My Solomon Island trip was one of the most memorable and unforgettable holiday trips I ever had in South Pacific. It was a holiday spent in an island within a lagoon that made it memorable, and it was also a holiday where, for the first time in my life, I was bitten by a big tomcat in an island the day following my arrival, so yes, that made it unforgettable. The tomcat belonged to the owners of the resort where we stayed, and who I was told was the King of the resort – being fed three times a day with fresh catch fish, how could he not be? How did I survive a cat bite (insert fear of rabies) in an island with no medical clinic and miles away from the main land? But who is to be blamed for what had happened? My hubby said, it was my fault. Well, I will let you decide later till you get to the part of the story of this King (eyes rolling).
Solomon Island. An archipelago located in the South Pacific consisting of six major islands and more than 900 smaller mountainous islands. Solomon Island (Islas Salomon) was named by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendena, the first European to visit the island (Source: www.wikipedia.com). Accordingly, people have lived in the Solomon Islands since at least 2000 B.C. The island were not visited again for about 200 years. In 1886, Great Britain and Germany divided the Solomon islands between them. During World war II, the Japanese invaded the islands that gave rise to the famous battle of Guadalcanal, one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific. In 1945, the British gained control of the island. Solomon Island became self governing island in 1976 and in 1978 gained their independence (Source: www.factmonster.com).
Honiara Arrival. I arrived together with my hubby at Honiara Airport via Air Pacific from Port Vila, Vanuatu on a direct flight with an approximate flying time of 1 hour and 55 minutes. Honiara international Airport is located in Guadalcanal island. From Honiara which is the capital of Solomon Islands, my hubby and I flew to Munda province on a domestic flight via Solomon Airlines. In 55 minutes, we arrived at Munda airport.
Munda Province Arrival. Munda is the largest community on the island of New Georgia in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands consisting of a number of villages. It is located at Munda Point, at the southwestern tip of the western end of New Georgia Island, with the large Roviana Lagoon just offshore (www.flysolomons.com). From Munda Airport, we headed towards Noro wharf and took a 20 minute boat ride going to Lola Island.
Accommodation. We stayed at Zipolo Habu Resort located in Lola Island. This island is situated within the crystal blue water of Vona Vona Lagoon. Zipolo Habu Resort is known for its fishing activities but there are many exciting and adventurous activities that the resort offers from diving to boat tours (www.zipolohabu.com.sb).
During our stay in Lola Island, we got the chance to visit Bikiki Island and did the rainforest tour.
Bikiki Island. Our resort provided us a free transport to visit this small uninhabited island. It was a short five minute boat ride from the resort. We spent half day in this island after which, they came to pick us up before lunch time. We spent our morning snorkeling, swimming on a white sand beach and walking, exploring around the island and relaxing by the beach just watching the blue ocean.
Rainforest Tour. We did a boat ride lagoon tour around Vona Vona. We explored the lowland rainforest watching birds and we were expecting (not really) to see saltwater crocodiles, although there were no crocodiles on sight when we were there. The lagoon water was so calm and some parts were nestled with stilt houses, and mangroves. In the other parts of the island we noticed plenty of betel nut trees. This did not surprise me, since in Solomon, both men and women loved to chew on betel nut (writing about Honiara trip soon). If you check the Rainforest Tour on the website of Zipolo Habu Resort, the back view photo of a couple on the boat, that was me and my hubby when we explored the area.
The Cat King Story. I was not able to take a photo of this cat, unfortunately. The story: I was up early morning and headed towards the resort’s wharf with my hubby. While waiting for the restaurant to open so we can have breakfast, I decided to sit by the platform of the wharf to catch the sunrise, and watch some small sharks swimming on the blue ocean and to listen to the slapping of the waves. My husband was sitting on a bench reading his book. This big orange tomcat approached me and was bunting my right arm. I petted him because he really seemed to be a sweet big cat. I then started teasing him by pushing him to the water but with no intention of really doing so. I stopped and still he bunted me before he decided to walk away and leave.
I was just there sitting and staring at the water. Little did I know that he came back (God knows why I did not even notice), and the next thing I felt was a sudden pang of hard painful bite on my right arm. The cat bit me! I thought we were good before he left since he bunted me before leaving. Obviously, he could not take the teasing. And decided to come back for his revenge. So I was just sitting still by the wharf, crying of pain while pressing the wound bite on my arm in the hope to remove whatever rabies there was or was not while watching the cat slowly walking away like nothing happened.
I swear, the cat never showed his face to me again until we left the island! My hubby said, ‘if you were in England, and you would poke a gun at the Queen, what do you think will happen to you? You were told that that cat is the king of this resort, untouchable, and yet, you wanted to throw him into the water, what do you expect?’… Fortunately, there is no rabies case in the Pacific. I am not sure if I can say ‘lucky me,’ nonetheless, I learned my lesson, the hard way though.
Getting Visa. For Filipinos traveling to Solomon Island, travel visa is required. Since there was no existing embassy or consular office in Vanuatu (where I was staying back then), my visa application was sent to Solomon’s consulate office via fax.