A new adventure was about to begin as i had a new crew position to take up in the Solomon Islands. I was about to join another catamaran which was currently touring the Solomons and about to travel to Papua New Guinea.
I arrived in Honiara, Solomon islands after a great 3 hour flight from Brisbane with Solomon Airlines. As soon as you boarded the plane you knew it was going to be a pleasant experience, mellow island music played over the stereo and the happy go lucky staff welcomed you with a smile. No waif like stewardesses here, larger women with big perms, bigger personalities and flowers in their hair showed you to your seat and carried out the safety instructions.
Arrival at Honira airport –
The Honiara ‘International’ airport –
The heat and humidity had increased a lot since Brisbane, another dry dusty town had been found. Hoards of beaten up mini buses blocked the roads and tried to grab the attention of all the local people standing by the roads side. Sadly Honiara town itself didn’t seem to have to much to offer for the tourist, nothing within easy walking distance anyway. There were some beaches a few kilometers away, some war memorials, waterfalls and light trekking but with only a day and a half to kill before my flight to Gizo I just hung around town and did some shopping for parts of the next boat I was to join.
I visited the Point Cruz Yacht Club for a couple of beers, based next to the waters edge I could see a couple of sailing boats moored but clearing not an active area for yachties.
I stayed at the King Solomon hotel which had an interesting little cable car which took you up to the three different levels of rooms built in the hillside. Run by an expat it mostly catered for business folk travelling in and out of Honiara, the room was basic but had a/c which nearly kept the room cool.
Time had come to leave Honiara and travel to Gizo in the western province. My next sailing trip would take me from the Solomons to Papua New Guinea including New Britain and New Ireland. The boat was waiting for me in Gizo so I had to get an internal flight, another flight with Solomon Airlines which I was looking forward too !!
The domestic terminal had clearly seen better days, pot holed roads lead up to the entrance and the local cats enjoyed the dustbin waste.
The toilets were locked, a problem when your drinking copious amounts of fluid due to the heat, but I sat down to enjoy the restaurant facilities nevertheless. Pie and coke it was, much to my delight the pie was warm and the coke was cold, what more do you really need ? I’m glad I got their early as the meat pies were clearly a favourite and sold like hot cakes.
Leaving Honiara –
The good thing about flying around the Solomons is that they fly at only about 6000ft giving you excellent views of the islands. Most of the Solomon Islands are very low level and are surrounded by reefs, this can clearly be seen from the air.
My flight made a quick stop at Munda, dropped some people off, picked up some more and then we were on our way again to Gizo. Despite the flight being less than 45 minutes in duration the girls still managed to serve refreshments, water and biscuits it was –
The landing strip (airport) at Gizo was in fact two islands that had been filled in and squashed together, Nusatupe was actually not at Gizo but a small ferry ride away by small boat.
Twin prop plane at Nusatupe –
Whilst waiting for the boat I bumped into a Scottish man who had been working in the Solomons for many years, when the ferry got to Gizo I met Jimmy my new skipper who was Irish, there should have been a joke in there somewhere – there was an Englishman, Irishman and a Scotsman………
I met Jimmy and was taken back to his boat which was anchored just outside Gizo harbour, no marina here !! Jimmy had an Admiral 38 catamaran which he purchased new in South Africa and then set sail heading west over 7 1/2 years ago.
Details of the Solomons to follow……….