It feels like the world’s end. Imagine just you, the ocean, tropical rainforest and traditional leaf hut villages. Longing to go off the beaten track? There is no beaten track.. :) We were lucky to win a trip to one of the last South Pacific frontiers, the Solomon islands. Armed with a Lomography Spinner 360 and a Sprocket Rocket we went on an adventure to the most remote and secretive islands you can imagine. And guess what? You’re about to discover a glimpse of our experiences...
How the hell did we end up here? It all started at the beginning of March when we decided to enter a competition called 6x6x6 that aims to combine charity with travelling. 6 teams travelling on 6 continents for 6 charities. We shot a stop motion animation and were selected for the finals.
The stop motion animation
After a hectic month (in which we managed to raise lots of money and media attention by hitchhiking 666 km through the Netherlands), we made it all the way to Australia and the Solomon islands! We were now officially called Team Oceania ;).
Our hitchhiking adventure
During our trip in Australia and the Solomon islands we had to fulfill different missions and make videos of this. Some very silly, some serious ones. Our main goal was to visit, promote and raise money for a project called the San Isidro care centre in Aruligo. This project supports deaf students (age 12 and up) to improve their skills in building, gardening, life skills and cooking. Besides that they learn about sign language, English and business. This is incredibly important since this is the only facility for handicapped children aged 12+ on the Solomon islands.
Honiara, the capital of the Solomon islands situated on Guadacanal, was the epicentre of civil unrest and ethnic tension from 1999 till 2003. These days riots are hard to find, thanks to foreign aid. Honiara is not a beauty queen, but give her some time and you will learn to appreciate her hospitality. Hang around the atmospheric wharf, wade through the colourful market and buy a traditional palm leaf bag luring at you from a ‘bag tree’ next to the main road. Oh, no worries if you run out of film, you can get heaps of expired film from the local Asian grocery stores.
Outside Honiara the island has the genuine look of a lost world. To get out of the town a 4WD is a necessity. The road conditions are variable, to say the least… And traffic lights? Ha, they never made it here.
Malaita is the second biggest island in this archipelago. From Honiara it takes you 3 hours by ferry to reach Auki. Take a canoe from Auki to explore the Langa Langa lagoon, which is renowned for shell-money making and shipbuilding. Also, you will finds heaps of artificial islands – created to avoid the bad ass malaria mosquitos. Some of these islands are so overcrowded that people say it’s impossible for all the inhabitants to stay at the islands at the same time or it will sink. Hm.
Scene: Langa Langa lagoon at dusk. Close up: you’re chewing on a fresh bit of coconut, sitting in a canoe heading towards a leaf hut village full of huts on high poles, while a small fleet of traditional fishermen is gliding past on the calm waters. Soundtrack: cheerful songs of children from nearby villages. Paradise.
We were lucky enough to visit one more island, Savo. Savo has gained world fame for its exotic flora and fauna. In particularly the megapodes – a cartoonish kind of bird. Make sure you visit their volcanic breeding field in time (think: 5 am), since we didn’t. These birds dig down to about 90 cm, where the temperature is ideal to incubate their eggs. Well, it was fun as well to just see their massive field full of holes ;) On our way to Savo we spotted heaps of dolphins frolicking around our boat, magical. Funny fact: cannibalism isn’t an extinct phenomenon here.
We spent just one week at the Solomon islands, but it was an experience that left a deep impression. The warm people, the tropical nature, the notorious animal life, the colours and the smells… And the best part, there are no crowds to share in the experience. So try to keep this a well kept secret, dear reader! No doubt the Solomon islands will cast their spell on you too.
Daphne & Anna
Enjoy our video and photo gallery below!