Double Independence Day Celebrations
12 July 2012 | Honiara, Guadalcanal, SI
A big deviation in our summer from the usual fun and celebrating for Independence Day in Bow, Washinton...We returned to Honiara from a month out at Rodrick in time to go to The 11th Festival of Pacific Arts. We noticed in the program for "The Village", the centerpoint for the Arts Festival, that they would be honoring American Independence Day at noon, so we packed up and went to the festival. It was a very sunny day, making it sweltering hot and dusty, and we managed to find the giant trampled grass field, "Pasifika Stage" where a band from New York City would be playing! Allen had taken the flag off of our stern that morning after we had sang our national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, with some of the locals working ashore noticing and clapping and cheering when we were done, and he attached it to a new bow that he had made in the village (as in bow and arrow). Of course the boys wanted to take turns carrying it on the way to the field and there were thousands of locals pressing in both directions so it was a challenge to keep them from poking anyone. We ended up sitting front and center of the stage and unfurled our flag and waved it to the beat of "The Twist," a Beatles song, and Bob Marley reggae! The American Samoa and Hawaiian dancers danced on stage and tried to get the crowd up and dancing to no avail. Quite a contrast from the wild and dancing crowd we had experienced at the Letonga Village a week earlier for All Saints Day!
Upon returning to the Point Cruz Yacht Club, we were amazed to find a large contingent of men from the Western Province re-enacting battles on the beach from their tomoko canoes. These are long war canoes painted black, marked with white paint, white feathers, and carved prows designating head hunters, warriors, or other special titles. The paddlers were also very black like the canoes, wore breech cloths, and had white paint across their torsos and faces. It was rather terrifying. The Police boat was circling offshore making one think that they were worried that these warriors may choose the occasion to start another up-rising! After several more races round the small harbor by twos, they again launched an attack and this time they grabbed people who were standing or sitting nearby, Morgan being one of the first ones, much to his terror and a good thing not noticing that his mom had also been thrown over a warrior's shoulder and hauled off to the last canoe, went kicking and screaming, jumped out, and swam back to shore to his dad and Wyatt! When I was dumped into the canoe they ordered me to paddle and I did! Then they noticed I was keeping time with them and I told them I learned by paddling to the garden in Rodrick Bay, Florida Islands! Needless to say I hollered at Dallas when we zoomed near Love Song, and the normally wildly barking dog simply wagged her tail back. Back at the Yacht Club the canoes then offered rides to others for a small donation. It was a really awesome ending to the afternoon.
The Festival also blew off fireworks every evening, however they weren't very visible over the trees from the cabintop of Love Song, but on the 7th, which was the Solomon Islands' Independence Day they had a giant fireworks show right off of Point Cruz and we were right below them then! The Yacht Club was also decorated very festively with flags, balloons, palm fronds, and shredded fronds to make grass like hangings. There was music, dancing, and a lot of people to mix with too.
The first annual Rodrick Bay Yacht Festival is on the 16th and 17th, so we will have more to tell after that. Hopefully the SSB radio will keep working as it's troubling us at the moment and that's how we send sailmail and blogs! We will really miss the Solomon Islands, but are ready to continue our westward journey...