Lars Alfredson
Fri 17 Jul 2015 07:43
pos 8:7.23S 156:53.76E

2015-07-15 Rather then enter through the reef at high water we opted to stay at anchor in the outer lagoon so we can get an early start an head for Gizo, the second largest town in the Solomon Isles.

After a three hour passage, no wind and motoring we anchor on the harbour front opposite the market. We have urgent business here, for as well as completing the usual checking in to the country, with customs immigration and quarantine and restocking our diminished alchohol supplies and food. there is what was the small matter but increasing is becoming of the great festering wound to my leg (Hope your not reading this over breakfast).

This has succeded in gathering a few more festering bits to add to the mess (Thomas and Sanna have already experienced this). In discussions during happy hour everyone was keen to show their scars from a similar affliction. We were also advised where to find the clinic and the local doctor.

As we waited and at the appointed hour this gentleman in multi coloured shorts and a t-shirt came limping, having evidently suffer from polio or similar at some time, walked past the queque straight into the office. Must have an appointment we though, wrong door open and I’m summond in.

A really nice guy, we had a chat about things various, apparently we works in the hospital during the day and runs the clinic in his lunch hour. He reassured me that this was a common affliction for westerner from the colder climes not used to the exotic cocktail of bacteria that run rampant throughout the islands. A fistful of antibiotics and a tube of miracle cure and $360 (£36 appx) we’re on our way to do the rounds.

The Clinic is conveniently located opposite Bottle and Provision store selling everything from outboard motors to bacon. No eggs and only a hacked up chicken in a bag, none of your boneless chicken breast here. We leave them with booze order and head for the open market where we get sweet potatoes, peppers, and limes before proceeding to the last of the official offices, Immigration.

There we met a rather charming Australian lady, but she is not the officer and advises us that her hours are very erratic and it could be days before she is seen. Repairing to the nearby hotel Bar we contemplate our options

Fortified, we trudge back to the store where our goodies are now all stacked ready to go and to our delight discover they have a dock from which we can take delivery of our goods. After going through a series of credit card to find one that will work, Lars looses out having the only one to function!

Loaded to the gunnals with hardly room for the chief engineer and crew, we set off in the overloaded dinghy cautious of any passing wake that may send our precious cargo to the bottom. Soon all is safely aboard and  we take a well earned beer for our labours.

Later in the afternoon Shan and Lars return ashore (My legs playing up ) and run into the Immigration lady just they were leaving the office. By now there are several other yachts trying to check in and out as well so she gets her monies worth

After lunch we move to a reef off the airport island anchoring just off some massive lead in markers. For a change the bottom shoal relatively gently and we secure a nice spot to watch the inter island planes landing, snorkel and spend the night away from the town.

The following morning we return to the town to pick up some medical kit but the good doctor had forgotten to send it to the Clinic and he was operating today. A bit of last minute shopping and then looking for the reef of the day.

We have the usual problem of steep sided drop making it difficult to anchor. A lot of this problem is caused by the volcanic nature of the area which can raise some island metres above their old sea levels leaving their reefs high and dry.

As the tide changes, the hot water off the shallows tumbles over the sides into the deep making swimming a choice of boiling hot one minute and freezing (Relatively) the next, most peculiar.

Lars makes his way ashore to walk around the mini islands while work my way back only to discover I’m being shadowed by a Black Tip shark. As I turn and try to photograph him he scuttles off into the deep, definitley time for a beer.

All aboard, a move to anchor of “Fat Boys” Resort on an island a few miles back. After lunch we go across to book in and check what’s on the menu. Lars and Shan go walkabout while I prop up the bar nursing my wounds.

7ish and just as were preparing to leave the Heavens open up. We put the radar on and see a window of opportunity. Dressed in just enough to be decent, we stuff the rest of our clothes in the rucksack and proceed to the restaurant pausing to kit up in the toilet on the way. Despite wet bottoms we are reasonably presentable and take our table.

Bar-b-qued Chicken legs for Lars and Ginger spiced fish for Shan and myself all agreed it was delicious. Having consumed a nice bottle of Shiraz and been entertained by the manager it was back to yacht for a nightcap and beddy byes.

Bob the Blog