We departed Kolombangara with a sense of relief of making it through the chaos but also a sense of uncertainty over what Chris and Nina would be doing from here out. We weren't sure of the stitch job by the nurse and if infection was on the cards. They had given Chris a bag full of antibiotics but it didn't leave anyone with an overwhelming sense of reassurance. So we got in yet another boat and headed back to Munda for a visit to the hospital and then with another bag of antibiotics and continuing uncertainty, a day of rest.
The guys didn't want to opt out of the holiday and return to Australia if it wasn't absolutely necessary so we played it by ear, Chris checking the wound and sending pictures to the travel insurance company periodically. After a day it looked as though it wasn't going to need amputation so he decided he was up to venturing out and we headed to the slightly macabre 'skull island' with a few others.
Skull Island itself is tiny and houses a skull shrine displaying moss covered skulls of warriors and their victims from the head hunting days. There are also two western graves on the island where the missionaries responsible for moving the skulls to the island are buried. The tour was very quick and the guides didn't have a great deal of knowledge on the history but when one is confronted by a collection of aging human remains, it is cause for thought regardless and we were all a bit quite afterwards.
While out, the guides also took the time to take us to the island of Parara where we were shown a traditional war canoe and given a little more history of the area. Interestingly this island had just been through its own civil war based on.. you may have guessed 'religion'. The end result among the house burning and violence was half the islands population moving to a nearby island Kohingo, so astonishingly now an entire section of houses sit abandoned, not adopted by the remaining inhabitants for some reason.
From there it was back to Munda for more rest and drinks before a day trying out fishing with no luck. Turned out to be a bit of a rip off really but long story short we did catch some mantis shrimp that are the latest exotic creature to grace my dinner plate.
Oh about this time I also turned thirty, Danielle had organized a cake and everything, darlin that she is and though heavy on the cocoa and perhaps decorated for a girl it was impressive to have happen in the middle of the pacific and I couldn't have hoped for a better setting to have the milestone.