Cruising Solomon style

In Voyages on 28/04/2011 at 08:05

It took us three weeks of blood, sweat and tears to get the boat fixed and running again. But, we are on the move again. A short stop in Gizo ensured of us supplies for the next months or so and in Noro we took in enough fuel to motor through the Solomon and Coral Sea if we so please. For now however, we are happily cruising around the Solomon Islands for a bit.

Stuck on Liapari

Fixing the boat, waiting for parts and our shipment (which was massively delayed because someone in customs didn’t believe it was our stuff) and the heat, made us really, really irritated people. We had some not so fun weeks. We probably would have been spending our time cursing, screaming and crying, if it wasn’t for the amazing people we met while being stuck on Liapari. We had some nice dinners and cappuccinos with Harry, a 79 year old sailor from Germany who has been cruising for 12 years and is slowly making his way back home, and Steve, an Australian who is trying to sail carbon neutral to Japan (that means he only uses vegetable oil in his engine like used cooking oil he collects from restaurants or locally made coconut oil). With their help and the help of Noel –the owner of Liapari- we were able to get the engine running again, albeit at half power.

(Almost) canoeing

When we were in Tombe in January, we arranged a wooden canoe to be made for us by Sano (real life size). It was finished by now, so we returned here to pick it up and revisit the friends we made in the village. Sano made us a very good two person canoe and added two personalized peddles. The people here make it look so easy peddling around in their canoes, but for us so far it is quite a feat if we can just stay seated in it. Problem is we are probably going to be flipping over a lot while practicing, which in itself is not so bad if it wasn’t for the possibility of meeting a crocodile while in the water. So we have been looking for a crocodile-free spot in the Solomons but haven’t found one yet. Until we do, canoe practice is off.

We did some diving on the way and practiced with Rolfs new underwater camera (birthday gift from our parents, thanks again). Not there yet, but here are our first tries.

Arnavon Islands

Sailing through beautiful Marovo lagoon again (just look at the Google-earth images around 08.30S 158.00E and you’ll be as impressed as we are), we have made our way to the Arnavon Islands. These islands are a marine reserve run by three local communities. There’s no fishing our killing of other marine life allowed her. And as there is a turtle nesting ground along the beaches of these islands, the turtle-nests are protected and surveyed. Six conservation officers live on the island, in shifts of one month. Last night we were allowed to come along with them. They walk along the shore every night looking for turtles, and when they find them they ring and register them.  Every morning they go and check for nests, register them and make a protective cover for the eggs. We saw a lot of registered nests last night, but no turtles. We’ll try again tonight, and the men told us we might even see some turtle hatchlings coming out of the nests. We’ll keep you posted!

Somehow here in the Pacific the rule seems to be the remoter the island, the better the internet connection… This is us updating the website right now >>>

Update: We saw some big turtles while diving, which was very cool. And this afternoon the turtle hatchlings were finally ready to come out of their eggs and walk to the sea. There where 169 little turtles crawling out of the nest en starting on their first swim.

We enjoyed the Arnavons so much we ended up staying more then a week, instead of the planned three days. This gave Rolf a change to practice his dive instructor skills, making conservation officers Dickson Motui and Linald Madada Advanced Open Water Divers. As they both have years and years of experience diving around the Arnavons in the course of protecting the reefs there, they were probably Rolf fastest students yet.

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