18 July 2009 | Rennel Island
Te'Nggano, the fresh water lake on Rennell Island, is a World Heritage Site and the largest raised atoll lake in the South Pacific. The entire island of Belona could fit inside Lake Te'Nggano. I was stoked to have an opportunity to go see it in person and the 3 hour walk down the dirt road through the jungle didn't put me off one bit. Chris agreed to stay in Avatai for the meeting with the committee while Cleo, Alison, and I went to see the lake. Joseph went with us as a guide. The walk to the lake was easy and once we arrived we met with Mike and Kasia who are volunteers working with the World Heritage Site. They have been on Rennell for almost 18 months and are very knowledgeable, hospitable, and all around nice people. They lent us some snorkel gear and offered some advice on how to enjoy the lake.
15 kilometers away, back in Avatai, Chris met with the Tehakatu'u Conservation Committee to ratify the Marine Protected Area and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding document that clarified the location of the MPA and OceansWatch involvement over the next few years. The transitional period which will initially reduce the fishing area should eventually allow the surrounding area to produce a greater yield.
A few members of the committee who are away currently will return to review the MOU and hopefully find it agreeable. The final piece of the puzzle is the respect from the local and neighboring communities which will really make the MPA a great success.