Timbara Village

One of our absolute favorite spots was in Morovo Lagoon near a village called Mbili (pronounced Billy).  In fact, we couldn’t stop going back there each time we had the chance, and by the time our Solomons time was up, we had returned three times, all the visits adding up to over a month’s stay.  The village itself consists of the children and grandchildren of Chief Luten, a short, spunky man with kind eyes and a great sense of humor.  He always made it a point to come greet us when we came ashore, and was truly excited that our family had come to visit his.

Because we came back repeatedly and stayed for a while, the kids had time to overcome the initial shyness and make some memorable friends.   Eventually, the connections that they made with the children caused them to be rushing to get school done so that they could go back ashore to play.  Every afternoon, they would engage in some new
game or activity with the kids.  Michael slid around the ground on his palm sled or played ‘r…

Vaater Taxi

“Velcome to dee Vaater Taxi. Vhere vould you like to go, Madame?”
Michael, oars primed and ready to go, was my chauffeur for our sunset tour. He said he was from France, but his accent sounded a bit more Transylvanian…
I called out countries as he started rowing.
“Okay, you vant to have a baguette? A crepe? Vhere vill ve go next?”
“Um... Argentina.”
“Yes, yes. Vonderful choice, Madame. Argentina it is.” His oars hovered just above the surface of the water as he figured out how to push one and pull the other in order to spin us around and head for the southern hemisphere.
“Ve are on our vay. Ve vill have empanadas and see glaciers and penguins!”
We continued our role play as he guided me to Fiji and New Zealand.
“Isn’t it crazy that you have actually BEEN to most of these places already? Do you have any idea how lucky you are? Think of all the people you know from around the world! And the foods you’ve tried! It’s amazing!”
He shrugged, not sure how to respond and oblivious to the fact…

Honiara Heaven

The winds changed, and then everything changed.  Oftentimes we joke about how much of our lives are dictated by the wind.  We go when the weather says go and hide out in a protected spot until bad weather passes.  During cyclone season we run north or south to steer clear of the cyclone belt, and we wait until the weather gurus give the ‘all clear’.  Anchorages that our friends tell us not to miss turn out to be miserable just because the wind direction is different than it was for them.  Our lives are weather dependent, whether we like it or not.

These truths were made more evident recently when we had to return to Honiara to retrieve a package we’d ordered.  If you read my previous blog post entitled “Honiara Hell”, you can imagine how thrilled I was to return (ha!).  All those memories came flooding back and plagued me as we motored back to the nation’s capitol.  But, the winds had changed.

What had been a swelly, choppy mess of an anchorage was now calm and still.  Sure, boat …

Iri Village Visit

We finally made it. Ever since December in Honiara, we’ve been carrying some items for a man who lives in the Iri Village. Missionaries who we were introduced to via friends on SV Sweet Dreams had given us some things to deliver, even though we weren’t sure when we’d make it up here. Well, I’m sure they didn’t imagine it would take us 5 months!!

After delivering the package, we sat onshore surrounded by the very friendly community. One boy I noticed had a large wound on the back of his heel. I asked him what had happened. “Eelfish bite me.” Yikes. I wasn’t quite sure what an “eelfish” was - a blue-eyed river eel or one more like a moray eel that we’d seen poking out of the coral reefs - but based on the hunk of skin it had taken on either side of this kid’s Achilles tendon, it was a whopper. The flies were swarming all over the open gash, and I shuddered to think of the infection that could result.

At first, I looked away squeamishly and tried to convince myself that surely this boy …
Part One: The dive It wasn’t NYC, there were no trains or subways zooming through dark tunnels or passengers bustling about, but there were huge crowds coming and going and plenty of activity. From our descent, the action began - two territorial lion fish strutted out from their rock crevice domain. Their poisonous fins in full display like the bright, bold feathers in a tribal chief’s headdress, a sign for all of their status and power. I kept my distance, but could not contain my admiration.

Sea fans splayed out from the coral wall in colors of pink, purple, and silver. Soft coral in tangerine and lavender somehow managed to look fluffy and prickly simultaneously. A feathery sea star defied the colorful trends, proudly waving his arms of silvery-white, with black rectangles, like bold geometric hyphens, punctuating the seam of each limb. With every turn of my gaze, the colors and textures would rearrange. I was floating in a liquid kaleidoscope.

Mark signaled for me to look out int…