Sailing to Marau
Boys coming to give us coconut
Paddle board splashers
We sailed from Santa Cruz to Santa Ana, a distance of 240 miles. The trip was super pleasant, with 10 knots behind us. The island of Santa Ana is a good one for a solid walk ashore, we spent a couple of hours walking to the other side of the island and back, visiting a traditional kastom house which housed carvings that had been there for hundreds of years.
One of the main carvings we saw was of a half man, half shark. One of the legends of the Solomons tells the story of two brothers who fought to the death. The villagers took off after the older brother and he waded into a rock pool and was later seen with a sharks head and a man’s body, forever banished from the village as his punishment.
We anchored in 10m in mud just west of the wharf. It’s an amazing anchorage with shelter from pretty much all directions and absolutely no rolling. The reef pass is a nice easy one, breakers either side of the channel, but plenty of width.
Confed surrounded by Canoes in the Anchorage
Coordinates of anchorage 10 deg 39.453 S, 166 deg 03.517 E
- Surfing with the kids from the village, them on their homemade surfboards, bad ass. I wish we had some photos! But here’s a photo of some of the fellas we met up with ashore another day.
Our gang of tour guides
- Landing a huge Mahi mahi as we came in the passage
- Trading, trading and more trading, we have been short of nothing here. We gave half the mahi mahi to the village when we arrived which was well received and got us off to a good start with people. This is a super friendly place.
A typical veggie hall
- Meeting Joselwyn who became our local tour guide eager to show us ALL the sites of Kala bay. He’s a Chinese football player? Will have to google that one when we get back to civilisation.
- Spending the day fixing our kite gear in preparation for the Louisiades. Many intrigued onlookers.
- The anchorage – so calm!
- A walk around to black beach (about 4km from anchorage) where there’s a wide pool of a river opening onto the sea. A competitive stone skimming competition ensued with the local kids. Unfortunately they were vastly more skilled than us. We ended up watching them go head to head at a variety of games that they’ve clearly been playing since infancy. One involved a large group of boys throwing stones as high as they could at the same time. First stone in the water loses, last stone wins.
They’re all so at home in their surroundings, climbing up trees and jumping/somersaulting into the river
Shooting birds with bows and arrows
- Snurfelling – It’s a new sport that involves attempting to surf at low tide whilst checking water depths and fish life. A bit about the surf break – it’s a right hander on the edge of the entrance channel, easy paddle out, pretty shallow at low tide so you need to know what you’re doing. At high tide two wave patterns add together and it doesn’t break as cleanly. Apparently the best months are January – March when Joselwyn tells us it breaks like the photos he’s seen in magazines in Aus. Sorry no photos!
- Visiting the kindergarten.
With Doris the kindy teacher
Coconut birds made by the kids
Kala Bay turned into one of our favourites of the trip so far
Getting an early morning canoe ride
Mass beetle nuts
Migs and Andrew the unofficial chief of the village
The gang waving goodbye after their tour of Confederate
Typical House Kala Bay
We anchored in 13m in a sweet little spot on the northern side of Nendo—apparently the first boat to visit in five years.
Coordinates – 10 deg 40.363 S, 165 deg 52.053 E
The reef passage into the anchorage is best negotiated at low tide with direct sunlight so you can see the reef on both sides. This a great place to fill up with water as there’s a hose in the shallows which you can take your dingy up to. They’d love to get some more visitors!
- The voyage from Bottom Bay in Lata to Manyano with Titus and his family, as well as their entire house. (They were moving back to his wife’s Margarets village and thought Confederate would be a good moving van)
Helping Titus move house
- A nice tuna caught just outside the reef near the anchorage.
- A 4 mile walk through vivid green jungle to Margaret’s village. The track is really nice and you could walk all the way around the island if you wanted although it would take you about a week.
Laundry Solomons styles
- Kids paddling out to us and capsizing their dugout canoes to form a swimming platform.
- Using Confederate as a diving platform with some of the local kids.
Taking the kids out to Confederate
- Visiting the school where Margaret will be teaching kindy.
The school at Manyano
- The helpful tour guides that appeared whenever we wanted to go walking. Sarah, a local lady who joined me one day had minimal English. At one point she pulled at my hat and I thought I had something in my hair. I paused nervously waiting for her to drag out a massive spider or something similar. However it turned out she was merely inserting a small plant clipping that new visitors to an area are supposed to wear for protection.
Jungle walking with Sarah
- Frequent visits from the local chatterbox, Tusi, ending in us taking him out for his first day sailing experience.
Tusi and his gardening gang
- 12pm Crayfish delivery from Thomas and Florence.
- As an aside we have hardly had to buy anything so far in the Solomons. We’ve traded everything imaginable. Today it was couple of old magazines for a dozen sweet potato, bananas and papaya, and a local surf guide. Not bad. In Lata, a memory stick of movies we gave Charles earned us sweet potato, limes, oranges, lemon leaf (for tea), and lettuce. Exercise books have been a hit with the kids who bring us coconut, cucumber, and guava in exchange. Possibly our worst trade has been guitar strings for beans, but that guy was super nice.
Typical sailing canoe
Beetle nut chewing session at Margarets house