Never-never land

Benito, the frenchie

29 October 2010 | Noro, Solomon Islands

Hi! This is Frenchy writing from paradise again. Well, somewhere in the Salomon at least, in a small port called Noro. But What happened to Bubbles last week?

Well, after leaving Vangunu through the color full lagoon, Alex and I were wondering: “Well, we’ve got some green and red markers there, but is this the french (keep red marker on left) or US (keep red markers on right) system?” BANG! we hit the reef. BANG! we are stuck on the reef. So captain jumps in the dinghy and after a quick look around says: “fallow me, FULL SPEED”. we have not much light left and cap saw storm approaching. I’m a bit scared when I read 2 or even 1 feet on the depth counter but he’s the cap’, it’s his boat. So we get between these markers, in deep water again, and I waiting there, surrounded by reefs while Alex is looking for place to anchor. I think “ok, this was Salomon’s system: markers are here to take you on the reef, NOT AROUND”. Five minutes later, we are anchored, storm hits the boat, the keel is intact.

We have no wind at all the next day. We are motoring threw a river like passage and quickly stopped in Saghe before anchoring. Because I’ve found some lobster’s skull there (I made my first necklesses out of it) we go on an unsuccesfull night lobster hunt in a moon shiny water.

Then we got out of the lagoon the next morning. We split a huge rainbow with hidden treasures on our way to that big island ahead. We are wondering, while looking at them, how these locals can fish in their canoe in big waves; even in the lagoon I can’t get the right balance not to sink it…and we find an opening in the jungly coast. The almost hobbit like village is resting quietly under the big conic mountain. There lies 2 connected peaceful inner bays. “Yop’ full of croc’ sometimes” they say… we later found that two children were eaten by crocs last year. And there we saw a US ww2 plane spread apart in the jungle. 9 marines died there. Both captain and lieutenant were from Indiana!

And we sailed the sea again. To a small village called Munda.There we picked up Tree, Alex’s Alaska friend.Now we are 3 on board. Now we have a girl on board. WELLCOME Tree!

Then we saw Storman Norman’s 80 feet boat 2 miles away. He is Alex’s friend, a crazy Ausie-Venezuelan single hander. To have a beer together, we need to motor 2 hours. Indeed, here we are in a almost uncharted reefs and islands labyrinth…So I’m way high in the mast, leading us threw this maze. Though it is closer from the burning sun up there, this is probably the spot to be. Amazing view, I can see Big dolphins, turtles and sharks passing by, whereas they don’t…

There we had the chance to go on Skull Island. It’s a tiny spot where you have local chiefs’ and and best head hunters’ skulls. About 30 of them. With different way to rest forever. Some look like they are smily, some angry, some ready to fight, some relaxed. Great but weird spot.

Next day we got to a deep water bay on the north coast, after sailing in a very narrow river like passage. There we are tied up a ww2 wreck. A Japanese freighter lies under Bubbles. This is my first snorkel on a wreck and I tell you what, this is Amaaaaaazing. I felt like being in French most glorious cartoon, Tintin. Back to childhood. Even if I had a spear gun in my hands…

We explored the next bay the next day, we all feel like kids, but we find massive japanese anti-aircraft gun in our hands with jungle growing all round it. But maybe after sailing in paradise we are now getting in the never never land. Yeah, I was like flying over that wreck, like a pirate in the mast, like a time traveler with these massive guns in my hands. And going up the mangrove river with the dinghy,

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