We left Gizo and headed to the nearby Vonavona lagoon, a lagoon made by the low lying islands and huge reefs running from them. I soon found out that the charts we had were very poor for this area as they rarely showed any of the reefs which can be huge and very shallow. Fortunately Jimmy had purchased a sailing guide which was slightly better but you still needed somebody standing on the bow looking out for any shallow areas. We stopped near a resort called Sanbis, always handy when you can moor somewhere and still have restaurant and bar facilities nearby !!
We snorkelled right outside the bar which overlooked the reef – We went for a walk from Sandis until we got to another resort called Fatboys. This also overlooked a fabulous reef with crystal clear water as far as the eye could see.
Local church on the island –
View from Fatboys bar –
Plenty of snorkelling to be done !!
This particular island may not look like much to the likes of me or you but to the crew of torpedo patrol boat PT-109 it was a life saver.
Their boat was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri when spotted, two of the American crew were killed by the impact but the rest were instructed to swim ashore by the boats captain a certain Lieutenant Kennedy. They found no water on the island so they set off again to a neighbouring island 4 kms away. It was from their they managed to send a message with the help of two locals, they told him how to inscribe some words onto a coconut shell and then they delivered it to his superiors. The remaining men were all rescued and Kennedy remembered the local men so much he invited them to his inauguration when he became president. Sadly when the men flew to America they spoke no English so the confused immigration officers sent them back from whence they came !! Should have taken some coconuts I guess……….
The island known locally as Kasolo island or Plum Pudding island, will forever more be known as Kennedy Island.
We returned back to Gizo to provision the boat and prepare for our trip to Papua New Guinea. Before we left the Solomons we called back into Liapari as Jimmy had already visited there and was keen to see how some new building works were progressing.
The narrow entrance through the reef, between the sticks please !!
The owner Noel had plans to build a new restaurant/bar building to encourage more yachties there, the anchorage outside in the lagoon was certainly a great place for shelter and very picturesque too. The three storey building couldn’t be built from the ground up as his cranes weren’t tall enough to put the top floor on. Not to be deterred he started building from the top down, the top floor having just been pulled up into place a couple of days before we arrived back.
Jimmy had already visited Noels boat yard and upon hearing that some of his workers and local villagers needed glasses started testing them and handed them out. Some were so thrilled that they kept them at home so they weren’t going to get damaged. The idea was to wear them at work so they wouldn’t overfill the engine oil !! We had 2/3 days at Liapari enjoying Noels and his wifes company before needing to move onto PNG. I hope to go back there one day and see the finished facilities as it sure has the right location for a cruisers yacht club !!