Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, is not somewhere we wanted to spend too much time. Other cruisers had warned us to be vigilant for both potential theft and for a sudden change in weather which can change the anchorage in a dangerous lee shore very suddenly.
It took a record six attempts to get the boat safely anchored and tied onto the breakwater with a sternline. We have plenty of experience with ‘Med-style mooring’ after our season in the Mediterranean but somehow our anchor kept dragging and wouldn’t set. When we finally got it in, Seathan and Tyrii rushed ashore in the dinghy to tie the sternline to the boulders on the breakwater. A sudden gust blew us of course and we swung the other way. I drove us back into the right place but managed to unset the anchor in the process, so we had to do the whole thing all over again. Seathan jumped back onboard and Tyrii stayed out in the dinghy, ready with the sternline. He was the star of the show and a great help. We’re very proud of our 11-year old who stays so calm and together under pressure.
Finally settled in, we locked the boat up and dinghied ashore. The town wasn’t too bad. A bit rough and dirty but the people were friendly and we found a great Japanese restaurant for lunch. It’s amazing how quickly the war is forgotten, American and Japanese expats happily co-existing. Guadalcanal was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific War.
The next day it was time to start working our way through the to-do list: provisioning, gas and diesel refills, immigration, customs, biosecurity, medical supplies, etc etc.
Late in the afternoon I had gone to the supermarket while Seathan and the boys headed back to the boat. A sudden change in weather meant they had to drop the sternline in the water (unable to retrieve it) and lift the anchor. A big fishing boat that was anchored next to us had started to drag and headed our way. Our buddies on Perry also had to make a quick dash for it and luckily there was no damage and everyone was safe. Rehua and Perry went to anchor around the corner in the other bay that offered some protection.
Meanwhile I arrived back in the yachtclub (where the dinghy dock is located) and the girls behind the bar rushed over to meet me: “Your husband is gone but he will come back to pick you up later.” Huh ? I noticed Rehua was gone and had no idea what had happened. A big swell crashed into the beach and the dinghy dock was no longer a tenable landing platform. I contacted Seathan by phone and he explained that Fieldtrip (who were still on a mooring in the bay) would pick me up and I would have to spend the night on their boat. I left all my shopping behind in the yachtclub to be picked up tomorrow and waited in the bar … A few hours (and a few glasses of wine) later, the swell had decreased a little and Mark came to pick me up. The jetty was still very wobbly with waves crashing over it. I jumped into their dinghy and we safely made it onto Fieldtrip.
The mooring had become untenable for Fieldtrip too, so they had to drop their lines and move to the other bay. Now that we were closer, Seathan could come to pick me up in the dinghy and I could sleep on Rehua after all. It felt good to be home and have the family reunited. Being stuck onshore was not much fun.
The weather calmed down and we had a decent night sleep and the next morning headed back to the main anchorage to continue with our chores. It was hard work and the heat didn’t make things easier. But we got everything done, before the Christmas holidays kick in. We don’t want to stay any longer than necessary in Honiara, so are heading to a nearby island group where we hope to find some nice quiet anchorages for the Christmas period.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us on Rehua 🎄⛵️🌴