2 days in Honiara
Our position on 28th September 2012
09 25.6 south
159 57.2 east
Honiara port, capital of the Solomon Islands
We did an overnight motor from Tavanipupu. After waiting almost 2 weeks for the wind it still didn’t arrive and we were really short of everything so we had to leave. On our last but one day another boat arrived. After seeing only one other boat in the whole of September I was like Robinson Crusoe running round the deck calling ‘There’s a boat coming, there’s a boat coming’. They had come from Fiji and were on their way to the Philippines and stopped for a few days on a ‘yellow flag’ stopover but I still managed to extract their life story out of them!
We arrived in Honiara at first light and found to our surprise 4 other cruising boats there, one of them a catamaran from Jersey who were equally excited to see another British boat. There was a second catamaran, an Aussie boat that had seen better days and Tomboy, an American boat who we had heard on the Namba net several times. Tomboy were just heading out to Rodderick bay so we agreed to see them in a few days.
Our expectations of Honiara were low and they weren’t exceeded. We spent 2 days in and around the city but found it noisy, dirty and the rough sidewalks (you couldn’t call them pavements) covered in red betel nut spit. We traveled in little ‘jump on jump off’ minibuses for about 30p a ride, not one of them, without exception, would pass an MOT but the taxis didn’t look any better and were much more expensive. We had to pay our harbour dues to the customs and our immigration fee which amounted to about US$200! These third world countries are becoming aware that there are more and more yachts sailing around the world these days and they are cashing in on it. You can’t blame them; I wouldn’t mind paying it if it was getting to the people who need it but it isn’t. We managed to find a ‘supermarket’ which had most of the things we needed but Bill saw a huge cockroach walking across the floor and some of the pasta had weevils inside the packets, what I wouldn’t give for a Sainsburys!
The market, as always, was good, full of friendly smiling people chatting and calling to each other while selling home grown produce really cheaply. None of it would get past the ‘Tesco straight banana’ brigade but the odd shapes taste the same. The eggs are delicious, completely free range with bright orange yolks, no wishy washy battery eggs here. Bill made several trips to the fuel station with the jerry cans for diesel and petrol, he had our gas canister refilled and he even found a tube of mastic in a big hardware store. We found an internet cafe but were only able to check our emails, I’m sorry but no chance of downloading any pictures until we get to OZ. We discovered a little oasis called the Lime lounge (bright green, easy to find) which was run by an Aussie and sold western food and fattening cakes with really good coffee but best of all, it was air conditioned. It was quite expensive but full of white people so we joined them. We were told about a good wine shop which was also air conditioned so we took a while choosing some wine to replenish our stocks, and a butchers called Meatlovers which had good quality meat served in a clean environment, difficult to find here. We spent as little time as possible on shore because there were lots of strange looking people hanging around street corners, I think they were harmless but wouldn’t want to meet one of them in a dark alley. We left the dinghy in the safety of the Point Cruz yacht club, another little oasis that had the BBC world news beamed in on a satellite TV along with cold beer, they knew what yachties liked.
Honiara was very hot and humid so we were glad to leave and join Tomboy in Rodderick bay. I’ll write again soon