Photos from India

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sailing across New Georgia Sound

Under a crescent moon and a sky filled with an endless array of stars, I am concluding another wonderful day in the Solomon Islands. It’s days like today that I wish I could share with all of my friends and family back home. Unfortunately, all of my photos and all of the stories I will tell when I get home will never do a day like today justice. It began just like any other day here in the islands, awaking to the morning light and emerging from down below to see what the day would be like. Today however, it was overcast and small bits of rain were falling. I could only hope that this would improve. After a cup of coffee and a few other preparations, we pulled up the anchor and departed from an anchorage surrounded by crocodile infested mangroves. After navigating through the reefs at the entrance to the harbor and putting up the sails, we began our way across the channel to the province of Choisel. The sail began slow, with the grey skies breaking. We raised the spinnaker to speed us along the way, and it gave us that little burst of speed we needed to get through the light winds of the morning. By noon, the winds had picked up and the skies were blue. We were cruising at a modest six knots and the islands we were heading for were beginning to appear on the horizon.
All day, we had not caught a single fish. I guess I should actually say that we hadn’t caught a fish in over a week. Our sails had been short and through narrow passages which had limited the time we could keep the rods out. In fact, it had occurred to Bill and I that we had picked up a stone carving of the local fishing god and had only caught one fish since he got on board. There was talk of decapitating the statue or throwing him to the deep after sailing for seven hours today without so much as a bite on our lines. As we approached the island we had picked out to anchor, fish hit both of our lines. Siv and Mehow grabbed the rods and began the process of reeling them in while I stood bye ready with the gaff. As Siv pulled hers in, I could here Mehow having problems. I quickly drove the gaff through the gills of the Mackerel Tuna that Siv had pulled in and went to see if I could help Mehow. By that time, the fish had circled the boat and gone for the other side. As we passed the rod around and he was able to gain control again, the fish was gone. Oh well, the fish Siv brought in was more than enough to feed us a wonderful dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
After cleaning the fish blood off my skin and the boat, we headed toward our destination. It was late in the day and the sun was beginning to drop through a partly cloudy sky. We rounded the corner and could see a small cove with a rock outcropping to one side and a beautiful sandy beach covered in coconut palms. The water was the clearest blue you can imagine and the sun was lighting up the island so that it had a wonderful golden glow emitting from every branch of the trees upon it. After dropping anchor, we had time for a swim to shore and a chance to explore the beach and coral reefs. This is an amazing spot! No people or homes on the island, much less, within view of the dozens of islands that surround us. It is like someone has forgotten that this place even existed. Days like today are why I love to travel. The memories of today will last a lifetime and I wish I could share them with everyone back home.

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