After a few disappointing days we found Solomon’s Paradise in Tetepare and managed to more than enjoy our stay in this beautiful country!
- Day 294 –Tuesday 22nd of October 2019 : Solomon Islands
- Day 295 – Wednesday 23rd of October 2019 : Gizo
- Day 296 – Thursday 24th of October 2019 : Island n°4
- Day 297 – Friday 25th of October 2019 : Snorkeling
After a great breakfast in a “French” pastry shop (it was too good !!!), a short time at the airport of Port Villa and two hours flight, here we are in a new country: the Solomon Islands!
We arrive, it takes an hour to clear customs. We had to pick us up but nobody comes. People are more worried about us and do everything to help us. We take a local SIM card (no internet at the moment because it’s more than 25 euros for 3GB!) And we call Janet, our host of the day. The guy came at the time of landing without telling us that we had to go through customs … it still suggests good on the meaning of tourism in Melanesia …
No problem, we take a taxi. Quentin notices that people have red mouths. He asks the driver who tells us that they bite a fruit with tobacco: the “betel nut”. It reminds us of Burma where the soil was red because of the spitting of people … it’s the same here! Half an hour later, after a hot break in the taxi and traffic jams, we arrive at Janet and we are greeted by her niece, Veva. We will be staying in a house on stilts with everything we need. Janet tells us that downtown is only 20 minutes walk we will try it. We rest a little and then we leave. On the road we meet many people who greet us with a big smile. People here have a beautiful black skin color ebony, as in parts of Africa. They have, for the most part, darker skin than Vanuatu. We see lots of small stands of “Betel nuts”.
We arrive in the city … what a horror! The world, the traffic, the dirt! There are plenty of convenience stores run by the Chinese here too. We decide to go to the tourist office to take information. A very nice man gives us papers on excursions on the island but he advises us to rent a car to save money. Nothing makes us want more than that! I ask him if it’s true that there are crocodiles here … confirmed, he tells us to be careful! So we will not do anything crazy here! There are crocodiles even in the sea!
We leave a little disappointed, we think we should try to change our tickets to leave earlier Solomon and spend a day or two more on Fiji. When we arrive at the Fly Salomon agencies (we crashed we leave with Fiji airways …) and Fiji airways, we notice that people are very soft here too! We leave disgusted because the two companies have only one flight per week that comes from the island … so we will be stuck three days here at the end of the trip. We will take the internet to pass the time! We try to buy something to cook but there is nothing in the mini-markets! it’s crazy! everything looks bad! we decide to have a coffee somewhere and again, disappointment: all the cafes and restaurants close to … hang in there … 16h! Cool, we will not do culinary foolishness of the coup … On the road we meet an Australian (I think she was Australian because she was as white as an Englishman and had an accent that looked like) with a big bag of vegetables! I call him and ask him where does this gold come from? She tells us about a big market where we are going! Indeed, there is a very big market itself. There are plenty of fruits and veggies and fish that basks in the sun and receives small jets of water at times … there are also shells and crabs without their feet! I’m so happy because they have plenty of pineapple! finally ! we buy some stuff and then we go back to Janet. It is really too hot and humid but at least it does not rain! When we return we redo our bags so we do not take everything with us for three weeks and then we will not do anything special. I will be so tired that I will go to bed around 20:30 … crazy evening! Quentin will fall asleep on episodes of “Game of thrones”.
This morning we leave on Gizo. After searching Australian blogs not too many days, we found places to go during these three weeks (we had a hard time making an itinerary!). Our first stop will be Gizo Island in the “Western Province” as they call it. In fact our whole itinerary will be in this corner of the archipelago.
We leave by taxi for the airport. It is small but much bigger than Vanuatu on the small islands! We do not understand too much the steps, we had to get a paper with our reservation, then wait for an eternity to check in, then after waiting another eternity to go to boarding room but we went too early and had to come out again to enter again, in short, still chaos. A big truck arrived with lots of people. Five minutes later some entered the airport with a casket. It was quite special to see that. The family was mourning around, the women sitting next to them, laying their heads on them. At the time of boarding, it seemed that the mother was going to bury her son because she was crying and greeting other people in tears. In short, a boarding not very happy.
We will sleep half on the plane until we arrive near Gizo. The islands around are beautiful. Looks like private islands with lagoons.
The pilot announces the landing … I spot the track! She is on a small island! The airport is an island! We’ll land safe and sound, thinking that the boarding lounge is not bad! It’s so hot here! We do not really understand how we should organize but fortunately a nice girl sees us in galley and tells us to follow. She is the manager of a hotel other than ours but it is through her that we will have to go to take the taxi boat that will take us to Gizo. The sea is transparent, it’s super pretty. We arrive on Gizo, we are happy, it looks nice. In any case it’s better than Honiara! We did not expect that at all; it’s really simple, we will only see four tourists in all we will cross twice so the downtown is tiny.
Our hotel is not bad. The girl at the reception very kind. We discover our room with private bathroom. We learn that there is a kitchen where we can cook, perfect! and that mamas night sell local food, we’ll go this evening! We put our stuff and then we go for a ride to do some shopping. On the road we see a cafe with a view of the sea so we’ll have a drink. Quentin will take his first beer in can of the whole trip … no surprise, it is not good! After this short break we will go shopping; here too there are plenty of mini markets that sell nothing very good; on the other hand there is a market! We will buy fruits and vegetables then we will come home to cook and eat.
Quentin will take a big nap while I do some blogging. We will also estimate our expenses here … I think it will unfortunately be worse than anything! fortunately we can cook here and in two or three other places. The local food costs less than 5 euros for two so we will do as much as we can!
In the evening we try to get information on things to do here but we do not get satisfaction; we will see tomorrow ! There is a storm tonight, suddenly when the rain stops we will go see what the mamas sell. We will be tempted, at our peril, by shells and fish, and a vegetable that looks like potatoes. Small madamas sell food on three small stands, which locals come to buy. I think we will be the only tourists of the evening. We go back to eat all this at the hotel where we will see that we will not be the only ones to have been too lazy to cook tonight! After that we will have a big sleep after watching an episode of Sherlock (yes I know them by heart, yes I’ve seen them ten times, but it’s too good!).
We had to get up early this morning to spend the day on a small island not far from Gizo but it was not the awakening that woke us up but our lovely neighbors who laughed like idiots, super strong, and who started to put music to 7 am … you doubt that I went out to tell them to close their … in short, it was not used much. We take our breakfast and then inform the woman of the reception that we are ready to go to the island number 4. The people of Gizo did not know how to call their small islands around the shot they gave them numbers. We are picked up on “the port”; it’s a small motorboat that will be well fucked!
We arrive, the island is cute, it is a resort run by a rich Australian (normal here), Marge. We are told where to snorkel and the chef comes to offer octopus for this afternoon! Very good ! We get ready and we go into the water. The corals are super colotrés, there are plenty of fish, some of which we have never seen before. After five minutes I see a shark! I scream for Quentin to come back with me! I’m too afraid ! I rush to tell myself that the thing will feel my fear and run (yeah I’m freaking). Quentin gets fed up and comes with me but not as fast as I would have liked. I go back, I give him the gopro and I wait. Quentin leaves quietly. Marge arrives and tells me there are some here … cool. She goes in the water, I take my courage with both hands and I go too. I look at fish and corals. Quentin arrives right when I spot a seahorse! Very cool ! There is also a strange balloon fish, which we had never seen before. We continue the tour for a little while then the hunger will bring us to the surface. The table is already set. We settle down. The waitress brings us a very nice plate, filled with good things in it! Grilled octopus! It’s too good ! We will not regret being here! It takes a lot of time to finish our plates, it’s bigger than what we usually eat, but we will not leave anything! We return to swim on the other side of the island after the meal. The coral reef is very rich. The cold currents give me too cold, so I go back wait Quentin on the pontoon. When he’s finished we go back to the other side. Two minutes after my launch I see a shark so I will not go back into the water. Quentin will spend an hour swimming and then we will return to Gizo. The day at the resort was very nice. The evening will be quieter. After the meal we will go for a big sleep.
Not knowing what to do and going to the beach being more expensive than spending the day on “Imagination Island”, we decide to go back there for the day. The weather is nice, it’s super nice but it’s super hot! The day will be very nice. Quentin will leave with beautiful sunburns in the back.
On our return we will go to the market then we will dine quietly making some skype calls, the last before three weeks.
- Day 298 – Saturday 26th of October 2019 : Kolombangaran
- Day 299 – Sunday 27th of October 2019 : Big Mistake
- Day 300 – Monday 28th of October 2019 : Another nice day
- Day 301 –Tuesday 29th of October 2019 : Ringgi
- Day 302 – Wednesday 30th of October 2019 : Imbu Rano
- Day 303 – Thursday 31st of October 2019 : Spiders
Today we change the island, we go to Kolombangaran, an island where we hope to go hiking. But before that, we decide to spend the day at the resort “Fatboys”; this place is a nest of rich Australians on vacation. In other words, the day will be ample. We are picked up at the pier. As expected, there are rich Australians going up. They are happy to tell us their job but o. do not care. Quentin has already put himself in “mode off”. The trip will be short, about ten minutes. The island looks nice. The bungalows look really cool, on stilts … We get very good, the people at the resort are very nice. We change and then we go into the water. It is super clear but it’s downright worse than on the other island! We will still see nice fish and we will find nemos and pink fish ready to load us, especially roses and gray … they are quite aggressive little ones! We will spend the day in the water to enjoy the sun that beats way too hard and we burn every centimeter of skin. In the middle of the afternoon, Venti, our driver comes to get us by boat with his brother. He’s very nice. It takes us past Kennedy Island so we can take pictures. We are lucky because where we go the summits are uncovered and we see why this island is also called the sleeping woman. Venti takes us around several bays boat is great! The island looks beautiful, wild, green, what we like! It is completely different from Gizo from the sea. We enjoy the ride and then we arrive on Hambere, where we will stay for three nights. The resort is on stilts and we are greeted by Nadi, the wife of Venti who puts us on necklaces and frangipani flowers. It smells too good! We discuss a little, Nadi shows us where are the sanitary and our room. It’s simple but there is everything you need, the cold shower and the jump from us annoys more, we are used to it. Nadi and Venti always apologize for receiving us in simple accommodation and using local products. It makes us smile and we tell them fifty times that this is what we came looking for here! The water in the bay is green; I ask them if there are crocodiles here … yes! Good, no bathing! They make us laugh by saying that they are afraid of men and we can go swimming … mouais … we will not try the devil! They leave us for a while then Venti comes back to see if we want to go see the village with him and see what we are going to do in the next few days. He tells us that we can go to the top of the volcano and see the crater but we will have to make a night camping … perfect! After having agreed, we go with him to visit the village. There are about sixty people living here. We will pass into a kind of forest with huge trees and coconut trees with a reddish trunk. It is superb ! We hear birds everywhere! There are some that are endemic here and it attracts many experts from around the world. We go to see the school. The village is a little dead because we are Saturday and three quarters of the people are Adventists so it’s Saturday that they pray and stay together. We walk with Venti who tells us a lot of things, we see the remains of submarine bombs placed on display and surrounded by flowers. There are many remnants of the Second World War here. When we return Nadi has already prepared dinner! It must be 18h or not far. Venti offers us to go for a boat ride in the area before dark and because we may be too tired on our way back. We gladly accept! The tour is nice and it looks a lot like the Amazon! It feels like a few months back to cross the river with Fernando, James and Clement. We take advantage of the landscape and when we return we are greeted by Nadi and the nephews and nieces of Venti. Nadi has prepared too much to eat! They stay with us while we dine and talk together. They are really super nice, we learn a lot about their life here. I ask them if they have coconut crab and the answer is yes! So awesome ! Nadi tells me that if tonight the young come back with full she will make for breakfast! It would be really good! She takes us out of the pineapple of her garden too, so I jump on the opportunity to tell her not to papaya because we do not like it but she can use us pineapple to all meals ! We laugh well, we feel that they are very happy to receive people. When we are finished, they leave us and we prepare our bag for the next two days and then we go to bed.
Wake up early because this morning we leave for two days to reach the summit of a volcano, Mount Rano. This morning we have coconut crab, sweet potato fries and some kinds of donuts for breakfast! Coconut crab is delicious! We loop our bag, Venti takes it to put the tent and mattress. We learn that he will not come with us but that it will be his brother-in-law, Roland, accompanied by the husband of his niece, Xilam (I do not remember his name) and a teenager, Trevis, who will come with we. One will be guide and the other carriers. The weather is nice this morning and the mountains are discovered, as long as it lasts! We’re leaving, it’s almost 7am. We cross the village, people greet us. We cross the forest where people grow their vegetables. We hear lots of bird sounds, some really strange. We will be able to see a bird that we had never seen before. The path will be flat and dry for a good hour until we reach the river. We will cross it barefoot then there, the hike will begin to become more difficult. We plunge into the forest; it is really too hot and humid. It goes up, it goes down, we sweat. At one point we arrive at an area that has been raked by a company that recovers the wood; the path has become mud several centimeters (see meters) high. The path goes up, one has to walk in the mud trying to find dry areas. We galley, we sweat, we rain more! An hour later we arrive at an intersection with workers who have pity on us and make us climb in their pick up to bring us higher, at the beginning of the forest. That makes us gain an hour of walking! Roland is just repeating that we are going faster than expected; it’s pretty good, so we can climb to the crater this afternoon if the weather permits. When we return to the forest it is flat at the beginning and then it starts to go up and down for a good hour before we reach the river where we will take a break. We will take the opportunity to rinse a little, drink and fill our bottles. Guys serve us our lunch … before 11am … Nadi put coconut crab and pineapple in the garden! Very good ! It’s the best snack I’ve had in my life I think! We enjoy, and it gives us strength for the future. After the break we take the road again. The weather is covering, it is even heavier, more humid, too hot! And after thirty minutes, it’s raining cats! How awful ! We were soaked with sweat and now we are so wet because of the rain. The climb is difficult because of the humidity and fatigue. It’s exhausting. We have shoes full of water; I have a sore foot because the woman who washed my socks in Vanuatu was careful not to tell me that she had burned them in the dryer, suddenly every piece of molten plastic gets into my feet and me bleeding … An hour and a half after the departure of the river we arrive at the camp … mouais … they did not sprain! We regret the hard camps of Vanuatu! There is a poor tarpaulin and a bench that is soaked by the rain. We lie down under the tarpaulin with Quentin then we go up the tent which is much too big for both of us, full of holes and too big to go under the tarpaulin! We do not understand why we have such a large tent while the three boys will sleep three in a single tent … They are offered to change but Roland refuses. Tamps. Good, the weather is awful, the summit covered. We are bored and it is only one o’clock in the afternoon … The hours pass by, we listen to music, we read, we discuss and we wonder why we wanted to do that while we hate to do hiking in the rainforest! Why we go camping while relaxing wild camping without our equipment! Why do we waste our money to surely see nothing, not appreciate and be bored? Our clothes are so wet with perspiration and it’s so wet outside that nothing is drying! and I’ll give you the details about the smells … We look in front of us, empty-eyed, thinking we’d like to be in Melbourne. We can not take any more to travel in damp places; it’s so unpleasant. To do even more harm we think of everything we would like to do in Melbourne, shopping, eat ice cream, Thai food, pizzas, hang out on the terrace, be dry! In short, it hurts for a moment then Roland comes to come serve us our dinner! It is 15:45 !!! We hallucinate! In addition it is not good: rice, canned tuna and rehydrated Chinese noodles (they sell only that here and people love it, we have at all meals). Well, we eat our dinner at tea time. We go inside the tent. We lie down and we know it, we’ll have a dirty night! The ground is full of bump, the rain starts to fall in seals above our heads and water infiltrates in the tent! The hours go by, I can not sleep. We turn in all directions. The frogs make a hellish noise outside, they look like they’re in our tent. We try to sleep somehow but it’s too difficult for me. Quentin will arrive a minimum.
After a terrible night in this tent, we wake up a little before six in the morning to go to the top of the volcano. The sky looks clear. We are disgusted to put our clothes all wet and stinky. I try to hike with small socks, my feet having had some inconvenience yesterday.
We are ready and I go to the tent of others by throwing them a “Good morning” to make them understand that we must go! The sooner we will go faster we will return to Hambere. We will leave with Roland only this morning, the others being lazy. He tells us that we have an hour of walking except that his walking time will be finally two hours because the path is horrible, steep, difficult because of trees in all directions, roots, foam and especially because the path is so little used that Roland must cut branches and trees to do it again! It is super hot and humid, and lack of luck we fool the rain at times. When we arrive at the top … it’s stuffy! internally we hate … By cons the landscape is very strange. The trees are covered with moss and it is orange. It’s pretty ; but hey, I would have preferred to see her under the sun, even if she never sees her! We turn back, it rains louder and louder. This time we did not even bother to take our coats because we know we will end the day, soaked. We go down again, Quentin breaks the fig every five minutes; he is too tired. In addition we have not swallowed anything since yesterday afternoon. We’re fed up with it. When we arrive we learn that others are sleeping! Oh, con! Roland wakes them up and ten minutes later he serves us breakfast (rice, dehydrated pasta and canned tuna … yum … it’s ten o’clock in the morning). We took three and a half hours to go back and forth! We still have at least 5 hours to go down on Hambere! We are fed up. Quentin even surprised me on the return saying he wanted to go to a luxury hotel! Sadly impossible for Solomon … We prepare our bags and fold the tent and I will tell others that we are ready. Luckily they come to pick us up five minutes later, then we start the descent. We make the opposite way with rain intermittently. We slip, we fall, we sink branches, I bleed even more because of my shoes without socks, we groan inside (Quentin externally too, it is exhausted!). We get back in the mud except that because of the rain there are not too many dry areas! And of course, I’m crazy about it! I’m fed up, Quentin too. We advance mechanically. When we arrive at the last river, we are so dirty that we go in the water with our shoes. We do not care, anyway we will not keep them they are full of holes. Quentin makes me understand that the hikes in the forest is over for him … it was our program of the next three days … I have too much pain to the feet so I’ll see what they look like when arriving. We arrive at 17h in the village after having shit for 8h! We are soaked, completely emptied and dead. Nadi greets us with a big smile telling us that the meal is ready … it is cold so she had to prepare it a while ago. She tells us we have been super fast. We discuss. I tell him to see if Venti wants to bring us on Ringgi tomorrow but if he wishes he must be able to reach Tanya to prevent it. We eat. Then we take out all our things. Quentin runs to the shower, it’s the most stinky, I think even the fire would not want to burn his shirt so it stinks! When he comes back happy to be clean and dry I go scouring myself. Venti comes back to tell us that he can bring us tomorrow morning, so we shift the time of departure. We talk to them, we pay them and we go to bed.
We get up early. I go to see the clothes, everything is wet and wet … so I go out all. Nadi arrives two hours earlier than expected with breakfast which allows us to eat it hot (for once!). We discuss a little, we eat and then we spread out all our things outside to dry them. Our hiking gear stinks of death.
There are children who go by boat to school. I photograph them and greet them. The children here are less friendly than in Vanuatu; I do not think they are used to seeing tourists.
Around 10am we leave by boat to Ringgi. Venti makes us go through bays on the way as soon as he sees that I unsheath my camera. There is a little sun but we see that it will not last the day. We arrive but our car is not there yet. Venti will call Tanya and then half an hour later a pick-up will take us to the village. We greet Venti and Nadi then we go find Tanya in the village. The village is even smaller than the other. It’s depressing. We meet Tanya and her colleague in their small office. They are really nice; it’s nice to be able to put a face on his name. She asks us what we want to do eventually as we have changed several times. Quentin wants to stay on Ringgi today rather than ride on Imbu Rano as we had planned. I do not care. So tonight we will stay there and instead of one night on Imbu Rano we will do two even if we do nothing there. I do not say anything, I let Quentin choose what makes him happy as he never really decides … but two nights on Imbu Rano is twice as expensive actually;)
We go with Tanya to. Our guest house It’s simple but there is everything. We will ask the lady if she can. We do laundry by apologizing for the terrible odors she’s going to face.
We go looking for food on Imbu Rano at the supermarket … ah the mini markets of the Pacific … they sell us a dream! But I think the worst are by far those of Solomon! People only sell fruits and vegetables at market once or twice a week, which is impossible to find in mini-markets. The products are behind the counter, so you have to ask what you want. They sell almost nothing but rice and Chinese noodles dehydrated to all perfumes, that they have plenty! We buy two or three things and then Quentin wants to have a snack for the grannies in the street … I do not take anything, the food is in plastic boxes all day in a heat to die … Even if what we We do not have to be fresh, either, but I still do not want to see what I’m going to eat. We return to the guest house; we meet a guy who asks us if we come from Australia! Are you crazy ? We tell him we are French and proud to be! He leaves us with sculptures he makes; well, we told him to come and bring them to the guest house around 18h, that will make the time pass! We see another mini-supermarket; we decide to go there. He has two men smiling inside, happy to see French people. They have bread! Yahoo! We take some. They also have zero coke in the fridge! So awesome ! We pay, we go out, we open the cans, and there, yuck! he is disgusted this coke! They put too much dose of aspartame and sweeteners it’s filthy! We drink it anyway because it is too hot and we sweat like oxen. When we arrive we are happy to find the room is super cold thanks to the air conditioning. Quentin will read and sleep while I watch the details of our payments on Hambere … we were ripped off 100 euros for the room! Balls ! We thought them nice! There I am angry! If it had been a nice hotel again! but there it was basic with cold shower seal! I’ll see if I can get a refund. We will not do anything more of our aprèm. It’s too hot and humid outside. I’m tired of being here. I can not wait to see Tetepare but basically I say that we pay too much for not much here and that I would prefer to put my money elsewhere!
We will spend the day doing nothing special. Tanya comes for us to pay, I extend the 500 euros for three days (no excursion!). I tell him that we were gutted at Hambere. She takes my receipt and tells me that she will contact the lodge to see if we can get our 100 euros … it would be cool!
After looking at pictures and playing scrabble, a guy we met on the road shows us his sculptures. He has a nice head. He carved a crocodile that is really pretty but unfortunately it is too big for him to take it. So he leaves a little sad. Our host has prepared us to eat, and again we will eat almost cold. It is difficult to understand why people have so much trouble coming to tell us that the meal is ready, even if it’s super early! In short, we eat and it’s very good. It’s fish. If ever we pick the guitar we leave the Solomon on the field cons!
There are four men who have arrived and are going to squat the two rooms next door. We hope they will not be very noisy (like those in Gizo …). We will watch, to finish the evening, an episode of Sherlock before going to bed.
Our host has prepared a hearty breakfast this morning but fat too … we eat and our driver arrives pick up. We change places! The next two days we will stay at Imbu Rano; it’s a jungle lodge thirty minutes from Ringgi.
We go to see Tanya to give them under meals to the lady of the guest house that we have not seen before leaving and then we start. The driver is nice. I finally get to know which are the trees that companies cut and export abroad to sell them! In the Solomon Islands there are many precious woods such as Tek, Acacia and Eucalyptus.
We arrive at the lodge in the middle of nowhere, there is a guard who is there H24 with a direct radio making with Tanya on Ringgi. The lodge is really nice, wooden, on stilts, clean, welcoming and the view is beautiful! We have a wonderful view of the jungle and the volcano (when it is discovered). We are really happy, especially since we will be the only tourists! We put our stuff, we discover the place with the guard and then enjoy the view. We watch the clouds cover and discover the volcano. We watch the rain fall by showers from time to time. We read, we play scrabble, we sleep, we drink plenty of tea and coffee and we observe the birds who want to show themselves. We spend time like this. We take the opportunity to do our laundry because the girl of the guest house in Ringgi just rinsed and not rubbed! We rest and we are happy because it is a beautiful place. I’m still a little disgusted to spend so much money here. But, we’ll stay and do what we planned and if we do not like a place we will not do any activity.
The day passes, then in the evening we decide to go for a walk to try to see frogs. We always see the same big but we hear a lot of different crossings. Our lights do not light enough to see much so we go back to the lodge. While preparing to eat I see a huge insect that flies and makes a dirty noise, and that, suddenly, makes me flipper! I show it to Quentin and showing him I realize he has eyes that light up at night! It’s a big moth with luminescent eyes! Quentin will try somehow to take a picture and then we will sit down to eat. The meal will be so disgusting that I will end up eating crackers (rice with canned mackerel in tomato sauce …). After dinner we watched an episode of Sherlock.
For the first time in a while we do not wake up in the morning. Quentin will get up pretty soon anyway but I will stay up to sleep almost until nine … what a fat morning crazy! We have lunch with what we have brought: bread with nothing because we are fed up with peanut butter and chemical jams, and decaying bananas.
We will spend the rest of the morning watching if we see birds, drink tea and coffee, read etc. Around noon we will go for a walk. There is a river nearby and we would like to go without a guide. We warn David, the new guardian of the day. He really does not speak English well and he seems to be flipping to death to let us go alone. We try to tell him that we do not go far, we do not want a guide, but we do not understand anything he says. In short, we come to leave alone. We take a small path that sinks into the jungle. It makes a “heat of whores”! Too hot and too wet! We sweat! Every five meters you see a weird spider. We spend almost ten minutes to photograph them (not easy they are too small). They are really strange and they are a little flipper! They are red, green, with shapes too weird! We go down the path then we arrive at the famous river which is not very interesting in the end. We go up the whole slope twisted-naked so we sweat. When David sees us he is happy. It is said to him that tonight we go back to look for the frogs, we will propose him to come with us. I found papers in a room with the different types of Solomon frogs and the island. There are thirteen types of frogs here that everyone would dream to see someday in their life so much they have been so cool! They have leaf-like bodies and colors that allow them to blend in the jungle without being disturbed by predators! It will be our mission tonight!
After lunch we will spend our time waddling and trying to take pictures of birds. Quentin will show the pictures we took this morning in the jungle to David.
In the evening we decide to go get the frogs. We follow a path in the jungle next to the house. We will hear them but without seeing them, they will be well hidden! Quentin gives up and goes to eat but I would like to continue. I go where I wanted to go from the beginning. I listen to the croaking and after five minutes, jackpot! I see a tiny frog! I scream for Quentin to come back quickly! He is happy and then leaves again. I continue, I go to the lodge of David who is with the same guy who was there yesterday but we do not understand the first name. I ask them for a better lamp than mine then I’m looking for. Five minutes later I come across a huge spider! I try to avoid putting my head in the canvas … I’m croaking that are not far, I listen, I watch and there, too cool! a snake ! I tell the two guards that I saw a snake, they are happy and come to see with torches to light it. I hurry to call Quentin who reapplies five minutes later all content. We take pictures. Quentin leaves then we continue to look for frogs with David and his boyfriend. They go far away. David sees one that I think is the one that has been imported and we see everywhere but in doubt I take a picture anyway. We’re still looking and then I go back to see Quentin. I look at my photos then I see a difference between the frog of David and the one we see everywhere, two different species, too well! I motivate Quentin to take another turn, we see the other two continue to look far. I find a little frog (I’m too efficient tonight!) Then David calls us! We reapplied thinking he saw a little similar to ours but not at all! He found one too great that we thought we would never see! She is too beautiful, she is brown and black and really looks like a leaf with a kind of pike above the eyes and nose. We will spend a moment to look at it and take pictures then the other goalkeeper will arrive with a little yellow frog! What party ! We will spend too much time with then we will return to our lodge to look at the photos. We are super happy with the day. We put away a little and after finishing our last episode we go to bed.
This morning we go to another island. We wake up before waking up. We prepare our things and we have breakfast. We are preparing really slowly. The guard comes to me to tell me that the pick up will arrive. Yesterday David asked us ten times what time we wanted to leave and he had the pick up an hour earlier … in short, we are not really surprised in the end. Before he arrives we will try to make a picture of the big spider yesterday. The guardian brings us a scorpion! I had never seen one! very cool ! The pick up comes a little bit later and there is Tanya. She is all smiling as usual. She tells us that we will unfortunately not be able to make refund our 100 euros and that it is sorry and that it is not correct on the part of Venti. I have the ball in my stomach but hey, let’s move on, we can not do anything more! Fortunately it was nice here!
We leave, we talk with Tanya in the pick up, we pick up her husband and we all go to the pier. The boat has not arrived yet and it is raining ropes. We suspect our affairs to be soaked. Luckily when the boat arrives it stopped raining. We get in, Tanya’s husband is coming too. We are given tarpaulins to cover in case of rain, and of course it rains! The rain whips us on the face. It’s almost painful! Quentin does not see anything with his glasses and I can not even open my eyes in full. When the rain is calm we can admire the landscape. The captain asked us where we wanted to go. He was told where he was the friendliest! So it has lengthened the journey but it has allowed us to see the lagoon with lots of mangrove where luck we have not seen the crocodiles. We saw lots of small islands, resorts, villages etc. It was nice.
An hour later we arrive at the lodge on Munda, city on the largest island of the “Western province”. We will sleep in a nice shared house with a couple for the moment. The girl is super nice and lets us choose our room. It is horribly hot here and very heavy. We put our things, we get vegetables and pineapple at the market then we go back to lunch in the house. After lunch we will go for a walk in town, right now there is the biggest fishing festival in the area and the “lagoon festival”. We also want to meet Jenno, our contact for Tetepare. We go to the only bank on the island to withdraw money and we are told that the ATM does not work … it’s embarrassing … the manager tells us that it will be fixed today without fail! Well, we cross our fingers and we will iron later. We are going to inquire at a resort to do this why we came here, a sure “Skull Island” excursion. It is an island with ancient cannibals I believe and full of skulls. The girl at the front desk tells us that the people who had to go around did not want to come to work today and maybe they’ll be here tomorrow … okay … well …
We manage to cross Jenno! She recognizes us … two whites in the city … We are surprised because Jenno is a woman and in addition she is very clear skin, but it is a local! She is nice ; she gives us the papers to check it out and she is told that the ATM is not working. She calls the bank (yes there are people who have unlikely numbers). She tells us that it works now. As it’s raining, we’ll wait and we’ll give the money to his colleague tomorrow. Next to where we are there is the “lagoon festival”. Jenno tells us that there is a music competition; people will play on big instruments that look like pan flutes. In fact people are tapping big bamboos with coconut. Since she has to go to the fishing festival to help, we thank her and say goodbye. The rain has calmed down so we go to the bank. There is the queue at the ATM … we are waiting in line. We meet Jenno! So we decide to pay immediately, it avoids us to walk with 1000 euros in the pocket … We do our transaction in the bank. We have no proof of anything. I spotted the surveillance cameras in case we should complain if she ripped us off … the girl who sees the pain everywhere …
The rain is super strong. I say to Quentin that we are going to invest in an umbrella, so we do not need to take our coats that will be soaked and that will take ten years to dry and that go more, keep us too hot. We buy our umbrella and we go back to the festival. All the people are on the sides, nobody dares to go in front of the stage. Let’s go. People will imitate us. The groups arrive, it’s pretty interesting. There are a lot of old people playing guitar, singing and tapping on bamboo. It’s really long and they are badly organized so we decide to leave before the end; it’s pretty redundant. We go home where we will not do anything crazy, movie, meal, movie dodo.
Late morning for us. Yesterday we decided not to go on “skull island” because much too expensive for surely not much; skulls we have full basement of Paris so little interest for us! We have lunch and we sympathize with the couple we met yesterday, Germans around the world too. They are very nice. We’ll talk for a long time before they go for a walk.
After lunch we decide to go to the museum. Solomon Island has many remnants of the Second World War.
There is nobody in the streets! We wonder if it’s not Sunday … yes, we do not know the days …
We still go to the “bakery”; luckily she is open, but she does not have what we want. We take this opportunity to ask him the day, Saturday, November 2. Okay, well, they are not party-goers the weekend here! We go to the bank, she always refuses our card … we had to withdraw too much yesterday.
We go to see where is the museum but we do not understand the drawing of the map of the coup we give up. We will see if we can have wifi at “Agnès Gateway”. But we have five minutes left. We meet the Germans who have abandoned the visit of the museum because they have not found it.
So, we come back. By the way we find chocolate spread! Back at the house Quentin has a mega snack: toast, chocolate and pineapple. I resist, I ate ice cream … We play scrabble and watch movies until late evening and then sleep.
- Day 306 – Sunday 3rd of November 2019 : Tetepare
- Day 307 – Monday 4th of November 2019 : Snorkeling
- Day 308 – Tuesday 5th of November 2019 : Dolphins & Turtles
- Day 309 – Wednesday 6th of November 2019 : Snorkeling & Corcodiles
- Day 310 – Thursday 7th of November 2019 : Saruma island
- Day 311 – Friday 8th of November 2019 : People
- Day 312 – Saturday 9th of November 2019 : Relax
- Day 313 – Sunday 10th of November 2019 : Heavy rain
- Day 314 – Monday 11th of November 2019 : Crocodiles
- Day 315 – Tuesday 12th of November 2019 : Last day
We take our breakfast, we say goodbye to the Germans then we walk to the ” Agnès Gateway ” where we have to pick us up to go to Tetepare. Tetepare is another island of the “western province”. We put our entire stay on it! It will be the most expensive week of our existence so it’s better to be great! It is an island that is preserved from deforestation and any other form of business, it is a kind of natural park. We hope to see some dugongs because it’s supposed to be “THE” spot.
Once at the resort I can call Maël five minutes and then Tumi, our host sees us and picks us up. We thought it would be late (Solomon time …) so we took our time but in fact it was on time! Tamps. There is a New Zealander I saw at the famous “Lagoon Festival” which tells us that she joins us for four days. We also meet Tina, who works on Tetepare. When everyone is on board and the bags are well buried we leave. The weather is uncertain but for the moment there is not too much rain. We are given tarpaulins to cover themselves, they will not have been too much! The sea was rough! It was so boring! It was almost two hours by speed boat to arrive on Tetepare, we did not see the end! We are wet on arrival, the waves were breaking on us, Tumi was doing his best but impossible to take saucées! In addition we had a heavy rain to rinse us even more!
When we arrive, Gloria welcomes us. We are soaked and we can not wait to change clothes and take a shower. We discover the places. It’s pretty. Simple bungalows, as usual, but we have one that faces the sea. We settle down and wait for Tumi to make the connections to be able to shower. Other people arrive, a group of five. We who thought to be alone!
We are picked up for lunch in the early afternoon. We meet everyone. The group is actually a research group that comes to educate people on how to preserve their reefs. They will only stay one night.
After lunch, Tumi debriefs us on the island. We learn the dangers (certain plants, sharks, crocodiles …) and certain customs. He also tells us that the island ceased to be populated about 150 years ago. People have gone because of the headhunters. Yes, you read that right. People in the Western Province were trying to harvest as many heads as possible on the other islands because each head represented a sacred spirit. The women were spared but given to the chiefs for the offspring. As on Tetepare there was only one tribe, they decided to flee because they were not enough to fight. Tumi tells us that there is also a sacred lizard here. I look at the picture and wonder if this lizard is big because the leaves look small next to it. It confirms me that it is a big thing this lizard! Too cool, we can not wait to see it. By cons it will break our illusions by telling us that on this side of the island we can not hunt the coconut crab because it is protected, but not the other, so he will ask the rangers to find us one ( one each I hope!). He also tells us that the two tsunamis devastated the marine grass and that suddenly there were no more dugongs! Balls ! We can see but by chance … This is the drop of water, I want to go spend my money in Australia! He explains the activities but there are no prices. We learn that we will be able to reduce costs with Trisha, the New Zealander, because in fact the prices we have are not per person but by boat! Phew!
In the afternoon we will not do anything special. Quentin will go snorkeling in the current with Trisha and I will look for the famous lizard that I will see twice!
In the evening we dine early enough. We talk with everyone. People are nice. We make a program for tomorrow then we will watch a movie with Quentin. A film super bad elsewhere, I do not recommend it, it’s called “Sea, No sex, and sun”, rotten! After that we will go to bed.
Wake up too early! Why is breakfast at 7am ?! We go, everyone is here. It is paradise ! We prepared pancakes! There is even maple syrup! We’re guzzling then we go back to the bunglaow. Trisha tells us we’re leaving around 8:30. We prepare, I do some abs (yeah I started the sport, four days ago, I’m too much too flabby I disgusted myself).
Tumi picks us up. We do not go very far. On the road we see lots of green turtles! The water is super clear. Tumi tells us to come back tomorrow morning before breakfast. The coral is pretty well loaded. Big fish. I spot a gray reef shark, black and white tip sharks and a moray eel. Quentin will tell me that he is a grouper but after looking well he will see that I was right … he did not have to see often! We snorkel for a good hour. There is too much current for me, and too many sharks … so I go back on the boat, I look like a big cow that runs in and it makes you laugh Tumi. The others swim another fifteen minutes then go back and we return. We decide to stay there again with Quentin to continue. The others leave. I’m three meters and there I see a shark that is driving me. So out of the question that I stay in the water. I do not know if he felt the crusts of blood on my ankles or the fact that I have my ragnagnas, suddenly for prudence I go out illico! Quentin will go alone and I will do my gym on the beach.
Half an hour later Quentin returns and a boat arrives with ten guys. Rangers. We go to shower and then we will serve the meal super early! There are some kind of vegetable raisins not bad, banana fritters and some kind of squash salad (not bad). We will discuss with Trisha then we will ask Tumi to go in the bush to go for a walk. He told us he wanted to get us some tuna! but yes ! go ahead !! we will go to the bush after: D There are priorities!
We rest a little and then at a time I see a big lizard not far from the bed in the beams of the room. I scream at Quentin to come see because he’s super pretty, black with white or orange dots. We’ll spend ten minutes trying to take pictures. Gloria will tell us that he was a young “monitor lizard” (the big lizard I drank yesterday). Cool !
Trisha picks us up for a ride in the bush with Gloria. The path is nice, we will surely go this evening to look for insects and frogs! We see huge and beautiful trees. Gloria explains a few things about plants and trees and then when the rain starts to fall way too hard we turn back!
We will rest while trying to dry a little while waiting for dinner. We have a packet of cakes that I resist not to break! It’s hard ! I found a kind of little booklet that explains many interesting things about the island, its inhabitants, customs, and animals. I take the opportunity to work on my blog even if I can not update it before a good week (sorry!).
In the evening we have another great meal for dinner. It’s always different and very good. We talk with Trisha and then Tumi joins us. We plan the day tomorrow and we go to bed.
This morning we wake up before waking up and five minutes later we hear the call telling us that breakfast is ready. Let’s go ; we do not see Trisha. Tumi tells us that she left early for snorkeling. She takes full advantage of her stay! Our cook prepared us, again, a great breakfast! Scones! Not the same as in Europe, here they are super good and mellow, not all dry. We fill our stomachs. Tumi tells us that we will leave earlier to try to see the dolphins! So cool ! We see them from the beach. I spot a “monitor lizard” so I force Quentin to go see him with me as he has not seen. He goes to hide in the tree but luckily Tumi shows us a big fat next to us! It’s too funny as an animal, it reminds me a little Galapagos (ah, nostagie …). We go back to prepare and crossing Trisha I tell him that after his breakfast we will rush to see the dolphins.
Around 7:30 we find everyone at the pontoon. Hickson, our guide joins us. He is super nice.
The sea is calm this morning and it is super nice, it’s nice! We arrive near the dolphins in less than ten minutes; there are fifty, if not more! It’s so great ! We are so close to water! Some come to jump next to the boat! We are super happy. We do not have the green light to get into the water so we enjoy from the boat, it’s already great to see so close and in addition we are alone with them! At the end of ten minutes they leave us and go to the bottom of the water; So we go on our snorkeling. Tumi brings us to a new spot. It is impressive, we are swimming over a wall of coral as we usually see diving. We swim slowly, I always freak to see a shark or a crocodile … After a while I start to get cold and tired of being bitten by jellyfish. I go back on the boat and I talk with Tumi and Hickson. I told them that I had already swam with dolphins in Mauritius, my dad’s island. So they ask me questions about Maurice and my family. Quentin shouts me back because he saw things. I go back but eventually there will be nothing more. I missed the eagle ray. I go back, followed by Trisha but Quentin will still be a good forty minutes in the water before going back. On the return we cross turtles, they are super pretty. I think it’s the same species that I saw in the Philippines.
After our very nice lunch we leave to rest. It’s hot. I take a big nap, I’m tired from waking up in the middle of the night to scratch my buttons “sand flies” (dirty little critters!). I have buttons everywhere! In short, I sleep like a mass then around 15h we find everyone at the pontoon. We see offal with lots of flies and sharks circling below. Hickson tells us that it is to feed them later. This afternoon we asked the rangers to give us a demonstration of “turtle tagging”. The rangers catch the turtles (they call it rodeo), bring them back to the beach, put a “tag” (piece of metal with a number on it), take the weight, the size and release them. They collect all the data and send it to a research center. We ride with Tumi and Hickson and two other rowers leave on their aluminum boat. The weather is good, black clouds are coming on us. We are looking for turtles. Hickson will miss his target but the other ranger will succeed! He comes to put the turtle on our boat. She is super beautiful. She is afraid and gets stuck every now and then between the boards of the coup we try to block the holes with our palms and then we tell Tumi that it’s enough. We have trouble for the little turtle who freaks out. The rain falls on us when we return to the beach. We are literally whipped by the drops of water! It is raining very hard but we continue the activity. When we arrive, Hickson pulls out the turtle and the other person covers his head with a t-shirt. They try to put their “tag” but they have very bad equipment and do it again several times … They tell us that they asked to have other things but they are still waiting! So with Trisha we’ll write to try to get things done, Trisha’s voice will surely have a bigger impact as she works in Solomon tourism. One of the rangers will take a meter to measure the turtle up and down. They will then search for a net, put the turtle in it and weigh it with a manual scale. It’s raining harder and harder. When it’s over, they let the turtle go. She is still shocked by what has just happened so it takes time to go in the water. Once inside, it darkens away from us all!
After this experience, it’s not over, it’s time to feed the sharks! Hickson picks the giblets and balances them in the water. Black tip sharks go crazy! He tries to chop one by the tail but they are too fast. When we see this, we understand that it is better not to be in the middle of sharks having dinner! When all the meat has been eaten, we go back to shower, change and rest before going to dinner. I go to the kitchen a little earlier to make a tea because I’m bored. I fall on Tumi. We discuss. He tells me that where we go after it is blah for snorkeling and dangerous because of crocodiles! We had planned four days there … He tells me that it is a village with nothing special to do and that we will surely be bored. The leader sounds the alarm for the meal and Trisha and Quentin arrive. Tonight the chef made us rainbow fish (I do not know what it looks like). It’s excellent ! We will try to eat everything but she has done too much. It’s delicious anyway! We will discuss a little more; with Quentin we will decide to stay longer here and not to go to the Morovo Lagoon. We were quite bored before arriving on Tetepare and in the end to stay four days here it will come back to us at the same price and the food is too good here! We agree and happy to give our money to preserve this island which is really nice and where we know what people are doing with our money. We try to look at Harry Potter, but it’s a Canadian or Swiss version and it’s really rotten so we go to bed.
I slept badly that night, I got puffed by the “sand fly” of m … I have buttons everywhere! The medocs do not make the blow is horrible and I must remember to scratch me because from now on I have to watch my little and my big dick for the wedding …
Breakfast is ready even sooner than usual! We go as we are up. We meet Trisha already there. Tumi tells us we will leave around 8:30. So after breakfast I do my sport. I’m sweating so much that I feel like hiking in the jungle of Kolombangaran … yuck ….
We find everyone at the pontoon but this time we leave without Tumi. It will be Hickson our guide. The sea is very calm. On the way we meet dolphins! There are plenty of them and like this morning Tumi pointed out to us that no one had asked to go into the water yesterday, Quentin and I asked Hickson and we went into the water. Bad luck the dolphins are scared and we will only see them for thirty seconds, but it was pretty. Trisha did not have time to get off the boat, not fast enough. We go to the first dive spot that is further away this time. This is the “coral garden”, it is aptly named. There is coral everywhere! Of all shapes and colors. It’s pretty. After a long time in the water we will try to see crocodiles in the “crocodile lake”. We arrive at the mouth of the river on the sea, the water is green. There is a big yellow sign with black and white not to go camping; we would not have had the idea, I think. It sinks into the jungle a little alert, each noise can be a very bad sign. We arrive at the lake in five minutes. There are weeds high enough around us it’s super creepy, plus we are in flip-flops and jersey … not ideal for running … We see the lake. Hickson has his knife in his hand … not reassuring … He imitates the barking of the dog but we will not see crocodiles. We will wait a few minutes but with Trisha we will not be very serene … We return to the boat, stamps for corcos! Hickson offers us a second snorkeling but the spot is not far from crocodiles! I’m freaking out, as usual, and I do not want to go in the water but I’m so hot that I’ll finally go. There too the water is super clear and there are plenty of corals. The spot is less rich in fish, I like less but oddly I can relax. We all return to the boat at the same time and then we return to the lodge. It is already 11:30! We spent a lot of time in the water! We rinse and then we go to lunch.
I’m going to see Tumi to find out what we’re doing this afternoon. He tells me that he wants us to swim with dolphins as they are still there, and it will be free! Cool ! I tell others, we have lunch while talking. I go back to Tumi to find out what time we’re leaving. Unfortunately the dolphins are gone. So I propose to go tomorrow morning. We talk and they make fun of me with Hickson because they noticed that I was too scared in the water because of crocodiles and sharks … well after I do not hide it! So this afternoon it will be rest, reading, snorkeling and blogging.
Quentin will return to snorkel in the lagoon. It is terribly hot and humid outside and in our cottage. I go to the beach to join him but there are sharks so I’ll stay on the edge waiting for him. I will accompany him once scared because of sharks!
In the evening after our great dinner we watch a movie and then sleep, because too lazy to go out for frogs.
Last day for Trisha today, she was asked what she wanted to do the most. This morning, after breakfast, we go to see a “tambu site”, sacred site, and we will picnic on an island: Saruma island.
It is beautiful outside! We find everyone at the pontoon. This time we leave accompanied by Vella, our super chef, and Hickson. The sea is super calm, we go along the coast to go to a beach on the other side of the island. Vella will stay at the boat while we all four go into the jungle. Hardly after walking three meters we feel the humidity and heat invade us and we start to sweat. We see many “Banyan trees”, other large and beautiful trees, some of which are very popular for their wood. Hickson shows us a plant used to heal cuts. You must break the branch and splash the wound with the liquid it contains. We walk for a good twenty minutes. We will see some old relics and bones, but nothing very crazy. We turn back to find Vella, who, while waiting for us, made baskets with local plants. We take the boat for a few minutes and we arrive on a tiny island where we will spend the rest of the morning. It is very pretty but no beach, corals have invaded all the sand. We take all the boat’s business and then we go into the water to snorkel to cool off. It’s really nice, there are corals of all colors. We will see a turtle, a huge “bump head fish” and a barracuda. We will hear Hickson go by boat to catch the lunch. We tour the island quietly and when we come back, Hickson and Villa started preparing the bbq. Hickson brought back a barracuda and another fish. Vella prepared fifty things and put bananas on the fire. It smells too good! When everything is ready we enjoy of course! It’s so good that you eat until you can not!
As Trisha needs to be back soon enough, we pack everything up as soon as we finish our lunch and head straight back to the lodge. We say goodbye; it was nice to have her with us, she was very quiet without her, because she spoke a lot!
In the afternoon I will have a long nap and Quentin will go snorkeling. The day will pass quickly enough finally. Tumi makes us change bungalows because of insects. He thinks we’ll be better at Trisha’s house. It is bigger but does not have the sea view. While Quentin is swimming I’m moving everything with Tumi and Villa and then I’ll have tea on the hammock in front of the beach.
When he comes back, we’ll have a few drinks before Vella calls us for dinner. Tumi tells us to look in the trees at night because yesterday he saw opossums! So, we will spend a little time searching but without success.
After finishing our film, we will go for a big sleep!
After our great breakfast we leave with Hickson to snorkel. Today Tumi offers us the exit as we stay a long time at the lodge.
The sea is very calm and it is already super hot. On the way we meet dolphins! Very cool ! This time again we are ready to jump into the water at Hickson’s green light! We are getting closer and splash! Without any discretion we dive and admire the show. It’s fast but beautiful. We will do this three or four times, sometimes we will not see anything. We are glad we could have seen them this time! We will snorkel not far from the resort. Today we will stay almost two hours in the water. Hickson will join us from time to time to watch underwater and try to catch some fish. When we come back we are hungry but we have to wait for the boat that brings back the American who acts as manager for two years, her husband and a guy who comes to check the system of solar panels that is deficient. The meal is ready, we are too hungry but we will wait for thirty minutes that the three are finally decided to come! They greet us quickly … we feel we will not talk too much. I ask questions but they are not very talkative … We see that they want to leave the table as soon as they finished their plates, so I suggest they leave because we want to take our time.
As we did a lot of swimming this morning we will rest well in the afternoon. Quentin will still go for a walk in the water while I do my gym; if there were not so many sharks I would come more often with him. I take this opportunity to go make myself a tea and read on them. Hammocks next to the big hall. The type of solar panels is coming and I’m chatting! wow! When I hear the storm rumbling I decide to go get my clothes drying out. Quentin will return a little later tired but happy, even if he has not seen much interesting. We will wait until the evening meal; we will play scrabble in the big hall. In the evening it is the same scenario as the noon; no one makes too much effort so we talk to each other with Quentin. We will still be both. Last to leave the table and get rid of it. After starting a movie a little murky happening during September 11 in NY we will go for a big sleep!
The day will be rather calm. We are “fious” as we say in French Polynesia. We want to do nothing special.
We have breakfast with the others. They are really not very talkative. I ask them questions but I just have the answer that goes with it, simple, clear, straight to the point. Well, I give up, it does not help me anyway because we will see each other again. Never.
After taking our time (the others having left the table before us), we return to our room. I’ll take a big nap while Quentin reads. At noon, Vela cooks us too much good things to eat … it will make me a big nap! Quentin, who is a little bored, will wake me up to go for a canoe trip. It’s hot but there are big black clouds in the distance that threaten to burst over our heads. The canoe is super heavy (it’s a tree trunk at the same time). It’s hard to put in the water. We try the technique of rangers: put foam socks underneath to drag it; it works. We empty it of the rainwater then we go for a ride; it’s Quentin paddling. We sail slowly, against the current, it’s nice. We go for a walk and then we go back to the beach. It’s hard to climb the canoe … Quentin will go snorkeling for an hour while I use my gym. We will go to the big room to play scrabble at the end of the day while waiting for the meal. Tumi comes to see us and we ask him if we can go for a walk in the forest to see animals. He accompanies us with more powerful torches. One sinks gently, listening to the sound of animals. He spots small frogs, one of which we had never seen before: it is held in the palm of the hand, it is dark with large red spots on the back and large webbed pasta. We are super happy. Quentin will find an even smaller one two minutes later. Tumi calls us, he spotted an opossum! It’s awesome ! He is as big as a cat! He does not look too scared. He climbs gently on the tree which gives us time to look at it. We are super happy to have seen one; in Ecuador we had seen one very briefly. We come back on our way back and here we hear noises too strange; like sharp barking. Quentin thinks it’s a bird but I’m convinced it’s a frog. Tumi listens and finds the animal; it’s a little frog with horns on the eyes and nose and looks like a leaf, like the one we saw at Imbu Rano. Tumi is told that tomorrow’s goal will be to find the same but green! We return slowly, very satisfied with our little walk at night. We greet Tumi and then we go watch a movie before going to bed.
This morning the weather is not at its best. It rained a lot all night and there are still big clouds. We find everyone for breakfast. I ask Tumi if the weather is good, he tells me that it should go, but without much conviction. We have lunch, we’re goinfre. The departure is off because Vela would like to prepare things for lunch. Today we asked Tumi if we could go on a tour of the other side of the island. Hickson told us about a place with hundreds of dolphins. As it is law, on the return we should stop to snorkel and picnic on the beach.
We put all the stuff on the boat and we leave with Tumi, Hickson and Vela. The other side of the island is very pretty, very green, and with a beautiful coast and small islets. We see the rain in the distance … not good sign that! Half an hour later, we arrive at the famous spot, there is a good flock of dolphins! We are. Throw in with Quentin and Hickson. Visibility is top! We see the bottom of the water, there must be twenty meters. We see the dolphins, it’s magic! They are a little scared, it looks like. They swim in all directions. Tumi goes around with the boat to bring them back to us. We see them so well! Like Vela has never seen before. The dolphins under water I propose to take my mask and my fins and jump! It’s so crazy to live next door and never have this experience! The first time will not be conclusive, the dolphins will leave immediately. By cons the second they will see them! Vela is happy and so are we! We will have enjoyed the place!
Lack of a bowl, the big black cloud we saw in the distance is now over us. We will have to change the plans. Hickson is told that it does not matter, that we can get in and that if on the road we can do some snorkeling they stop. Finally, the rain will stop a little and we will do a little snorkeling, we began to be cold but once in the water we warm up quickly because it seems super hot. Hickson will try to fish but he will not catch anything. The weather seems to improve as Tumi heads for the beach; we’ll still have a barbecue! They tell us to go snorkeling while they are doing business. I will only stay ten minutes because I’m cold and the visibility is really bad. I find Vela and Tumi on the beach; Quentin continues to swim and Hickson tries to find us some fish. It starts to rain very hard! Tumi installed a tarpaulin so as not to get too wet. He is not happy because the hunters came here and left their dirt. It stinks of death and there are plenty of empty, rusty gas and water bottles. It’s a shame to have people who respect nothing! Especially in a place like this! Vela is preparing the place where we are going to fire. She takes pieces of corals that will keep the heat and Tumi cuts pieces of dry wood. Quentin returns a little later. We try to light the fire but there is a little wind and it extinguishes all the matches. We will eventually get there. We go for a walk on the beach with Quentin while Hickson is fishing. Half an hour later we all come back. Hickson has been very productive! He brought lots of fish and even two tuna for tonight! He empties and scales the fish and then makes a big one with soy sauce and wild lemon. Vela puts everything on fire and while it’s cooking, Tumi tells us many stories too glaucous about the local culture, the lives of people before (head hunters, human sacrifices etc …). When the fish is cooked it’s a real treat! We eat, we discuss, we laugh!
As soon as lunch is over, we bring everything back to the boat and return to the lodge. The rain begins to fall again. It is Hickson who will be the captain on the return and it is he who will be well whipped by the rain, while we will be wrapped under plastic sheeting. The sky is black and the journey seems endless! When we arrive we are soaked! We return quickly to the bungalow, we take a shower and then we will rest the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we will be entitled to a big delicious meal again. Even if we are not hungry, we will eat as much as possible, Vella giving herself every time so much trouble to vary the pleasures! After that, sleep!
Today the day will be pretty quiet. After eating well for breakfast, we go snorkeling with Tumi, on a spot that we have not tested yet. The weather is nice and the sea is calm. We’ll swim for an hour and we’ll see a lot of pretty things in the water. Vella is waiting for us with another good meal.
In the afternoon I’ll take a big nap, at least I’ll try. Quentin has gone on a crocodile expedition with Hickson and it makes me a little flippant to know he can come back with one arm or one leg less. They left by walking to the lake where we had gone by boat. Almost three hours later he comes back. He could see birds and two crocodiles! One in the lake and one in the sea. They crossed the primary forest and a portion of secondary forest. Luckily the rain did not soak them because they were well buried under the trees. He is resting a bit and then we go to take a tea in the great room and play scrabble. Hickson comes to talk with. We wait until Vella has finished the meal. It smells super good! When Hickson brings back the dishes we hallucinate, she made homemade bread! Hickson explains how she did it (traditional oven). We are impressed and we say that we should send letters of complaint to all the lodges of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands who made us eat crackers in the morning! We still eat without being hungry and we go nuts before going to watch a movie and sleep.
This morning we will have breakfast with a pinch to the heart; this is our penultimate super good breakfast! Tomorrow we will fly to Seghe, Morovo Lagoon, where we should have stayed for four days.
We would like to swim with the dolphins this morning. Vella is told to come with us and it is without hesitation that she accompanies us. We all leave with Hickson and Vella, and once at the pontoon we learn that Clement, another guide-ranger joins us. The sea is calm in the lagoon but it is a different story in the open sea. The boat resumes its role of teaser. We are a little shaken. Hickson goes for the dolphins in two places but without success. He still offers to snorkel. On the first spot, at the level of the pass, only Quentin and Clement go into the water. The sea is too rough for me, I may make my breakfast in my mask … We return to the lagoon ten minutes later and we will stay two hours in the water! Hickson will bring Vella back to the lodge so she can start cooking. We will see many beautiful things in the water including turtles, super beautiful fish but surely very dangerous that we had seen for the first time in Gizo, and to top it off, a beautiful eagle ray a few meters from us! We will swim back to the lodge and after the shower we will go to eat good dishes of Vella. The afternoon will be quiet. We’ll take a nap, read and play scrabble. Hickson will come to talk to us and we will ask him if he will accompany us for a night out in search of frogs. I bring the cups of tea back to the kitchen and I see a pizza in a saucepan! Vella made a pizza! I hallucinate! Hickson explains to me that it’s done in the traditional oven, the same way she baked bread! We have pizza (among others) for dinner! Very good. I bring it to the table and two minutes later Hickson and Vella bring us four different dishes! We eat like big! We think that we will really miss all these great meals! We eat until our bellies beg us to stop. Hickson is told to pick us up when he has finished dinner, that we are not in a hurry. In the meantime we try to kill all the little ants that sting us in the bed (especially me!)!
We find Hickson and we plunge into the jungle. We hear frogs. He will find two of which one in the form of leaf with the horns but not the green unfortunately. We will walk a good hour without understanding where we went! The ride was less interesting than the last time but it was still nice. When he leaves, he tells us that he is not sure to bring us to Seghe tomorrow because he would like to return to see his son who will be graduating from high school. We would like him to be there but we understand that he also wants to be with his family. We thank him and we give him an appointment tomorrow morning at breakfast!
- Day 316 – Wednesday 13th of November 2019 : Goodbye Tetepare
- Day 317 – Thursday 14th of November 2019 : Back to Honiara
- Day 318 – Friday 15th of November 2019 : RAS
The last day has arrived … we are very sad. We would have preferred to stay three nights here rather than going to Honiara! But hey, if we miss our plane to go to Australia we will have some small organizational problems …
Tumi told us yesterday, breakfast at 8am. So in the morning I get up and I’m doing my gym. I’m tired but I could not sleep. The night was quite short because we had a huge storm and rain for a few hours! Finally it got up and the sky was clear.
Quentin will get up an hour later, he will motivate himself to do some buttocks with me. After a little cold shower we will find Vella in the big room. She brings us our breakfast; Everything we love ! She had to get up at dawn to prepare pancakes, scones and fried bananas! She told us it was our last day and that we had to hit the mark! We thank her too happy, and once again, we explode the belly. Quentin will eat all the bananas! Hickson comes to meet us all happy and he tells us that he will bring us to Seghe. We talk with Tumi too. I show some pictures that I put on my phone to Hickson; I hope Jenno can print some of them to them.
Tumi gives us the guestbook to complete. I write a gigantic word. I tell them that we were more than happy to stay here and that their hospitality, meals and activities exceeded our expectations and that if there was only one place to visit in the Solomon Islands it would be no hesitation, Tetepare!
After breakfast we go to pack our bags quickly; the sea is calm so much start as soon as possible (we do not want to relive what we experienced when arriving here). When we bring our things to the pontoon, Clement tells us that he is coming with us and Vella too; on the other hand we are sad to learn that Tumi left without saying goodbye.
We load the boat and then we go in swimsuit! We hope to swim with dolphins on the road. The sea is quite calm, it is super nice. The ride is going really well. We will see many dolphins jump in all directions but once in the water they will be too fast. Not bad, it has allowed us to cool because it is really hot.
Almost two hours later we arrive in the Morovo Lagoon. I’m really happy we changed our plans! The water is green and cloudy because of deforestation! It’s not especially pretty, at least the part close to Seghe. We arrive at the airport; a trail in the bush and small houses next door. We warmly welcome our friends from Tetepare who made our stay extraordinary and we let them go again. We take our things and we quickly realize that the airport is only a small shack. We change and we move like gypsies and I’ll see if we can change our flights. Lack of luck there is only one and it is in a little less than 6h … I ask the guy where we could go wait and eat. It tells me a place to ten minutes in front of the lagoon. He is nice, he offers to leave our big bags at the airport. We go find our place of glandouille. It is in a well-bloomed resort, with lots of blue bungalows. The girl we meet tells us a place to buy drinks. Lack of luck these are only local sodas sweet. We will take two, and a natural soap (nothing to see) done here. She tells us to follow her to the lagoon. We meet the manager who tells us that we can wait upstairs on the terrace. They seem to be very nice here. We ask her if we can have lunch but she tells us it’s a little late. She will come back ten minutes later to offer us something simple that we will accept. We will wait by doing two scrabble games. The hours pass by, we try to take care while waiting for the flight.
There are a lot of tourists. This time we ride in a small propeller plane piloted by two young women. I take a place in front of the window. The landscape will be beautiful from the sky. We will see very well the lagoon with all its islands. We will be treated to beautiful rainbows too. The journey will be fast. As soon as we get our bags we take a taxi to go to Janet. When she sees us she yells my name saying she worried. She is very excited to see us; she is suspected of being a little bit so stoned too … She asks us what we did for three weeks in the “Western Province”. She makes us laugh. When she leaves us we settle down, we eat and I will collapse in the bed.
After having taken our time we decided to go shopping in town and have lunch in one of the restaurants. It’s too hot it’s awful! Just two minutes after going out we sweat! It’s noisy and dirty outside.
We walk for a good half hour to the main street. We locate in a supermarket to find out what we will buy for our next meal and then we go to a restaurant that was closed last time (since everything closes at 15h!).
We cross the entire main street. There are a lot of people, it’s super noisy, polluted, in short, too boring!
When we arrive at the restaurant we see where all the tourists have gone! There are only foreigners who eat breakfast! We order gnocchi … great choice, it’s delicious! We take our time and then we go shopping. The return trip will seem endless because it is really too hot and the path goes up! Mandatory cold shower upon arrival at the apartment!
We will not do much of our evening. I will skype and Quentin will cook and then go to bed.
Long day doing nothing. We will only eat, make our bags, watch movies and do the internet.
Tomorrow big departure for Australia with stop on Fiji!