As darkness draws near here in Honiara, I am conscious as I write this by hand, that I will soon need to get up and light some candles. No, it's not because of one of the frequent power cuts here but rather my own absent mindedness in topping up my cash power, awell I'll get by for a night, again forced to put together a write by coincidence.
A small island outcrop off the better known Island Kolombangara, was our next destination out West. Omna Nusatuva is another world and we were fortunate enough to have the place to ourselves and the local family that runs the place. A few days here was paradise with the area being declared a marine park the snorkeling was amazing. Even the arrival jetty was teeming with a myriad relatively tame and brightly coloured fish. Giant clams had been collected and were being grown near the jetty to though these have a few more years to go before the reach the mammoth sizes of those at Nugu.
The guys here also farm coral which is an interesting exercise and a sustainable way to make an income, good all round I guess, unfortunately the notorious invasive 'Crown of Thorns' starfish has arrived in solomon's waters here and on our guided snorkels, Eric the village chief was slightly preoccupied spearing the more conspicuous ones on the reef. All in all though the area is in great health with amazing biodiversity.
We had time here to get to know our hosts and exchange some culture too. The girls spent a day cooking using the local ingredients including seaweed, gnali nut and slippery cabbage using the local stone oven or 'motu' and I took the chance to show the guys how to make a vertical hydroponics system using bamboo and coconut husk.
The trip was capped off on the final day with the arrival of some carvers arriving by dugout canoe to sell some of their work, which here in the Solomons is conducted very respectfully in the main none of the tourist hard sell of other countries. Sure you feel an obligation but really the works are amazing and the with effort to transport them from another island by canoe the price is nothing. I now have an ebony carving around my neck loosely symbolizing a dolphin tooth, pretty special really. To round out the final day a troop of around forty kids and their families arrived to play their Melanesian pipes and sing for us, where else in the world such a thing would occur I don't know. Though the bamboo pipes are now replaced by contemporary P.V.C the sound is great and combined with the choir is again something unique to the area and no doubt hearing any down the line will bring memories of this place flooding back.