Image (c) H.Ahern
Our Zodiacs skimmed across the smooth dark water as our birders made their way cruising towards the Solomon Islands Anuta Island just as dawn was breaking. Accompanied by three local guides and our own three expert Birding specialists we were in good hands as we spent three hours exploring the secondary forest in breaking light and spotting endemics species including the San Cristobal Melidectes, Mottled Flowerpecker, White-collared Monarch and White-headed Fruit Dove.
After a comfort stop back onboard Spirit of Enderby, we loaded into the Zodiacs and headed off in convoy to visit the delightful, friendly village of Anuta. The sight of warriors on the beach dressed in very little and plastered in mud wielding spears was a reminder this was once the realm of headhunters and cannibals, though today we are greeted with infectious smiles and garlands of perfumed tropical flowers by the local children.
It appears our visit has taken precedence over school today as we are surrounded by the huge smiles of the village children. Welcoming speeches by local leaders were followed by introductions as we sipped the juice of fresh, young coconuts straight from the shell. The diversity of our voyagers proved interesting for our hosts as we shared the distances we'd travelled from our homelands which elicited choruses of "oohs" and "ahhs" from our curious hosts. Our Expedition Leader Helen presented the Paramount Chief with books from the Learning Resources for Villages Project, which Heritage Expeditions kindly supports, as she expressed our gratefulness for the hospitality of the Anuta villagers.
Once speeches were over the local women sang several hymns in beautiful voices and we were then free to wander and enjoy interacting with the locals ensuring high spirits for all back on board Spirit of Enderby. With a farewell blast of the horn, we set sail for Honiara.