Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Offerings of the Solomons, good and bad

Stuart was nice enough to let Matt tag along on one of
his fishing trips. Blue fin trevally.
We have now been in the Solomon Islands for over seven months. For most of our stay, we have barely seen any other cruising boats except for the one (and sometimes two) we travelled with. As the season comes to an end, more boats have been popping up for short stays in the islands here but we are still mostly on our own. That's why yesterday was unusual.

Long tailed snapper. They live at about 900 feet below the
surface so if you reel them up too quickly, their eyes pop out.
Matt was out on an all-day fishing trip on Stuart's tricked out fishing boat. In the morning, I answered a distress call from a boat that had recently checked in. It was stuck on a reef a few miles from our anchorage. Since I was alone with the boys, I dinghied around to inform the other cruising boats and Joe, the owner at Zipolo Habu resort of the situation.  The 2 other boats in the anchorage went over to see if they could help, but there was nothing much they could do except lend some moral support and wait for Mother Nature to bring the tide back.  Luckily the lagoon was dead flat and there were no waves to bash the boat around.  The boat waited about nine hours for the tide to come up that evening and then were able to float themselves off.


The tips of black tip reef sharks feeding on the fish guts
Later that afternoon, another recent arrival to the Solomons (just the evening before) called to ask whether they were on the right track for coming into the anchorage. Unfortunately, a local (who probably only had experience with the shallow draft long boats in use here) had given them some bad directions.  They were in the middle of a very shallow area with shallow coral heads strewn about. Most boats take a longer route, skirting the shallows. Fortunately, they were able to pick their way through slowly and safely to the anchorage. And then, to prove all things come in threes, the following day, Matt got on the radio to warn another boat that was also getting into similar dangerous territory.


The resort that we've been anchored near (Zipolo Habu) is really a fishing lodge at heart, and it attracts anglers keen on catching both the inshore and pelagic species that abound in the area (but have mostly been eluding us).  One of the benefits of all the anglers is a good supply of fresh fish.  Matt made sushi for everyone at the resort with fish donated by Chris (another resort guest) and Stuart. It was definitely the most sushi he has ever made (more than 30 rolls) and every last piece was eaten.  Matt was also lucky enough to be invited to join Stuart on one of his marathon all day fishing trips.  He caught a couple of good sized fish, so we have a decent supply in our newly rewired freezer (which seems to be behaving for now).

A big orb weaver. I had no idea of the variety of these little guys
until Conrad started taking these pictures.
Of course, just because the freezer seems to be working, it doesn't mean the repair fun has stopped.  Right after we started to breathe easy about the freezer, the generator decided to start spewing sea water out of the coolant reservoir. Without getting too technical, we can assure you that this is A Bad Thing. Ultimately we figured out that the stainless steel mesh in the raw water strainer had corroded, allowing sea grass and other contaminants to plug up the heat exchanger. The plugged up heat exchanger blocked the flow of  sea water, which had to go somewhere, and ended up bypassing the hose clamps that would otherwise seal the sea water from the coolant system.  After flushing and refilling the coolant, Matt fashioned a new strainer using no-see-um netting and we have a new (non-metallic!) one on order to be added to the boat load of items that my parents are shipping to us.

Within the next couple days we will head back to Munda to provision up and pick up our frozen goods from Muzi Boko. Then we plan to head out to some good diving spots while we wait for our various packages.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Perry crew! We are in Fiji, and may be headed to the Solomons next year. Thanks for all the info. I have a question for you as the editor of Good Old Boat magazine. Please contact me when you can at delviento Hotmail com. All the best, Michael

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