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By No owner — last modified Jun 12, 2018 06:03 PM

 Solomon Islands - Profile

Facts

  • The Solomon Islands are a double chain of islands in the Western Pacific stretching from Vanuatu to Bougainville. There are over 900 islands, the main ones being Guadalcanal, Choiseul, Malaita, New Georgia and Santa Isabel.
  • The Solomons' culture, or custom, is rich and varied, from wood-carving to beliefs such as shark-worshipping. Many islanders still live in the traditional way.
  • The authorities are making a determined effort to preserve this way of life and they enjoy the full support of the customary chiefs in their endeavours. Visiting yachts are welcomed in most villages, particularly by children who like to trade fruit or shells for ball-point pens, felt-tips or balloons.
  • Some villages will ask for payment for anchoring. Ensure that you are speaking with a village chief before proferring payment. If you have an "instant camera" you may suggest taking a picture of the payment being made in case there are further questions.
  • In many isolated villages one can trade with the locals to obtain fresh produce, fish, carvings and shells. One should take along a supply of useful objects such as fishhooks, fishing line, matches, sugar, rice, tobacco, clothing and shoes, coffee, soap, needles, cotton and rope.

Security

The political situation in the Solomon Islands is now more stable, but visitors should still obtain the latest travel advice from their relevant government agencies. It is still not advisable to travel to rural parts of Guadalcanal, however islands that have been avoided by cruisers in recent years, in particular those in Malaita Province, are keen to see boats returning and have worked hard on improving security for visiting cruisers.

Whilst the majority of Solomon Island villagers are helpful and friendly, there have been recent reports of burglaries from boats and aggressive boardings in and around Tulaghi and in Honiara and Gizo.

Advice from cruisers is to anchor outside villages where you are visible, do not leave anything lying loose on deck and ensure you lock all hatches at night time. Ask the chief of the village if you will be safe and ask him to please look out for your safety. Most villagers welcome yachts and appreciate your visit and will go out of their way to help you.

Useful reports on security by cruisers who have been to the Solomons:

SY Adina have a list of all the anchorages they visited and advice on security from when they visited in 2015. They did a lot of research in planning their route and did not encounter any problems. Details available at www.yachtadina.co.uk/sailingnotes

SY Kelaerin's thoughts and experiences re. yacht security in PNG and the Solomons following a 2014 visit.

Last updated May 2016.

Weather

The Solomons experience high temperatures and January to March are the months of heaviest rainfall. April to November is the season of the SE trades, while the rest of the year is the NW monsoon, which is also the cyclone season. Long periods of calm weather are not uncommon among the islands.

The Western Province is reputed to be safe from cyclones.

Solomon Islands Weather Forecast.

A useful guide to South Pacific weather resources complied by a Noonsite contributor, Rory Garland.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

Central Province: Florida Islands (Ngella Islands)

Choiseul Island: Choiseul Island

Guadalcanal: Honiara *

Outer Islands/Atolls: Lata, Ndendo Island (Santa Cruz Islands) , Ontong Java Atoll

Russell Islands: Yandina *

Western Province (New Georgia): Gizo , Liapari , Munda (New Georgia Island) , Noro (New Georgia Island) *

* indicates port of entry

Courage Winter
Courage Winter says:
Jun 11, 2018 02:17 PM

Tikopia, Soloman Islands, Lil Explorers Catamaran, December 2017:
We arrived in Tikopia after a pleasant two day sail from the Banks in Vanuatu. We used Google maps to pick out a sandy anchorage where there is a large indent in the Reef. We anchored in about 65 feet of water on sand with good holding.
Within an hour we had a handful of dugouts offering various fruits and vegetables for trade.
We have heard about there being an anchorage fee, so in the hope of avoiding this we put together a nice gift of a bush knife, rice, shirt, and Raman soup for the chief. We met with the chief and had a fantastic visit with him. At the chiefs house we were introduced to some of the customs and history of the island.
There are four chiefs on the island, each managing a section of the island. The houses are built on the ground with entryways only big enough to crawl through. Whenever entering a house you must crawl to show respect for the owner, and when departing you must crawl backwards never showing your "stern" to the people inside the house. Exiting a house was always a fun activity as our five young children backed into each other as they pushed and squirmed to be the first out outside.
We were there for Christmas and had a truly delightful time going with the church choir singing carols at many of the houses, and watching the local Christmas dance.
We had a truly delightful time at Tikopia, with a very secure anchorage, an easy dingy pass through the reef, soft sandy beaches, and wonderful people.
We were not asked for an anchorage fee, though some of the people asked if we had been asked for a fee. Even when we visited Anuta later we were asked if Tikopia had collected a fee from us.

momouse
momouse says:
Jun 29, 2017 01:24 AM

Hambere Village, Kolombangara. We had children board the boat in the middle of the day while we were away snorkelling. In plain view of the village and another boat the children broke the lock and entered the boat stealing several items. The adults in the village did not want to hear about it and told us to "get lost". An incident that marred an otherwise fantastic time cruising the Solomon Islands.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 07, 2016 01:58 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Yawana:
Noro (New Georgia) is now the preferred port of entry into the Western Province of the Solomons, as Gizo has been experiencing reports of theft, and the Immigration officer is extremely unco-operative and is rarely available.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 08, 2015 05:46 PM

Read about SY INTI's project to distribute donated school supplies to remote areas in PNG and the Solomons adjacent, under "related news". If you are planning on cruising this part of the South Pacific, you can help.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 08, 2015 05:42 PM

Posted on behalf of Graeme Ward, SY INTI:
Our experiences through the Solomons were all good, it was quiet with few yachts and not much tourism.
It is difficult to know where to avoid, but we read noonsite reports, asked the locals and stayed away from larger centres. Anywhere we were unsure, we still felt it OK if we didn't stay more than 1 night, especially south of Honiara on Guadalcanal.
The Santa Cruz area was very friendly. Utupua Island love yachts, trade for mud crabs and huge oysters! They all sail their canoes and old sails/ tarps are gold.
We only have good things to say about Liapari, close to Ghizo. Noel and Rose offer a very well priced service with a safe, secure and lovely anchorage, we had no problems leaving the yacht there.
The Western Province has much to see although Ghizo itself is not pretty. Mono island, closer to Bougainville, had some trouble with loggers, but Falami village is safe and they were careful to keep yachts happy.
The Solomons is definitely the poor cousin to Vanuatu, it's very underdeveloped with regards to tourism, infrastructure and aid. The places we visited appreciate yachts, the locals have few ways of making income, to the point some of the kids wear barely rags. It's moving see how much it means when they can trade food from their gardens for something that really helps them. It is a pity a few bad incidents have made a beautiful unspoiled destination so challenging to cruisers!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 23, 2015 07:32 PM

Posted on behalf of Philip and Leslie of SV Carina:
For those looking for a genuine Solomon Islands' cultural experience, please visit Roderick Bay in Nggela Sule Island. Chief John Ruka and his clan have announced the dates for their 2016 Bonina Vale ni Vaka Seloga - festival of sailing yachts - for June 24 - 26, 2016.
Please spread the word. This is an intimate affair and you will quickly be enveloped in their warmth and benefit from their sincere generosity.
For more information, photos and navigation tips visit their webpage at:
roderickbayhideaway.sv-carina.org

Chris Bone
Chris Bone says:
Mar 18, 2015 06:35 PM

Anyone interested in cruising in the Temotu area please feel free to contact me. I have spent 5 seasons helping the lovely people there with OceansWatch. [email protected]

Meillia Kee
Meillia Kee says:
Feb 08, 2015 12:07 PM

We sailed briefly through the Solomons with our three kids aged 9,7 and 6 in Sept 2014. It was fantastic, like being in a national geographic magazine, with beautiful scenery and interesting people. We had no difficulties. Please note we stopped at very few places due to time pressures. We avoided Guadalcanal, Malaita, Florida and Choiseul Islands on advise of some cruisers who had spent a hurricane season in the Solomons. Their advice for safe anchoring was to *always introduce yourself to the village chief, *to say what you would like to trade for, *to ask places that it was ok to go and where not to go, and *tell them that they had great kids who were traders not beggars. We followed this and it was great as then the locals knew what we were interested in trading for, generally fresh fruit. It was fascinating being shown around and people were curious and friendly. We cleared in in Noro which was straight forward once we found the office. There is a hefty fee charged per metre for any vessel, it seems yachts are treated the same as a commercial boat. The official was quite apologetic about having to apply it to us. We approached Noro from the south through the lagoon and the Diamond Straits, absolutely beautiful, and the Navionics charts were pretty accurate. Entrance to anchorage near the fresh food market was marked by two sticks. Local long boats zipped in and out through there like buses. Noel and Rosie run a great boatyard in Liapari. We cleared out from Ghizo. We didn't anchor off the town but off a nearby island in the harbour. In all anchorages we took precautions, diesel cans were locked up, nothing left loose on deck and took the dinghy up each night. Either we were in the right places or we were lucky but we never had any cause for concern at night. There were so many places that were recommended to us that we skipped that we are keen to return to the Pacific back through the Solomons and spend much longer there.

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