Showing posts from August, 2017

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…

Diving through the Wreckage

Tao Maru Japanese Ship 140 m Freighter sunk by US torpedoes 
I’ve just finished a SCUBA refresher course, and was feeling anxious and excited to get underwater again. After getting our internet fix in bustling Gizo, we anchored out by a little island near our friends on Perry. Tonight is Family Night, too, so it would be great to have a joint movie night with their family again, as has become the tradition since traveling with them. An added bonus is that Matt always cooks up some scrumptious dessert that vanishes within minutes of the movie’s beginning.
But first, before the family festivities, we wanted to get a dive in. Mark and Matt did a recon dive this morning while the mommas and kids were occupied with school, and Mark came back beaming.
“You’ve GOT to do that dive, Sarah. You just have to.”
Jen offered to let me use her XS BC, and it fit much better than Mark’s did. I was glad to have a snug fit. Michael and the rest of the Perry crew went out to a nearby beach to play, whil…

My Diving Class!

By Elizabeth
First day!  Today was my first day of the dive class. Mom came with me. We got our gear and dinghied to the dock. When we got to the shop, we were too early, so we read one of Belinda's fish books and did reviews on what we learned in the e-book. Soon she came and we started talking about what we would do. Belinda also had us act what she had explained. We had to be precise which was kind of hard because she is one of those loud, energetic people (like dad: going, going, going!). Mom and I took a quiz and got a 100%!

Once done with the basics, we moved on to the tanks! ! Belinda had us put the BC on and off 3 times! And after my third time, I kind of got used to it. Her helper carted the tanks of to the boat. After a short briefing on the dive computer, we FINALLY got on the boat!

When we got to the 'classroom', Belinda hopped into the shallow water to help. I then slipped in and she helped me put on my gear. Mom came next. We did regulator recovery, mask cle…

Megapode Bird Nesting - Arnavon Islands

Rudy and Lionel came zooming up to the stern in the longboat to pick us up for the afternoon’s adventure. Although the main goal of the center is to protect the turtle nesting beach, they also have started monitoring the nearby nesting areas for a few flocks of Megapodes.

After watching documentaries about these ground-slinging, nest-digging birds, I was anxious to see them for myself. The four of us hopped into the boat, and we were off!

Rudy’s experience in maneuvering the boat was evident right away as we barely felt the spray of the saltwater, even with the sea swell. Fifteen minutes later we came upon a tiny idyllic island and stepped ashore.

It was just a short walk into the shade of the bush, and then we saw a field of sandy soil bombarded with freshly-dugout holes, like a mine field. Even though we tiptoed quietly, the shy birds who were busy at work skittered away. I barely got a glimpse of their black feathers before they disappeared into the shadows.

I was left looking dow…

Arnavon Marine Conservatory

The kids and I have been challenging our creative writing skills lately.  We’ve been learning how to be detailed in our descriptions and tantalize the reader’s senses with our words.  Our amazing experience releasing newly hatched Green Sea Turtles provided a fantastic opportunity to write. 

Here’s my initial brainstorming…

Young Green Sea Turtle…

Sight: seeing nothing but the sea that awaits me, the waves I will climb, the dangers that loom, the glorious kiss of the tropical waters on my new skin

Smell: salty, ocean breeze

Feel: soft suede shell, light rubbery paddles propel me over the rough sand like oars, I scramble towards the rushing rhythm, scuttling over my litter-mates, the tissue-thin skin gathers at my neck as I stretch to see my destination - the sea. What does it hold for me? What will I find there? Do I dare? Determination, instinct, craving, yearning, desperate to answer the call, no looking back, I must go.

Sound: the insisting whisper of the ocean, waves beckoning me…