Date: Dec 15, 2016, 7.30am - Guadalcanal
Location: 09 50.2 S - 160 52.3 E
Conditions: 0-5kts NW, calm anchorage with sunny skies, and a bar of 1005
We finally made it to Guadalcanal. We've been here for five days now, and it is great. We are anchored off the southern tip of Marapa Island. We used SAS Planet to find this snug little spot. Prior to anchoring, I took the dinghy ashore to confirm with the chief it was OK to anchor. He said yes, but to make sure we favored the East side of the channel, as the West side and reef is taboo for women. Yep, women are not allowed to be on the reef to the west of our anchorage. It is an ancient burial site for their warriors, and customary for men only to be allowed on the reef. I asked the chief how many yachts anchor in this area, and he said no yacht has ever anchored here. YEAH! We LOVE to find those spots that are not in guidebooks, or cruising notes - and find our own way off the 'beaten path'. In general the Solomon Islands see few yachts every year compared to Fiji or Vanuatu...so it is easier to find an anchorage that no yacht has visited. This is our kind of exploring!
In short order we became fast friends with the village ashore. On our second day here, the local village kids picked flowers, and canoed over to our boat with the gift. They were SO excited to see other kids. The village consists of a family - all relatives that live in this spot. In total there is the chief, who is the father of the four 20 something year old kids that live there with their spouses and kids. In total six kids live in the village...so it is very small. There is a new church that Francis built a year ago - for his family - and the neighboring village - who worship twice a day for mass. Francis is a builder by trade and he has built some beautiful homes for his family. When we have internet we will post some pictures.
Guadalcanal has a lot of WWII history. It's been fun learning about the history of the island, both during WWII and the social unrest that occurred in early 2000. Sarah and I watched 'The Pacific' HBO miniseries, and I read the book Neptune's Inferno to better understand the naval war that took place in this area. It's been fascinating. We can't wait to dive some of the wrecks from WWII as we move farther north.
Our plans are to stay here until next week, get to Honiara for some provisioning, and then sail to the NW corner of the Florida Islands for Christmas. We'll see how that goes, as we have to wait for a weather window for each hop. We hate to motor, but find ourselves faced with the high probability of using the engines as we head farther north into the ligher winds. We waited and waited for our window to sail up here from the Three Sisters - and had a great sail the entire way. In general we have to wait for a low pressure system to spin the wind...but it can't be too big a low or it could turn into a cyclone.... :-)
Well, that is all for now. We will provide more updates as we get better connectivity. So far we have gone almost two months without internet....and that is a good thing for the most part.... :)