Solomon Islands - Guadalcanal (incl. Tavanipupu)


[June - July 2012]


Carina in

Tavanipupu, a small island in the middle of Marau Sound on the SW end of the infamous island of Guadalcanal. Parrots flew overhead, canoes slid silently by and sharks circled in the pool clear water below.

Marau Island

market was apparently held on Tuesdays. While adults shopped and visited, kids of all sizes took dugouts - of all sizes - for a spin around the calm waters. Some came and watched us, hoping for lollies.


Originally, Tavanipupu was a couple of bungalows on the lagoon side...


it's a luxury resort of large bungalows on the western side of the island.


and peaceful is the best description of Tavanipupu

Its isolation

brought a contingent from Buckingham Palace to vet it for a visit by the (young) royal couple - William and Kate.

A perfect spot

for a picnic or a picture is the platform and dining table set on Tavanipupu's highest hill.


By the time we reached Honiara harbor, the place was a zoo with the whole fleet of Pacific vakas and about 10 sailing vessels, all med moored and doubled up against the rip rap. We anchored and tied to friends on Love Song, up close and personal with a pair of huge police boats.

War Canoes

from the western province were in town as part of the Festival of Pacific Arts. The whole fleet made an assault on the beach at the Pt. Cruz Yacht Club and warriors in authentic (and dramatic) costume dashed to the beach and feigned aggression.

What is

that? A dinghy with a hang glider sail????

Wait a minute...

that dinghy is flying!

And here it comes...

in for a landing. Crazy? You bet!

Festival of Pacific Arts

Honiara was filled with tourists and peoples of almost 20 Pacific nations who came for the once each four year festival. This young maiden was from the USP in Fiji and was performing in a dance production called Drua, The Wave of Fire. This is Nei Te who is a young girl from Kiribati.


a human/bird character dancing with Uli, the young Fijian character who falls in love with Uli. USP dramatic arts personnel visited the Lau group to research the Drua culture wherein in the late 19th century collaborative efforts around the Pacific perfected the sail design of the canoes, allowing them to be fast.

Vesi Loa

Vesi is a tree that is used for making canoes, the character sang about protecting the tree for the future. The Tongan chief and the blind seer show concern as it turns out - about the coming storm...meaning mechanized vessels plying the seas - that would endanger the Drua culture.

Pan Pipes

of Makira province


character...blackbirding was the historic practice of capturing slaves from the Solomon Islands to work in the cane fields of Fiji or northern Australia.


pan pipes...these guys were very animated as they stomped and danced to the perky rhythms they made.

The bigger

pan pipers stood behind their pipes and beat them with the soles of recycled flip flops (no kidding).

Pacifika Stage

was one of the venues for dancing and performances during the Festival of the Pacific.


province's Lata contingent included older men with traditonal nose rings but also young boys, not yet pierced, who showed enthusiasm for performing their traditional dances.


Caledonia's carving - outside of their festival hut - was similar to their "native" flag.

Little participant

from RenBel (Rennell Bellona) province.


flanking the entrance to the Rennell Bellona province hut...this is a province settled by those of Polynesian descent.


male dancers were tattooed and outfitted with Polynesian tapas.


men danced around man, presumably the chief, and only to the beat of a drum.


ladies danced a merry dance... Makira is the province just SE of Guadalcanal province.

Frigate Dance

from a clan of Malaita


for the closing ceremony at the stadium...

Rapa Nui

Easter Island's carver at work. This carving was presented to the Solomon Island organizing committee during the closing ceremony.


Philip suffered a presumptive heart attack (later confirmed) in Nggela Sule Island where we had traveled just after the Festival of Pacific Arts. Chief John Ruka of Roderick Bay and Leslie - brought him back to Honiara and DAN TravelAssist insisted that he be evacuated. Not before we had taken him to the hospital for an EKG...a scary place.

Strapped in

and being monitored by Dr. Sue and Nurse Layne - oxygen, blood pressure, EKG - Philip was ready to fly. Leslie got to stand on the tarmac and talk with him as they prepared him for the flight to Australia.

A Leer Jet?

Only the very best for our Philip...thanks to DAN. The jet came from Darwin and picked up the medical personnel in Cairns and arrived in Honiara for Philip. It was two and a half hours back to Cairns Base Hospital and the CCU unit.

Vilu War Museum