2015-08-17 As we weigh anchor Lillian and family wave us off from the village on the beach. There’s a slight current running which helps speed us on our way as we enter the main channel between the islands. It’s 30 Nautical miles across to Honiara and with a depth of some 500 metres, no reefs in the way.
Exiting into Sandfly Channel there is a steady 16 knot wind, though a metre plus of swell on the beam. With the Genoa out were soon doing 6 knots on a beam reach, a bit rocky rolly but otherwise quite pleasant.
5 miles off and a large rain storm is sitting just off the coast, the wind direction should bring us on a collision course but, for some reason appears to be glued to the spot and we pass unhindered into Honiara bay.
There is no port in the usual sense. The commercial dock consists of a large number of jetties where the boats tied up bounce up and down on the incoming swell. The small bay where we are anchored contains a busy jetty where the Chinese fishing boats come in to take on fuel, water, bait for the longlines and food stocks etc. Conversely, another jetty is home to the Police launch, two patrol boats and a couple of smaller craft which rarely seem to move. The Yacht Club has a dinghy dock and a large jetty, far too high for anything but very big boats, consequently it’s unused.
A sandy beach runs from the Police area and across the Yacht Club frontage. Between the Police jetty and the club the beach serves as a landing area for the Banana boats that come zooming in at full speed dropping their loads of passengers and cargo and looking like a supermarket carpark with the consistent flow of traffic.
There is a fair swell running and no protection as we make our approach through the surf to land on the beach which shelves, abruptly grounding us in the wave line. We jump overboard and grabbing a handle run it up onto the beach as fast as we can but we still get a soaking.
A walk around to the “Numbawan” bottle store down by the Port area reveals a goodly stock of spirits with Bombay Gin at $280 half the price of Auki! We indulge!
I return to the Club clutching a case of Schweppes Tonic and repair to the bar. Shan who has been on walk-about soon joins me. Quite suddenly the wind increases in strength and soon it’s howling through the open sided building and a sand storm is blowing from the beach as people retreat to the far end of the bar.
Then it starts to rain and the firehose is turned on full bore. At this moment Lars appears complete with new haircut, looking like a drowned rat and we all look anxiously seaward where Dawnbreaker and the other boats are bouncing on the whipped up swell and spinning on their moorings
After a couple of beers later the storm disappears as swiftly as it came and apart from the surf crashing on the beach all is quiet again, with the gentle breeze and sun drying out the landscape.
After a somewhat wet launch and trip, clutching onto our bar stock we make it back safely.
That evening we return to the club to dine. They have an Indian Restaurant, and we have an excellent curry meal but we’re stuffed with the quantities they serve and fall into a listless heap when we return.
Bob the Blog