth. It looks very weird and people are spitting everywhere with the red residue. Anyway, when first seeing this, the first resemblance is with Dracula.

After the trading experience, we set off again towards Guadacanal. We planned on anchoring just on the other side of the passage, but due to the counter current and an increase in windspeed, we were forced to continue on to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. This meant another overnight trip with only the engine. The winds are westerlies around here and this is the first time in the last 2 years that we had to go against the wind. Ah well, can’t complain too much about this.

Tony and Caitlyn have managed to enjoy this rather unstable trip pretty well. Tony was the designated grease monkey on board and Caitlyn was happy to spend as much time as she could in the cockpit. I’m sure they would be welcomed with open arms by Poseidon and Aeolus one day with their own yacht.

We’ll be bringing much more stories about the passage and our adventures in the Solomon Islands in the next few weeks after we find some better availability for internet access. But for now we wish you all a very happy new year and lots of sunshine!

  1. He ouwe reuzen, wat een fijne posts man! Ook een prachtig nieuw jaar met de allerbeste wensen! Hoop jullie snel weer eens te zien!

    Heel veel liefs uit Kenia
    Jacco, Carien en Catootje

  2. He lieve mensen!!! Wat een mooie verhalen man! Wel jammer dat jullie die cyclonen afwachten, dat had jullie in mum van tijd naar Kenia kunnen brengen, alwaar we jullie hartelijk hadden kunnen bedanken voor de prachtige pareltjes voor Catootje! En de postzegel van Tovalu natuurlijk! Dank dank!
    Heel veel liefs Cato, Jacco en Carien

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