5 November 2013
Everyone who talks about the Solomon Islands says you have to go to the Western Province, that the islands there are the most beautiful.
So that's what we did today, headed up to the WP for a week. We picked the island of Gizo because it's kind of centrally located, and there's more of a town here so we figured more amenities.
We started the morning by getting to the domestic air terminal an hour before the flight - so we were there by 7:30 AM. To fly on Solomon Air. We checked in, then had a light brekkie at the airport. And waited. And waited.
A flight was called. We went up. It wasn't our flight. It was now 9 AM, and our flight was supposed to leave at 8:30 AM. There were no announcements, no one came to the waiting area to say there was a delay. We had NO idea what was going on. But there were others who were patiently waiting, so that's what we did as well. Waited.
Finally we were called into another waiting room, though we had to go through security first. (They glanced in my purse, checked that the spoon was blunt, and waved me through.) And we waited some more.
And then - TA DA! - we were told to go on out to the plane and board - it was a little plane, with maybe 20 seats? And 14 of us. So we could spread out a little bit.
It was AMAZING to see the islands from the air - sort of an abstract swirling quilt of deep cobalt with squiggles of aquamarine to turquoise, and all kinds of blobs of dark green. Almost like marbled paper, or a giant caffe latte in water colors.
And an island shaped like a parrot fish, with lagoons creating the fins and gills, and a separate island for the eye!!!!!
Not the best quality photos, given the fact that we were several thousand feet above the sea. And the window was scratched and dirty. And I don't know how fast we were flying.
But I was entranced by the colors and shapes and reefs and islands and just couldn't get enough photos of the whole thing!
We finally (after about 75-80 minutes) began to descend. And of course then there was more detail, and I kept looking for turtles, or sharks, or even crocodiles in the water - although saltwater crocs don't like this kind of crystal clear water.
Can you imagine staying at this lovely resort, built out over the lagoon???? So romantic!
We came skimming in over the water, looking like we might sprout pontoons and land in the sea. Suddenly there was a teeny tiny island, and we had one of those light-as-a-feather touchdowns. Our pilot turned out to be a woman - complete with a flower in her hair. And the design on the tail of our plane is the Solomon Islands flag.
We gathered our luggage, and followed other passengers across this teeny little island. Turns out that the airstrip is on a separate little island, across from Gizo. So that we have to climb into a boat (about the size of the one we took from Tulagi to Honiara yesterday), and zoom across to Gizo. Okay, no problem - of course, one has to wade into the water to climb into the boat,
and I took off my Birks to do this - so my wet feet slipped on the bottom of the boat and I made a sliding entrance. Gracefully. We can call it a glissade, right?
So we motored across the lagoon or sound or bay or whatever, and landed at the town dock. Got directions to our little hotel and walked to the Rekona Lodge. Turned out that our original budget room had some kind of problem, so we were given a free upgrade to the deluxe rooms - hot & cold water instead of just cold water, AC instead of just a fan, bigger room, all good things like that. We're happy and ready for a lovely week here.
We headed to PT 109, the restaurant (not the boat), and yes, they have a mirrored disco ball on their thatch and bamboo ceiling.
The also have an excellent lobster omelette, if you are ever in Gizo.
They also had this interesting statue - the person with the giant bird head is a local spirit (whose name I didn't catch), who appears to be friendly with the crocodile. Just thought this was a very interesting statue.
We talked to the dive operator (who just happens to be across the street from PT 109) and we're set for a snorkel trip tomorrow. We'll see how we feel, and hope to do some diving around here while we explore Gizo.
Post dinner note: We had a wonderful dance troupe perform after dinner - but it's now 10:15 PM and I'm not quite up to downloading all the photos, going through to find the best ones, and posting a big blog about it.
Look forward to a dance blog AND a snorkel blog tomorrow!