Monday, November 4, 2013

Sailing the High Seas

4 November 2013
We spent much of the morning hanging around the hotel - word came that the ferry still wasn't running, but that a boat would be arranged for us.  The morning dragged on.  

We were told the boat would arrive before noon.  Noon arrived.  

So did the rain.  Pouring, torrential, tropical rain, bouncing off the ocean, clouding the surface, obscuring the islands across the water, and basically cutting us off from sight of anything beyond the immediate area.

Could we go through that rain?  All twenty-five miles or so from Tulagi to Honiara?  (We hoped not, we'd get drenched.)

Ellison, the owner of the hotel, came out and said the boat would arrive soon, and we'd definitely get to Honiara before the banks closed.

Fortunately, the rain stopped.  The air was still hazy, but no more rain.

And then our boat arrived.  Maybe fifteen feet long?  (Five meters)  Probably not much more than that.  We handed over our backpacks and extra bags, and the captain packed them into coolers, just in case in rained again.

We clambered in, sitting on the middle bench.  Bench?  Really more like a 2x6 plank of wood. 

And we were off!  Sailing around the island of Tulagi, and out into Iron Bottom Sound.  Past a few kids just outside our hotel, on home-made rafts of styrofoam.  Then past dugout canoes beyond the island.

Then off into the open ocean.  We literally were out of sight of any land for nearly half an hour - and the entire trip was just over an hour.  It seemed to go on and on forever, just zooming over the water, no fish, no humans, two birds, and just more and more water.  

Finally, finally, we could just barely make out the outline of Guadalcanal, a darker cloud on the horizon, fading into the rain clouds above.

Eventually we made it to land, and we climbed out, stiff and happy to have arrived in Honiara.   In time to go to the bank.

Except I couldn't take any money out.  There is confusion with the way the teller ran my charge last time (he messed up, voided it, ran it again, somehow one of the charges didn't go through or the account was voided twice?) - anyhow, they say their accounts don't balance, I say I have three receipts for two charges and one void.  It's a mess.  I'll wait and see what appears in the bank account online before I let them re-charge the account.

So it was just one of those very weird days!!! 

We leave early tomorrow for Gizo, up in the Western Province.  Let's hope that the weirdness has worn itself out.

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