We set sail from Kieta, Bougainville in the late afternoon on our course to Taro, the main centre of Choiseul Island in the Solomon islands. With the moon giving us plenty of light, we sailed at an average speed of 6 knots and used the eastern star to guide us towards Taro. We had to sail through the night to hide from possible trouble coming from Buin which is reputed to be a ‘danger zone’. Morning came and we were now 4 miles from our destination. We sailed past the western side of Taro putting our trawl lines to the test along the reef but unfortunately we didn’t catch anything. Jimmy Kereseka, the environment co-ordinator from the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities (LLCTC) spotted us from a distance, and came out to meet us with his son Philemon before escorting us to Supizae Island, where he and his family live.
We quickly had our breakfast then dressed in our traditional attire ready for the historic welcome. We sailed into Taro Market beach front dancing to beat of the garamut where on the beach, Premier Jackson Kiloe and his executive members, invited guests and Lauru warriors were waiting for us. Many people gathered to see the Manus canoe arriving on their shores for the first time in the history of Choiseul Province.
We are now residing with Jimmy and his family on Supizae Island about a 5 minute boat ride to Taro. The canoe has been in the water for a month now so we have hauled it out of the water to dry it, will replace some of the heavy timbers and outrigger and do some maintenance and repair work. This week we will be conducting a drystone wall workshop on Taro and probably spreading climate change and environment awareness around Choiseul. We hope to disembark Taro for Wagina soon.