11 December 2008 | The Western Province
It was another mellow day aboard Swingin' on a Star. We headed out in the morning to go visit Noro by dinghy. This is supposedly the cheapest place in the area to get diesel due to the fish cannery there and frequent ships calling. We got to the resort to check on some laundry we had dropped off but after a short walk around couldn't locate anyone. Some kids were playing on the beach and the gardeners were hard at work but AJ had left for Gizo and neither Joe nor Lisa were anywhere to be found. It must be nice to run a small resort!
When we got back to the dock a rain shower had closed in. It was dumping in no time so we stayed under the palm leaf roofed picnic area at the resort until the rain stopped. Meanwhile some Solomon Police showed up in a high performance RIB. The got in just before the rain heated up. When things cleared they took a bunch of photos and split.
We moved back to the big boat in the break as well and then another shower came through. The afternoon cleared and became beautiful and sunny, producing many amps of solar and a cool breeze. We had missed our window though, so Noro will have to wait until tomorrow. Perhaps the day after that we will head on to Gizo.
I'm not leaving until I get to visit Skull island though! The Ni-Vanuatu (people of Vanuatu) seem pretty proud of the fact that they have consumed more humans than any other nationality. The last documented case of cannibalism in Vanuatu was only 30 years ago. The Solomon Islanders, on the other hand, pride themselves on their head hunting. In the day, they claim to be the most feared head hunters in the world. In fact the dreaded Ingava lived just miles from here in his coral fortress with quite a collection of noggins.
One of the Marovo lagoon locals told me that the other islands feared their people. Any time they wanted some new heads they would just shoot over to Isabel or Choiseul in their war canoes with the ominous nguzunguzus (faces perched on severed heads) on the prow and crush the meek folk of the other islands.
I don't know how much of this is fact but I do know that there are skull shrines and caves all around here where the industrious top loppers stashed the goods. Chief's heads were particularly prized and ended up in venerated positions within the shrines. The island next to Lola has one such shrine. We hope to visit tomorrow but we have to figure out who to pay the "kastom" fee to (entry fee charged by the landowner).