position S09 01.300 E159 08.200
The wind did return in the morning and we were able to sail into the Russell group of islands and then threaded our way under engine through islets and reefs towards an anchorage marked on the chart in Nono Bay. The navionics chart is accurate and detailed enough to rely on for picking a route through deep water.
The position marked for the anchorage however didn't look suitable, only giving feasible depth very close to the shallow coral fringe. We were soon met however by a large canoe filled with children and the student ambassador Clinton.
We have noticed in a few places that the 1st contact with a village is not the chief but a presentable young high school student and here Clinton had been given the job. The children swarmed over the boat while Clinton directed us to an anchorage round the back of the little islet on which the village of Nono sits. The village is a one family affair- 200 or so relations on one little island could be a recipe that Jeremy Kyle would enjoy diseminating.
We pursuaded Clinton to gather his clan and give us some time for a swim and cup of tea before meeting his uncle, the chief.
The chief came over to see us a little later and was rather depressed about the lack of income for the village. They used to produce copra but the collapse in the price means that they now have no regular income. Sometimes they are allowed to harvest Beche de Mere (sea cucumber) to sell to the chinese but it is restricted to certain times of the year. The loggers had been and gone a couple of years ago and there did seem to be resentment at the lack of environmental responsibilty and financial recompense. He asked if we had a small compass we could gve him as he used to have one given by a french boat that no longer worked or was lost. I do have my hand bearing compass which we need but no small walking compass on board so was unabe to oblige. Instead he asked for some cash for the anchorage and we gave him our last few solomon dollars.
I asked if I could ride back to the village with him in his canoe. He was worried I would upset the boat but we managed to reach shore without mishap.
The village is strung out along the shore and a few new houses are under construction. Lots of lumber sawn and ready to build with. The young generation were building up on a higher ground above the main village and the anglican church was also on the hill. The water is piped across from a stream on the main island but they have had more problems with the pipes. Clinton is studying Law at college and the chief had encouraged him as they need the services of a lawyer for land issues. The funding for his education however isn't currenty shared by the village but rests with his parents. The chief did think that some sort of village assistance would be a good idea but culd see that there would be problems later when it came to paying for Clintons services.
There was some lovely percussion music growing louder as we walked and some boys were playing an amazing pipe drum made with water pipe struck with old flip flops.
I hope the boys hadn't been
pinching the water supply pipe.
I was moved to do a little dance to the rythm but the girls didn't join in.
The chief was quite keen to return to the boat in the morning for tea and a chat although I warned him we would try and make an early start.
Evening view of the village.