position S10 45.500 E165 49.400
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Thu 20 Jun 2019 00:18
Wednesday 19th June
The predicted restless night with a grumbling anchor came to pass. I retreived the anchor with some objections from the rocky bottom which tried to hang on to it. Snorkling I could see that the chain had dropped into a ravine and was rattling against the sides. Some selective manouvering freed it and retrieval was achieved. I suppose there is a reason that anchorages are marked on the chart and where not marked are probably unsuitable.
We moved round into the bay where we could see a supply ship against a wharf. As we investigated the possibility of a sneaky anchorage somewhere nearby we found the sudden edge of the deep water with a bump. The whole bay has steep rocky sides with an anchorage marked at the very top some several miles from the main town of Lata where we presumed the customs and immigration offices would be found.
The bay (Graciosa Bay) has muddy brown water and a lot of floating rubbish. We guessed that a softer bottom would be found near the river mouth where the grey muddy, mangrove littered shoreline looked like the odd crocodile might lie in wait for juicy yachties. The anchor seemed to be holding and while checking we watched a tug driven barge manouver from one side of the bay where a logging operation was visible to the other, the crew struggling to haul mooring lines across the rocks. The barge was empty and a bit later we found that they were just taking on fresh water from the river.
We were able to row ashore without being eaten and wading across the clear river found the bay side road to Lata. We soon started to see houses and smily people saying good morning. We tried to flag down a truck but he was stopping to unload his coconuts. The driver kindly phoned for a car or taxi to give us a lift and after walking a little further and meeting Barnabus who offered to help us with the procedures in Lata a smart toyota 4WD car appeared driven by Frank. Now with 2 helpers and a car, progress to Lata was about the same speed as walking due to the road condition but in comfort and learning about Franks education and political ambitions. Frank has a degree in Law from PNG and recently stood for election as the local councillor for the Graciosa Bay area. Unfortunately his brother also stood and split the moderniser vote, leaving the traditionalist to win. Frank would now like to continue his education with a masters and if we could help him do that in Britain that would be great. He would be quite a mature student- well into his 40's I guess, and I asked him what sort of job he might get in the Solomons. There are engish influences still, they drive on the left, the main church is anglican, and the law system sounds very english with magistrates here and crown court only in Honiara. He seems to think that the extra qualification would help his political career rather that get him a high powered job in the law. In the mean time he bought a car rather than improve his house in order to guide visitors like us around the Bay. I should have asked about his fee at that point. We are the only yacht in the bay although there were apparently a couple in the day before.
We visited the immigration office and filled in their forms and paid the fee- quite a heavy one at $63 US. Then found the customs lady who doesn't have an office but brought some forms out from her house. The fee would have to be paid in Honaria along with biosecurity checks. We bumped backwards and forwards up and down the worst bit of road in the Bay trying to change some money. There is a bank but no currency exchange facility. A passing driver might have been able to do a money transfer if we could have some internet access. The church admin office have stopped changing money. In the end the owner of the motel offered to change $100, for a cheque made out to cash so Frank had to take that back to the bank to convert it to real cash. We visited the market and bought mangoes and bean pasties and then a couple of general stores for some tinned provisions and some local cloth for Dianas patchwork quilt. A visit down to the wharf where the fishermen were just starting to bring in their catch. I bought 2 massive chunks af Marlin for £10-one for us and one for Frank. He also bought a couple of yellow fin tuna for someone else. We called at Franks humble abode on the way back to the boat -a traditional two roomed thatched timber construction and we met his pretty wife Monica and very attractive two children. This may be his second family as he mentioned 4 children earlier. He gave us a watermelon along with swapping contact details so we can let him know when we have secured him a place at law college. I don't think he is actually expecting that to happen but maybe we might be able to find some details of where to apply for grant options.
Frank ran us back to the end of the bay and helped us carry our hoard back to the dinghy.He charged us £30 for his services- not too bad for most of the day with his car. It rained heavily most of the time and we managed to avoid getting too wet in the car.