Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – the town of Amalfi, viewed from the east

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #1 – the town of Amalfi, viewed from the east

 

On our third day anchored off shore from Amalfi, Italy, a group of us took the tender into the pier in Amalfi and then headed east for a hike along, and up, the Amalfi Coast.  We gained a very different perspective from the day before when we were out on the water, moving quickly along the coast, somewhat removed from the details of the villages and natural wonders of the coast.

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #2

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #3

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 -- the Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #4 — the Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons

 

“The Amalfi coast is famed for its production of Limoncello liqueur and the area is a known cultivator of lemons.  The correct name is sfusato amalfitano, and they are typically long and at least double the size of other lemons, with a thick and wrinkled skin and a sweet and juicy flesh without many pips.  It is common to see lemons growing in the terraced gardens along the entire Amalfi coast between February and October.” — Wikipedia

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 – lemon groves terraced on the steep hillside of the coast east of the village of Amalfi

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #5 – lemon groves terraced on the steep hillside of the coast east of the village of Amalfi

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #6 -- from its forested cliffs to its sparkling blue sea and the winding roads in between, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy_s great natural wonders

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #6 — from its forested cliffs to its sparkling blue sea and the winding roads in between, the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s great natural wonders

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #7 -- our ship shrouded in the coastal fog

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #7 — our ship shrouded in the coastal fog

 

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #8 – returning to the village of Amalfi, we had an outstanding luncheon at an off-the-beaten-path (and not in the guide books) ristorante, Taverna Buonv

Hiking the Amalfi Coast, Italy, #8 – returning to the village of Amalfi, we had an outstanding luncheon at an off-the-beaten-path (and not in the guide books) ristorante, Taverna Buonvicino, including some great pastas

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hiking on Elba (island), Italy and Eat Local: Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba

The slopes of Elba’s highest peak, Monte Capanne

The slopes of Elba’s highest peak, Monte Capanne, were the setting for a round-trip, guided hike from Marciana Alta, the island’s loftiest village, Elba (island), Italy; the yellow “baskets” on the slope are the gondola servicing the peak (hidden in the morning clouds)

 

A small group of us from the ship, accompanied by a local hiking guide, journeyed to the western mountains on Elba for a day’s outing.  The slopes of Elba’s highest peak were the setting for a round-trip, guided hike from Marciana Alta, the island’s loftiest village.  The trailhead was about an hour’s drive from the pier, on the northern side of Monte Capanne, the island’s highest mountain.  We hiked across green fields in the Pedalta Valley and into a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, eventually making our way uphill to the Hermitage of San Cerbone, about 1,740 feet (530 m) above sea level.  Built by the Benedictines around 1421 A.D., the small church was restored in 1993.  Although our trek did not reach Capanne’s peak, we had panoramic views of Elba and the seaside village of Marciana Marina and passed under the gondala for hikers going up to the top of the mountain.  After hiking up approximately 3 miles (5 km), we headed back down to the medieval village of Marciana Alta, passing by the Pisan Fortress. In Marciana Alta we had a multi-course feast of a luncheon at Osteria del Noce, specializing in local seafood and pasta.  We ordered local wines and the local specialties, particularly the homemade pastas.  Everything was delicious and we were quite impressed with the quality of all the dishes, high up in the mountains.  The quantities certainly were right for our group, too, famished after a long morning of hiking on Mount Capanne.  We probably consumed more calories that we burned off that morning – par for the course in Italy!

 

The hiking trail went up through a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, Elba (island), Italy

The hiking trail went up through a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, Elba (island), Italy

 

Our hike afforded excellent views of the island and the Mediterranean Sea, Elba (island), Italy; the coastal town is Marciana Marina

Our hike afforded excellent views of the island and the Mediterranean Sea, Elba (island), Italy; the coastal town is Marciana Marina

 

As we descended Monte Capanna into the hillside village of Marciana Alta, we passed by the Pisan Fortreess, Elba (island), Italy

As we descended Monte Capanna into the hillside village of Marciana Alta, we passed by the Pisan Fortreess, Elba (island), Italy

 

To begin our small hiking group luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy, we were served some homemade bread with a nice bottle of local vino rosso (Red wine) – grown a

To begin our small hiking group luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy, we were served some homemade bread with a nice bottle of local vino rosso (Red wine) – grown and produced in town (Marciana Alta)

 

Lightly fried local sardines with a pine nut sauce was a starter in our luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Lightly fried local sardines with a pine nut sauce was a starter in our luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Squid and bean salad, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Squid and bean salad, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Tomatoes topped with thin slices of tuna, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Tomatoes topped with thin slices of tuna, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Fresh clams, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Fresh clams, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Steamed mussels, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Steamed mussels, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Linguine with a tomato fresh crab sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Linguine with a tomato fresh crab sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Spaghetti with fresh clams, mussels and tomatoes, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Spaghetti with fresh clams, mussels and tomatoes, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Homemade linguine with truffles, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Homemade linguine with truffles, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

A local Tuscan special pasta, trofie (corkscrew-shaped pasta), in a tomato sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

A local Tuscan special pasta, trofie (corkscrew-shaped pasta), in a tomato sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

From a distance, the main island of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, about 354 kilometers (220 miles) off Brazil's northeast coast Brazil, is recognizable by its largest volcanic pea

From a distance, the main island of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, about 354 kilometers (220 miles) off Brazil’s northeast coast Brazil, is recognizable by its largest volcanic peak, Pico Mount, viewed here from the west

 

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil is a volcanic archipelago of 21 islands about 354 kilometers (220 miles) off Brazil’s northeast coast.  It is named after its largest island, a protected national marine park and ecological sanctuary with a jagged coastline and diverse ecosystems.  Fernando de Noronha is renowned for its undeveloped beaches, and for scuba diving and snorkeling. Sea turtles, rays, dolphins and reef sharks swim in its warm, clear waters.  Fiercely protected by the local environmentalist organization, these pristine islands and ecosystem are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a peaceful haven for the lucky few who visit its tranquil shores.  The quaint neighborhoods of Vila dos Remédios and nearby Vila do Trinta hold a few well-preserved remnants from the colonial period.

 

At Baia de Sueste (Sueste Bay) we went snorkeling and had the opportunity to see a number of turtles and lobsters (hiding in holes on the ocean bottom), along with an array of tropical f

At Baia de Sueste (Sueste Bay) we went snorkeling and had the opportunity to see a number of turtles and lobsters (hiding in holes on the ocean bottom), along with an array of tropical fish, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

Our truck drove us a few kilometers (miles) from Baia de Sueste to a point overlooking Praia do Leão (Lion Beach), one of the archipelago_s most beautiful and pristine beaches, Ferna

Our truck drove us a few kilometers (miles) from Baia de Sueste to a point overlooking Praia do Leão (Lion Beach), one of the archipelago’s most beautiful and pristine beaches, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

We were then driven across the island to the western side to a nature park with trails through the heavily forested preserve, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

We were then driven across the island to the western side to a nature park with trails through the heavily forested preserve, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

A beautiful local tree on our walk to the coast, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

A beautiful local tree on our walk to the coast, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The view from the trail at Mirante dos Golfinhos (Golfinhos Viewpoint) to the southwest, with the tip of the main island – Ponta de Sapata – visible in the distance from the cliff, F

The view from the trail at Mirante dos Golfinhos (Golfinhos Viewpoint) to the southwest, with the tip of the main island – Ponta de Sapata – visible in the distance from the cliff, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The cliffs at Mirante dos Golfinhos (Golfinhos Viewpoint), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The cliffs at Mirante dos Golfinhos (Golfinhos Viewpoint), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

Coastal rock formations give evidence of the island_s volcanic origins, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Coastal rock formations give evidence of the island’s volcanic origins, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

This local tree_s bark and leaves are much more poisonous to humans and animals than American poison oak and poison ivy – fortunately many trailside trees were hung with cautionary w

This local tree’s bark and leaves are much more poisonous to humans and animals than American poison oak and poison ivy – fortunately many trailside trees were hung with cautionary warning signs, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

A tour boat in the bay off Praia do Sancho (Sancho Beach), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

A tour boat in the bay off Praia do Sancho (Sancho Beach), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The “two brothers” (Morro Dos Dois Irmãos) rock formations, just north of Baia dos Porcos and Praia do Sancho, off Praia do Cacimba do Padre, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The “two brothers” (Morro Dos Dois Irmãos) rock formations, just north of Baia dos Porcos and Praia do Sancho, off Praia do Cacimba do Padre, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The “two brothers” and one “sister” (the girlfriend of a touring photographer), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The “two brothers” and one “sister” (the girlfriend of a touring photographer), Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

A weather beaten side window of the island_s old church, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

A weather beaten side window of the island’s old church, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The interior of the old church, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The interior of the old church, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

The parade ground (with canons) in front of the colonial administration building, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

The parade ground (with canons) in front of the colonial administration building, Vila dos Remédios, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #1

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #1

 

We anchored off Aghiyuk Island and took a tender ashore for a couple hours of hiking from the black rock beach up to a couple of saddles in the hills that gave us excellent views of the beach and cliffs on the opposite side of the island.  Aghiyuk Island is the northern most and largest of the Semidi Islands.   It has high dramatic rock formations and its gentler slopes are covered with ankle to mid-shin high vegetation.  The location is well known for its abundance of seabirds, marine mammals, and the marine resources upon which they rely.  The Semidi Islands are a group of islands of the state of Alaska, United States, lying offshore in the Gulf of Alaska.  The islands are part of Kodiak Island Borough and are located southwest of Kodiak Island, about halfway between the Alaska Peninsula mainland and Chirikof Island.

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #2

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #2

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #3

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #3

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #4

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #4

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #5

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #5

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #6

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #6

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #7

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #7

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #8

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #8

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #9

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #9

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #10

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #10

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #11

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #11

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #12

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #12

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #13

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #13

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #14

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #14

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #15

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #15

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #16

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #16

 

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA -- #17

Aghiyuk Island, Semidi Islands, Alaska, USA — #17

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Stanley Park is one of the city's main tourist destinations, attracting approximately 8 million visitors each year, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Stanley Park is one of the city’s main tourist destinations, attracting approximately 8 million visitors each year, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; this panorama of some of downtown’s residential high rises was photographed from the Seawall east of the Vancouver Rowing Club on Coal Harbour

 

“Ideally situated on a peninsula at the northwestern edge of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Stanley Park is one of the city’s main tourist destinations, attracting approximately 8 million visitors each year.  Featuring lovely beaches, miles of well-maintained paved and dirt trails, Canada’s largest aquarium and an array of can’t-miss kid-friendly spots (including a pool, water park, miniature railway and more), this 400-hectare (1,000-acre) haven is recognized as one of the greatest urban parks in the world.   As Vancouver’s first park, with its ever-blooming gardens, pristine coastal areas and roughly 500,000 cedar, fir and hemlock trees, Stanley Park has continued to live up to its “greenspace” designation for almost 130 years.  For these reasons and more, this tranquil oasis is the perfect city escape.” – http://www.tourismvancouver.com

 

Sailboats and yachts in the marina at Coal Harbour east of the Vancouver Rowing Club, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sailboats and yachts in the marina at Coal Harbour east of the Vancouver Rowing Club, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are BC's most visited tourist attraction, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are BC’s most visited tourist attraction, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

A seaplane is visible flying toward North Vancouver from our vantage point on the Seawall walk on the east side of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

A seaplane is visible flying toward North Vancouver from our vantage point on the Seawall walk on the east side of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

“Stanley Park is consistently ranked number 1 in the world!  And the spectacular 9 kilometer (5.6 miles) Seawall – the city’s most popular recreation spot – is a huge part of that: stunning views of downtown’s skyline, Lions Gate Bridge, English Bay, sandy beaches and lush, old-growth forest.  Paved and mainly flat, the Seawall is divided for your safety: one side for pedestrians, the other for cyclists/roller bladers.” – Official Map + Guide to Vancouver’s Stanley Park

 

The Lions Gate Bridge with West Vancouver visible in the background, viewed from the Seawall walk on the middle of the east side of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Lions Gate Bridge with West Vancouver visible in the background, viewed from the Seawall walk on the middle of the east side of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

Colorful mudflats at low tide visible from the Seawall walk along Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Colorful mudflats at low tide visible from the Seawall walk along Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

The industrial area on the north shore of English Bay between North Vancouver and West Vancouver is slated for redevelopment in the coming decades (to become residential), seen from the

The industrial area on the north shore of English Bay between North Vancouver and West Vancouver is slated for redevelopment in the coming decades (to become residential), seen from the Seawall walk along Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the yellow material is sulfur destined for export

 

The Lions Gate Bridge viewed from the Seawall walk along Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Lions Gate Bridge viewed from the Seawall walk along Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 

Everyone reaching Prospect Point at the northern tip of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is surprised to find the tree growing out of the top of the rock column

Everyone reaching Prospect Point at the northern tip of Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is surprised to find the tree growing out of the top of the rock column

 

We had an excellent luncheon of local seafood at the Teahouse (Restaurant), Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, that was originally built as a garrison and officer_s mes

We had an excellent luncheon of local seafood at the Teahouse (Restaurant), Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, that was originally built as a garrison and officer’s mess during the Second World War when Ferguson Point was a military installation

 

The ducks in Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, were oblivious to the many visitors hiking along the North Lagoon Trail through the park

The ducks in Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, were oblivious to the many visitors hiking along the North Lagoon Trail through the park

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, Washington, USA, is named for the often-powerful winds that blow across the Olympic Mountain Range_s backbone (panorama)

Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, Washington, USA, is named for the often-powerful winds that blow across the Olympic Mountain Range’s backbone (panorama)

 

Hurricane Ridge is a mountainous area in Olympic National Park in northwestern Washington State, about an hour’s drive from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  At an elevation of 5,242 feet (1,598 meters), Hurricane Ridge can be accessed year-round.  In the summer there are hiking trails, although in early July we found several trails closed due to snow on the trails.  The trails offer spectacular views (see photographs, below).  In the winter, downhill skiing is offered at the family oriented hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area

 

Looking east with the Strait of Juan de Fuca barely visible on the left (north) side of the photograph; Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Looking east with the Strait of Juan de Fuca barely visible on the left (north) side of the photograph; Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

The Olympic Peninsula contains coast, forest and mountain ecosystems that combine to create a spectacular wilderness area.  The Olympic Peninsula is home to eight Native American tribes that developed complex hunter-gatherer societies and continue to keep their traditions alive.  European explorers who ventured here in the late 1700s heralded the way for homesteaders.  The Olympics were set aside as a national monument in 1909 and further protected as Olympic National Park in 1938.  Today the park is internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, testimony to the rich resources of the region.

 

Rolling hills in front of the mountain ridge of snow-capped peaks, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Rolling hills in front of the mountain ridge of snow-capped peaks, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

Purple wild lupine on one of the hiking trails on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Purple wild lupine on one of the hiking trails on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

A view from one of the hiking trail summits at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

A view from one of the hiking trail summits at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

Snow-capped peaks nicely framed by the tall conifers on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USASnow-capped peaks nicely framed by the tall conifers on Hurricane Ridge, Ol

Snow-capped peaks nicely framed by the tall conifers on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

One of several deer roaming the meadows on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

One of several deer roaming the meadows on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

The lupines in the meadow provided quite a contrast with the snow capped peaks above the timberline at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

The lupines in the meadow provided quite a contrast with the snow capped peaks above the timberline at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2017 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hiking on Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

Our mid-day hike across the island took us to the second village by the coast where we had a chance to met villagers and visit the two remaining historic “spirit houses”, Santa Ana,

Our mid-day hike across the island took us to the second village by the coast where we had a chance to met villagers and visit the two remaining historic “spirit houses”, Santa Ana,  Solomon Islands

 

The first part of our morning on Santa Ana (also known as Owaraha or Owa Raha), Solomon Islands, was spent meeting the local islanders and participating in “retail therapy” (shopping in their open air, artisan market) and then watching a quite varied series of traditional ceremonial dances by dancers from Santa Ana and some neighboring islands.  Afterwards we did a mid-day hike across the island to the second village by the coast.  Along the way, at the top of the island’s hill, are the local schools.  Many of the charming and freindly school children (on a two hour break for lunch) walked with us, hand-in-hand, answering questions about the island and their village and school, then joining us in singing songs (in English!).

 

A view from the top of the hill in the center of the island as we hiked across Santa Ana, Solomon Islands; note how lush the jungle is and some areas have been cleared for agriculture an

A view from the top of the hill in the center of the island as we hiked across Santa Ana, Solomon Islands; note how lush the jungle is and some areas have been cleared for agriculture and coconut trees

 

The children were friendly and very engaging – many walked with us, hand-in-hand across the island and told us about their life on the island and also sang songs (in English) with us;

The children were friendly and very engaging – many walked with us, hand-in-hand across the island and told us about their life on the island and also sang songs (in English) with us; Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

These two girls were very happy to pause for a moment for a portrait, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

These two girls were very happy to pause for a moment for a portrait, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

The second village_s homes are all traditional (no corrugated metal roofs, etc.) and are just inland from the ocean, beach and the spirit houses, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands; note the a

The second village’s homes are all traditional (no corrugated metal roofs, etc.) and are just inland from the ocean, beach and the spirit houses, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands; note the abundance of coconut palm trees

 

These three boys (hamming it up) were not put off by the fact that they are sitting on the low exterior wall of one of the two remaining, historic spirit houses that contain the bones of

These three boys (hamming it up) were not put off by the fact that they are sitting on the low exterior wall of one of the two remaining, historic spirit houses that contain the bones of past island chiefs, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

The highlight of the destination was a chance (for the men – only) to enter and visit the two remaining historic “spirit houses” where the bones of previous chiefs are kept (a third historic spirit house on the island was demolished a number of years ago – the Christian missionaries, beginning in the mid 1800s, did not want to sanction the traditional ancestor and spirit worship).  The spirit houses also serve as meeting houses for the men of the village (women and children are not allowed to enter, but can look in from the end of the houses).  [For an introduction to Santa Ana, see our earlier blog post “Santa Ana (also known as Owaraha or Owa Raha), Solomon Islands”.]

 

The spirit houses, containing the relics and bones of old island chiefs, are a central meeting point for men on the island and continue (even in the age of Christianity on the Island) th

The spirit houses, containing the relics and bones of old island chiefs, are a central meeting point for men on the island and continue (even in the age of Christianity on the Island) the tradition of ancestor and spirit worship, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

In the second spirit house are two large canoes, each filled with the bones of deceased chiefs and relics from each chief_s life, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

In the second spirit house are two large canoes, each filled with the bones of deceased chiefs and relics from each chief’s life, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

Under the canoes in the second spirit house are paintings of fish that have significance to the tribe and chiefs, along with bones and other relics (and a large wood fish sculpture), San

Under the canoes in the second spirit house are paintings of fish that have significance to the tribe and chiefs, along with bones and other relics (and a large wood fish sculpture), Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

Just beyond the spirit houses was a beautiful coastline lined with coconut palm trees, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

Just beyond the spirit houses was a beautiful coastline lined with coconut palm trees, Santa Ana, Solomon Islands

 

A village elder (seated on the left) told us the story of Karimanua (in good English!) -- a legendary boy from Santa Ana, Solomon Islands, who was turned into a shark by the spirits and

A village elder (seated on the left) told us the story of Karimanua (in good English!) — a legendary boy from Santa Ana, Solomon Islands, who was turned into a shark by the spirits and revisits the island in his human form – with the carver holding the statue of Karimanua (half-man, half shark) that we purchased from him; note that this sculpture and story are unique to Santa Ana Island

 

                                      The Story of Karimanua and Kakafu

            On the island of Santa Ana there was a boy named Karimanua. One day, he and his younger brother, Kakafu, went into the gardens with the other men from the village. In the hot sun, they used heavy wooden sticks to dig mounds for planting yams. Together, they worked for many hours and grew hot and tired. The men said, “You two boys go fetch cold water from the spring-fed pond and bring it back so we can drink.”

            The brothers went to the pond, and when they got there they began to play in the water. First in the water was the younger brother, Kakafu. He played like he was a shark, swimming around in the pond. His elder brother, Karimanua, looked down and said, “It is not good, you are not a shark.” And so he got in the water too. Being of the shark clan, the two brothers swam about with ease. But the elder brother was the better shark. Karimanua was such a good shark that he snuck up on Kakafu from behind and bit his brother in half at the waist. This was very bad, and Karimanua knew it. Desperately, he tried to fit his brother back together again. He pressed him together, both halves of him, but with no success.

            While this was happening, the men in the garden had sent another boy to find out where the two brothers were, and why they had not returned with the water to drink. The third boy approached the pond and saw what Karimanua had done. He saw him attempting to fit both ends of his brother back together. The boy ran back to the men and told them what Karimanua had done to Kakafu. And then all the men rushed down to the pond to see for themselves what had been done. They saw Karimanua, and they chased him. He ran, ran, ran down to the sea, down the path and past the village until he reached the sea. When Karimanua reached the sea, he once again turned into a shark and swam out into the deep water. He swam far away from the men, away from his village and his mother’s gardens.

            Karimanua (“the one who wanders around the village”) sometimes grows hungry and comes to land. When there are feasts in the village, for an important death or other reason, he joins the men in the spirit house as they prepare root crops in large wooden bowls. As they smash up the yams with their wooden sticks, the hungry Karimanua helps them. But unlike the other men, Karimanua uses a hollow bamboo stick. The bamboo catches food, which Karimanua eats before returning again to the sea. Even today, Karimanua can still be seen swimming far out to sea, recognizable by the small gapagapa bird that flies over him and that occasionally lands on his pointed fin. – with thanks to expedition anthropologist Patrick Nason, an expert in Pacific Ocean and Melanesia maritime culture with doctoral training at Columbia University